Gender similarity or gender difference? Contemporary women's and men's career patterns.Career development research has often explored gender differences in and development of career patterns (Gottfredson, 2006). Hyde's (2005) meta-analysis indicated that men and women shared more similarities than differences. Applying Hyde's gender similarities hypothesis to careers, the authors conducted a 2-stage study. Stage 1 was an analysis of career choices of couples (a socioeconomically and educationally advantaged group) announcing their wedding in the New York Times. Stage 2 was a comparison of a New York Times wedding cohort with a cohort from 11 other U.S. newspapers, examining national trends and exploring generalizability of the findings from Stage 1 of the study. Results revealed that there are shifting trends in career choices, most notably in the legal profession.
Keywords: gender differences, female career patterns
A very active area of career development research is the investigation of gender differences in career decision-making processes, both in initial career choices and in later career patterns (Fitzgerald, Fassinger, & Betz, 1995). Other key research areas include an examination of the critical influences during the developmental years, differences in experiences in chosen career paths, and identification of sociocultural perspectives accounting for men's and women's career pattern differences.
Correll (2001) observed that "sex segregation often emerges early in the path towards many careers ... as cultural conceptions of gender serve to constrain the early career-relevant choices of men and women" (p. 1692). Mothers' personality characteristics, educational status, and attachment style influence their daughters' early career planning (O'Brien & Fassinger, 1993; Rainey & Borders, 1997). A variety of researchers have found that women have been discouraged from choosing science and technology careers that are traditionally dominated by men because of a variety of psychosocial factors, including a lack of role models, a lack of career information, concerns about juggling career and family, sex-role stereotypes, and limited psychosocial support (Betz, 1994; Fitzgerald & Harmon, 2001; Luzzo & McWhirter, 2001).
A number of recent studies have shown that women with higher socioeconomic status viewed work as a source of personal satisfaction and experienced high levels of career adaptability (Blustein et al., 2002). Research that offers a deeper understanding of how gender and social class intersect with career choices of higher socioeconomic populations is lacking, however. It has been found that women's career choices continue to reflect lower levels of aspiration, educational attainment, and achievement with the central priority being given to fitting career around family responsibilities (Betz, 1994; Kaufman, 1995; Leung, Conolcy, & School, 1994; Whitmarsh, Brown, Cooper, Hawkins-Rodgers, & Wentworth, 2007).
Cook, Heppner, and O'Brien (2002) stated that career development theory reflects the worldvicw of men that includes separation of work and family roles, a linear career trajectory; centrality of work for personal worth, and the primary values of individualism and autonomy. I,. S.Gottfredson's (2006) theory of circumscription and compromise stresses gender appropriateness and status as the dynamic influences in career decision making. She suggested that throughout childhood, gender identity schemas shape and restrict occupational preferences, inducing conformity to careers perceived as gender appropriate. Adolescents develop an idea of attainable occupational choices that fit with their gender and class.
Using the well-known Holland (1997) typology of career interests, many researchers have studied gender differences in careers selected by men in comparison to those selected by women. Reardon, Bullock, and Meyer (2007) examined census data over the past 5 decades and found that women were employed in a broader range of careers, including those with Conventional., Realistic, Social, and Enterprising interests, whereas men were more concentrated in Realistic and Enterprising careers. The percentage of women in the Social typology remained constant and high over the decades, whereas women's employment in Enterprising careers has grown substantially, particularly in the last 2 decades. Su, Rounds and Armstrong (2009) cited Thorndike's (1911, p. 32) statement that the greatest difference between men and women is "in the relative strength of the interest in things and their mechanisms (stronger in men) and the interests in persons and their feelings (stronger in women)." In a recent meta-analysis, Su et al. found that men had stronger Realistic and Investigative interests; women, on the other hand, were stronger in Artistic, Social, and Conventional interests. The largest gender difference emerged in the Realistic and Social typologies, echoing Thorndike's earlier observation and confirming the results of Reardon, Bullock, and Meyer's (2007) examination of census data.
