GenTIC director Milagros Sáinz and researcher María del Carmen Gallego co-author a new article that explores sexist beliefs of high school students about academic abilities and women’s roles. The article presents the results of a study led by Milagros Sáinz and carried out as part of a research project funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Ref. FEM2011-2014117) aimed at analysing the influence of gender stereotypes on students’ motivation in different subject areas throughout secondary school years. Specifically, this paper study explored the effect of gender, either separately or in conjunction with the baccalaureate pathway chosen, on students’ sexist beliefs about boys’ STEM abilities traditionally associated with masculine roles, such as technology, or about girls’ abilities in subjects associated with feminine roles, such as languages.
Eight hundred and sixty-six students engaged in secondary high school education at 10 public schools in the metropolitan areas of Madrid and Barcelona participated in the study. The results showed that students on the science pathway were more likely to believe that boys perform better in maths, physical science and technology, and that girls perform better in literature, biology and languages. Moreover, students’ attitudes towards boys’ ability to perform better in maths, physical science and technology depended to a great extent on ambivalent sexist attitudes, whereas students’ sexist attitudes regarding girls’ greater abilities in literature, biology and languages depended on benevolent sexist attitudes alone.
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