The aforementioned career development research demonstrates a focus on gender differences. However, in her meta-analysis of gender differences research, Hyde (2005) identified the "fascination with psychological gender differences" (p. 581) but found significant gender differences only in motor performance, measures of sexuality, and physical aggression. According to Hyde (2005),
It is time to consider the costs of overinflated claims offender differences. Arguably, they cause harm in numerous realms, including women's opportunities in the workplace, couples conflict and communication, and analyses of self-esteem problems in adolescents. Most important, these claims are not consistent with the scientific data. (p. 590)
In addition to gender schema influences, Schulenberg, Vondraeek, and Crouter1984) stated, "if one were permitted only a single variable with which to predict an individual's occupational status, it surely would be the socioeconomic status of that individual's family of orientation" (p. 130). Langston's (2001) research found that the social class of an individual's family of origin has the power to affect chosen occupations, education, and social class status in adulthood. Lapour and Heppner (2009) explored the intersection of gender and social class influence "by examining perceived career options among a little-studied slice of the population--adolescent young women who have experienced social class privilege" (p. 477). They noted that "social class remains a taboo subject" (p. 493).
In an attempt to continue the exploration process defined by Lapour and Heppner (2009) regarding the relationship between gender and social class, our approach examined career patterns of men and women who were beginning their married lives while quasi-controlling for socioeconomic class in some of our samples. We conducted our research in two stages. The first stage comprised couples who posted their wedding announcements in the New York Times (NYT). A number of previous studies have used the NYT for their database, albeit for the purpose of examining women's choices of their marital name (e.g., Goldin & Shim, 2004; Hoffnung, 2006; Kopelman, Shea-Van Fossen, Paraskevas, Lawter, & Prottas, 2009). A statistical picture of NYT's readership found that "they are nearly three times as likely as the average U.S. adult to have a college or postgraduate degree and more than twice as likely to hold a professional or managerial position ... more than twice as likely as the average U.S. adult to have an annual household income exceeding $100,000" (Calame, 2005). We chose this population of men and women with fewer educational and socioeconomic restrictions because they have more opportunities for career choices and possibly can provide a more contemporary lens for viewing career development. We believed these analyses would extend research findings about gender differences and/or similarities outside of the typical college age or younger samples so often used (e.g., Heckert et al., 2002; Lapour & Heppner, 2009). Additionally, by using NTT samples, we quasi-controlled socioeconomic differences, thereby allowing the focus to be on gender as the variable shaping career choice.
The second phase of our research compared a NYT sample with a geographically diverse sample (II U.S. cities) to explore the generalizability of the initial findings beyond the New York City metropolitan area and to a more varied population in terms of education and socioeconomic level. By including both samples, our results have applicability to a wider range of the U.S. population. We proposed three hypotheses for both studies. Our first two hypotheses were formulated to examine how men and women's careers in our samples compared to national statistics. Our third hypothesis was designed to directly compare women's and men's current career choices.
Hypothesis I stated that the career choices of men and women in our samples will be similar to the general U.S. population (as determined by Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS; U.S. Department of Labor, n.d.-a, n.d.-d) data in various careers dominated by men or women). Although we recognize that career opportunities for women have widened, we believe that not enough change has occurred to show significant differences between the overall U.S. population and our samples. Hypothesis 2 states that women in our samples will be in fewer careers dominated by women than women in the general U.S. population (as determined by BLS statistics; U.S. Department of Labor, n.d.-a, n.d.-d). Hypothesis 3 states that men and women in these samples will not differ significantly from each other in their career choices.
We downloaded wedding announcements from the website www.nytimes.com/weddings and recorded job titles for the bride and groom. If no job title was listed, that couple was not included in the study. Job titles were missing in less than 5% of the announcements. Because this was an archival study, no informed consent procedure was used. We did not code personal identifiers and reported only aggregate data. The job titles were coded using the Standard Occupational Classification codes developed by the U.S. government (U.S. Department of Labor, n.d.-b) and included on the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) website, "the nation's primary source of occupational information" (U.S. Department of Labor, n.d.-a). We selected the O*NET system rather than other possibilities such as traditionality ratings (e.g., Flores & O'Brien, 2002; O'Brien, Friedman, Tipton, & Linn, 2000) because it is the most current and up-to-date job classification system that is currently used by the BLS in its determination of careers dominated by either men or women.
A research team consisting of three 2nd-year master's-level students (two in a counseling program, one in an industrial/organizational psychology program) initially coded each job title independently and reviewed them for interrater reliability. Training in the proper use and coding of jobs was provided to the research team before coding began. If the job title was not listed in C)*NET or if there was disagreement among the team, the team members and the two authors reviewed the job title, reached consensus, and assigned the classification code that most closely described each job. Disagreements were few, at less than 5% of the sample. Participants whose jobs were identified as graduate students (which occurred in 2% of the cases) were assigned the code for their upcoming career (e.g., medical students were assigned a physician code).
A total of 825 newly married couples comprised the sample. Information was obtained trom their wedding announcements in the Sunday NYT over a 1 year period (November 14, 2004 to November 15, 2005). Every announcement was reviewed, with the exclusion of same-sex couple announcements. Same-sex couples were eliminated because that sample size was very small. Wedding announcements are not solicited; couples submit their information to the NYT. An editor determines which couples merit inclusion with the only public criteria given as those with significant "achievements" (Hoyt, 2009). Because our study was focused solely on careers, no age or other demographic data were initially recorded; race/ethnicity data were not reported in the announcements.
To test Hypothesis l that the career choices of men and women in our sample would be similar to the general U.S. population, we compared percentages of women's and men's participation in the most frequently occurring major group occupations in this sample (management; business and financial; legal; education, training, and library; arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media; and health care practitioners and technical) to their participation rate in the general labor force in 2004, as reported by BLS (U.S. Department of Labor, n.d.-a; see Table 1). Significance testing was not conducted because of the large differences in sample size between the BLS, which was in the tens of thousands, and our sample, which was in the hundreds. Instead, we examined the magnitude of the percentage differences. A 5% or less difference was the criterion set to determine support for Hypothesis 1.
TABLE 1 Major Occupation Code Percentages of Women by Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Data and Study Study 1 Present Study 2007 Non-NYT % (N = % % (N = Women 825) Women 257) 2004 2008 Occupation and BLS % n Difference BLS % n SOC Data (b) Data (a) (c) Management 36.7 42.6 201 -5.9 37.5 52.6 61 (11) Business and 55.8 40.5 60 15.3 55.9 37.2 16 financial (13) Legal (23) 48.9 49.8 115 -0.9 51.5 43.8 35 Education, training, and library (25) 73.4 58.5 64 14.7 73.3 75.5 40 Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media (27) 47.0 61.3 179 -14.3 47.1 59.3 48 Health care practitioners and technical 73.2 54.8 63 18.4 73.6 54.8 23 (29) Study 2 2007 Non-NYT (N = % 224) Difference (b) Occupation and % n 2007 NYT 2007 SOC Non-NYT Management 39.3 22 -15.1 -1.8 (11) Business and 48.0 24 18.7 7.9 financial (13) Legal (23) 53.3 16 7.7 -1.8 Education, training, and library (25) 80.7 46 -2.2 -7.4 Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media (27) 46.2 12 -12.2 0.9 Health care practitioners and technical 75.4 43 18.8 -1.8 (29) Note. SOC = Standard Occupational Classification code. NYT = New York Times data. (a) U.S. Department of Labor (n.d.-c). (b) % women in BLS data - % women in study data. (c) U.S. Department of Labor (n.d.-d).
Our sample's percentages were almost identical to the BLS data in the legal occupation; there was less than a 1% difference between our sample and the BLS data. Women were overrepresented in management occupations as compared to BLS statistics, whereas men were under-represented, with a difference of 5.9%.
The largest differences were found in the arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations, and business and financial occupations. In the former, women in our study were represented at a much higher rate (61.3%) when compared to the women in the population, a difference of 14.3%. The situation was reversed for the business and financial occupations. Women in the BLS population were not as highly represented in these occupations (40.5%) as were women in the general population (55.8%), a 15.3% difference, whereas men were overrepresented (59.5%) when compared to the general population of men (44.2%). This same result was true for the education, training, and library occupation code; there was a 14.7% difference between our sample and the BLS data. Similarly, the health care practitioners and technical code revealed less participation by our sample (an 18.4% difference) than the general BLS data. Hypothesis 1, therefore, was supported only for legal occupations.
Hypothesis 2. Hypothesis 2 investigated whether women would be in fewer careers dominated by women than would women in the general U.S. population. We tested this hypothesis by comparing the percentage of women found in the three careers BLS data indicated are dominated by women (i.e., >75% women's participation rate). In all three of these occupational categories, health care support (n = 1), personal care and service (n = 4), and office and administrative support (n = 18), there were very small sample sizes, indicating a shift away from traditional careers dominated by women, but the data did not allow for significance testing.
Hypothesis 3. The third hypothesis predicted that the men and women in our study would not differ significantly in their types of major group occupation. Management was the most common occupation for both women (24.8%) and men (33.5%) and revealed a significant difference between the two groups (z = 3.81, p < .05). Women (22%) were more likely than were men (14%) to be in the arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations, which again revealed a significant difference between the two groups (z = 4.18, p <. .01). Men (10.7%) were more likely than women were (7.4%) to be in the business and financial occupations; there was a significant difference between the two (z = 2.26, p <.05). There was no significant difference, however, between the percentage of women (14.6%) and men (14.3%) in the legal occupations (z = .02, ns); the education, training, and library occupations (z = 1.77, ns); and the health care practitioners and technical occupations (z = 0.96, ns; see Table 2).
TABLE 2 z-Score Differences in Most Commonly Occurring Occupations by Study Study NYT 1 Bride (N = Groom (N = Bride (N = Groom 812) 810) 294) Occupation and n % n % Z n % n SOC Score Management 201 24.8 271 33.5 3.81 61 20.8 55 (11) * Business and 60 7.4 87 10.7 2.26 16 5.4 27 financial (13) * Legal (23) 115 14.6 116 14.3 0.02 35 12.2 45 Education, training, and library (25) 64 7.9 45 5.6 1.77 40 13.6 13 Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media (27) 179 22.0 113 14.0 4.18 * 48 16.3 33 * Health care practitioners and technical 63 7.8 52 6.4 0.96 23 7.8 19 (29) Study 2 Non-NYT (N = Bride (N = Groom (N = 264) 224) 229) Occupation and % z n % n % z SOC Score Score Management 20.8 -0.08 22 9.8 34 14.90 1.48 (11) Business and 10.2 1.96 24 10.7 26 11.35 0.07 financial (13) Legal (23) 17.1 1.49 16 7.1 14 6.11 0.25 Education, training, and library (25) 4.9 3.35** 46 20.5 11 4.80 4.91** Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media (27) 12.5 1.16 12 5.4 14 6.11 0.14 Health care practitioners and technical 7.2 0.12 43 19.2 14 6.11 4.06** (29) Note. SOC = Standard Occupational Classification code. NYT = New York Times data. *p<.05. **p<.01.
Thus, Hypothesis 3 was partially supported; men and women in the present study were equally likely to be in the legal; education, training, and library; and health care, practitioners, and technical occupations.
When the Holland interest codes (G. D. Gottfredson & Holland, 1996) included in the O*NET system were examined, the gender similarities theory was not supported. Men were significantly more likely to be found in Enterprising (z = 3.12, p <.01) and Investigative (z = 3.60, p <.01) careers. Women were significantly more likely to be found in Artistic (z = 3.71, p <.01) and Social (z = 5.22, p<.01) careers. There were no significant differences between men and women in choosing Conventional or Realistic careers.
The goal of Study 2 was to determine if the trends found in Study 1 were similar nationally or limited to the New York City metropolitan area.
Data were collected from two samples of online wedding announcements: (a) a second sampling of NYT announcements (N= 294) and (b) 11 other U.S. newspapers [W = 277). However, a number of couples' occupational data were either unavailable or uncodable; usable data from NYT = 277 (94%) and from other = 224 (81%). Due to the high volume of summer weddings, all wedding announcements (except announcements for same-sex couples because of the small sample size) for June, July, and August 2007 were recorded. A random sampling of ages from the N7Tsample was collected and revealed that the median age of brides was 29 years; the median age for grooms was 30.5 years. These data reveal that the. NYT sample was slightly older than the population at large; U.S. Census data for 2007 showed that the median age at first marriage was 26 years for women and 28 years for men (U.S. Bureau of the Census, n.d.). No age data were available for the other sample; these newspapers did not include the couples' ages. Again, no race/ethnicity information was included in any of the announcements.
The other U.S. newspapers that served as data sources were Albuquerque Times(n - 2), Atlanta Journal Constitution (n = 30), Arizona Daily Star (n = 4), Birmingham News (n = 17), Denver Post (n = 4), Indianapolis Star (n = 28), Kansas City Star (n = 59), Maui News in = 3), Milford (Massachusetts) Daily New (n = 84), Seattle Times (n = 2), and Houston (Chronicle (n = 44). We chose these newspapers because they represented a large geographical range in the United States and had wedding announcements with accessible online career data.
According to Hypothesis 1, the career choices of men and women would be similar to the general U.S. population. Percentages of women's and men's participation in the most frequently occurring major group occupations in this sample (management; business and financial; legal; education, training, and library; arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media; health care practitioners and technical) were compared to their participation rate in the general labor force in 2008, as reported by the BLS (U.S. Department of Labor, n.d.-d; see Table 1). Again, significance testing was not conducted because of the large differences in sample sizes (i.e., BLS sample size was in the tens of thousands whereas our sample numbered in the hundreds). Instead, we examined the magnitude of the percentage differences. A 5% or less difference was the criterion set to determine support for Hypothesis 1.
In the NYT sample, 43.8% of the lawyers were women (a difference from BLS data of 8%); in the other newspaper sample, 53.3% of the lawyers (a difference from BLS data of 2%) were women. Only the other sample demonstrated support for Hypothesis 1 for lawyers.
By contrast, in the education, training, and library occupations, 75.5% of the NYT (a difference from BLS data of 2%) and 80.7% of the other sample were women (a difference from BLS data of 7%). For these occupations, Hypothesis 1 was supported for the NYT sample.
In the NYT sample, women chose careers in management at a much higher rate (52.6%) than did the reported BLS percentage (15% difference), whereas other regions were much more consistent with the national statistics (a difference of 2%). Thus, Hypothesis I was supported for the other sample but the NYT sample did not provide such support. In contrast, data for the business and financial occupations revealed that only 37.2% of NYT women and 48% of other women worked within these occupations. Nationally, 55.9% of women in the BLS sample were in this career domain. The differences between BLS data and both the NYT sample (19%) and the other sample (8%) do not support Hypothesis 1 for the business and financial occupations.
A difference was demonstrated in the health care practitioners and technical career category, a domain that includes physicians and other health care professionals. For the NYT sample, 54.8% of individuals reporting this career choice were women, whereas 75.4% reporting this code in the other sample were women. The other sample was congruent with the BLS data with only a 2% difference while the NYT sample was not. The arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations demonstrated similar results. For the NYT sample, 59.3% of the individuals in this code were women whereas 46.2% of the other sample were women. The other sample was almost identical to the BLS data, a 1% difference, but the NYT sample differed by 12%.
Using the criterion of a 5% minimum difference needed for support or nonsupport of the first Hypothesis 1 resulted in support for some, but not all of the six most populous occupational codes.
Hypothesis 2 stated that women in our sample would be in fewer careers dominated by women than would women in the general U.S. population. Within the major occupation groups, the 2008 BLS statistics indicated that education, training, and library; health care support; and personal care and service were dominated by women (>75%). However, in Study 2, only the education, training, and library category had a large enough sample size for this analysis. Of those coded into this category, 75.5% of the NYT sample were women whereas 80.7% of the other sample were women. With the BLS data showing that women were 73.3% of the code, the NYT sample more closely resembled data for the national sample (a difference of 2%). Hypothesis 2 was supported only for the education, training, and library category, reflecting the restricted range of careers represented in both samples.
Hypothesis 3 stated that men and women would not differ significantly in career choices. In die NTT sample, five of the most populated occupational codes showed similarities between men's and women's choices. These were management (z = -0.08, ns), business and financial (z = 1.96, ns); legal (z = 1.49, ns); arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media (z = 1.16, ns); and health care practitioners and technical (z = 0.12., ns). The only occupations demonstrating significant differences were education, training, and library with 13.6% of women and 4.9% of men, z = 3.35, p <.01 (see Table 2). Thus, Hypothesis 3 was supported for five of the six codes that were compared in the NTT sample.
The other sample revealed the same pattern with one exception. The education, training, and library code revealed a significant difference between women (20.5%) and men (4.8%), z= 4.91, p< 01, as did the health care practitioners and technical occupations; women comprised 19.2% of the sample, and men comprised 6.1 1% of the sample, with a z score of 4.06, p < 01. The remaining four occupational categories revealed no significant differences (management, % = 1.48, ns; business and financial, z = 0.07, ns; legal, z = 0.25, ns; arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media, z = 0.14, ns; see Table 2). Thus, hypothesis 3 was supported for five of the six occupational codes that could be compared in the other sample.
When the Holland interest codes were examined for the NYT sample, more women were in Social careers (z = 3.99, p <.01); more men chose Investigative careers (z = 2.26, p <.05). There were no significant differences in men's and women's choices of Enterprising, Artistic, Conventional, or Realistic careers. In the other sample, women chose Social careers more than did men (z = 6.35, p < 01), whereas more men chose Realistic careers more than did women (z = 5.78, p < 01). There were no significant differences in men's and women's choices of Enterprising, Artistic, Investigative, or Conventional occupations. Table 3 provides a summary of the support or nonsupport found for all three hypotheses for each of the two studies.
TABLE 3 Summary of Support and Nonsupport of Hypotheses Hypothesis Occupation and SOC 1 2 3 Study 1 Management (11) N U S Business and financial (13) N U S Legal (23) S U N Education, training, and library (25) N U N Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media (27) N U S Health care practitioners and technical (29) N U N Study 2 NYT Management (11) N U N Business and financial (13) N U N Legal (23) N U N Education, training, and library (25) S S S Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media (27) N U N Health care practitioners and technical (29) N U N Non-NYT Management (11) S U N Business and financial (13) N U N Legal (23) S U N Education, training, and library (25) N S S Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media (27) S U N Health care practitioners and technical (29) S U S Note. Hypothesis 1 = The career choices of men and women in our samples will be similar to the general U.S. population (as determined by Bureau of Labor Statistics data in various careers dominated by men or women). Hypothesis 2 = Women in our samples will be in fewer careers dominated by women than women in the general U.S. population (as determined by Bureau of Labor Statistics). Hypothesis 3 = Men and women in these samples will not differ significantly in their career choices. SOC = Standard Occupational Classification code. NYT = New York Times data; N = hypothesis not supported; U = unable to test; S = hypothesis supported.
We explored the significant strides that women have made entering professions with a particular focus on careers that traditionally have been dominated by men. For each NYT sample, the percentage of men and women matched the national data in only one occupational code out of the six analyzed. The strongest career shift that emerged in both of our studies was the increased representation of women in the legal profession. Men and women in Study 1 mirrored the national data that indicate each group comprises half of all attorneys. In Study 2, women comprised only slightly less than half of all attorneys. Data from the national sample in Study 2 also demonstrated congruence between the national and the NYT's percentages in the legal occupation. Thus, Hyde's (2005) gender similarities argument was supported for the legal field. The previous research findings of Hull and Nelson (2000) can be realigned from career differences to career similarities of career choice in this occupation with greater inclusion of women in the profession. In contemporary U.S. society, prominent women attorneys provide young girls from diverse backgrounds with strong role models and high-level aspirations for achievement in the legal profession. These role models help expand choices for girls. With their constant media presence, these public figures have helped socialize young women into the legal and political arenas. In addition, the introduction of affirmative action plans and equal opportunity laws have contributed to opening up a variety of careers for both women and minorities. Employers now have significant legal requirements for making hiring, promotion, and other employment decisions. Given the high visibility and direct connection of women as lawmakers and legal interpreters, legal and political occupations may have been more affected than other occupations in ensuring that women and minorities have equal opportunities for employment.
As L. S. Gottfredson (2006) suggested, social expectations and values influence career decision making of both genders. Gottfredson speculated that young girls eliminated occupations that did not seem to fit their self-concepts (circumscription) and gave up occupations that did not seem to be accessible for them (compromise). Unfortunately, our data suggest that other careers traditionally dominated by men, particularly math-based careers (e.g., finance), continue to be more invisible and unavailable to young women. Career counselors need to develop early career education strategies that challenge the compromise and circumscription processes, encouraging young girls to explore a wider range of careers and creating interventions to provide mentors and early introductions to careers previously dominated by men. Conversely, career counselors need to challenge the self limiting strategies of men, exploring nontraditional careers and encouraging plans that integrate work and career balance.
Men and women in our Study 2 NRT sample mirrored the national data in the education, training, and library occupations, with women comprising three quarters of these occupations. This finding was unexpected. However, the NYT data in Study I revealed a much smaller percentage of Women in these occupations when compared to the national sample; on the other hand, findings for non-A'TT women showed that they were in these occupations to a greater degree than was true nationally. Although these occupations are not defined by the BLS definition as careers traditionally dominated by women, women still comprise the great majority in these career domains. "Two out of our three samples indicated no change in this pattern. Perhaps the lack of differences in men's and women's participation in these occupations in our Study 1 may be because women are leaving education, training, and library occupations and are being replaced by men.
Men are still not opting for these choices in large numbers, resulting in few role models for younger men in educational environments. These careers have traditionally had lower starting salaries and earning potential; thus, these financial realities may be a deterrent for young men who want to enter this career path (U.S. Department of Labor, n.d.-e). However, with the current economic difficulties nationwide, even greater opportunities exist for career counselors to encourage men to explore these options. Just as the career choices and patterns of women are strongly affected by the socialization process, men often internalize messages emphasizing the need for them to achieve and to be ambitious in their occupational goals. Niles and Harris-Bowlsbey (2009) stated that men employed in occupations that traditionally have been dominated by women often are viewed as feminine. Also, as contemporary men attempt to find a balance in their family and work roles, they often are criticized as not being ambitious or not desiring to work hard. The research of Lease (2003) found that men who highly value family involvement and career achievement experienced higher rates of depression as they struggled to find this balance
Celement (1987), in her study exploring women's. and men's self efficacy regarding careers traditionally dominated by women or men, stated that "men were less willing than the women to consider sex-atypical careers" (p. 264), expressing the belief that they would not like or enjoy doing work traditionally done by women. Moya, Exposito, and Ruiz (2000) suggested that men still perceive themselves as having the breadwinner role, which imposes expectations for certain levels of financial success. These researchers' findings may help explain why men were less likely to be found in education, training, and library occupations.
The career trajectory that showed contrasting patterns for career choices for the NYT samples for Study 1.md Study 2 in comparison to the national sample was in the management domain. In the New York metropolitan area, women selected this career option at a rate much higher than that reported in the national statistics. For the national sample in Study 2, the percentage of women in this occupation was only slightly higher than it was in the national sample. This contrast in management career trends for women suggests that the corporate culture in the New York City region has embraced hiring practices that attract women, whereas other geographical areas of the United States have not experienced this shift in corporate hiring trends.
However, the business and financial career domains continue to be strong career choices for men in both samples. The reality that the center of the U.S. financial district is located in New York City may contribute to this very high rate for men's participation in the NYT sample. The percentage of women choosing these professional tracks was much lower for all three samples. These career venues have demanding time expectations and commitments. Just as lower salaries in teaching may be a deterrent for men, for women who anticipate finding a work-family life balance, these work-related requirements may be a deterrent for this choice.
In our second study, the percentages of women from other geographical areas of the United States matched the national statistics in four of the six occupations analyzed; this was true for only one of six occupations in both NYT samples. This supports our argument that women in the New York metropolitan area who have high levels of education may have been exposed to wider career choices and provided the education and opportunities to realize them. The sample of NYT women demonstrates that new cultural messages may be encouraging them to broaden their career choices beyond the traditionally gender-circumscribed career patterns. Jacobsen (1994) suggested that sex segregation often emerges early in the path toward many careers, with cultural conceptions of gender constraining early choices of men and women.
Additionally, women and men showed greater similarities in career choices in the NYT samples, particularly in Study 2's NYT data where only the education, training, and library occupations revealed a large difference. However, the national sample showed similarities between the men and women's occupational choices with the exception of two of the six occupational categories; more women were represented in the (a) education, training, and library and (b) health care practitioners and technical categories. Both of these occupational categories have been dominated by women and continue to be so. This again supports the argument that women are moving into more occupations dominated by men but only in select occupations.
Cook et al.'s (2002) ecological perspective proposed that environmental factors do not support the career development of women. These factors help explain why we found little change in occupations traditionally dominated by men or women with only a few exceptions. They stressed that counselors need to challenge the career development messages of the macrosystem such as the emphasis on individualism and autonomy, viewing work as the central activity of one's life, completely separating work and family roles, thinking of career paths as linear, and the existence of a bias toward White men in workplace opportunities.
In exploring Holland's (1997) career typologies (RIASEC), women displayed a very strong pattern of choosing careers characterized by the Social typology in all three samples, congruent with a cultural socialization that emphasizes the development of strong interpersonal relationships and social connectedness. The Investigative typology was the strongest choice of the men in both NYT samples, suggesting a socialization process that leads men to develop greater analytical and problem-solving skills. Only the Conventional typology was equally distributed between men and women across the three samples. However, Conventional careers were among the fewest in terms of raw numbers. These results replicate Su et al.'s (2009) meta-analysis and Tracey's (2002) research that found that men had stronger Realistic and Investigative interests whereas women had stronger Artistic, Social, and Conventional interests. This suggests that rather than moving toward gender similarity as outlined by Hyde (2005), the ideas of Gilligan (1993) are echoed in these findings, indicating that men and women develop different schemas and interpretations of the core value of relationships and their centrality to core identity.
Frome, Alfeld, Eccles, and Barber (2006) examined the process of young, adolescent women who aspired to careers dominated by men but shifting these goals during emerging adulthood. Their conclusions indicated that the need for a flexible job, high time demands of the occupation, and the low intrinsic value of physical science correlated with the young women's shift away from the careers dominated by men. In a parallel process, men are bombarded with societal messages from the macrosystem that emphasize achievement, competition, action, and power ((O'Neil, 1982). As Niles and Goodnough (1996) concluded, these messages drive men to success and achievement that are defined by the priorities of work-related demands and activities; men's focus on their career overshadows their responsibilities toward home and family.
The results of our research elucidate the patterns of career choices for women who search to find the optimum life-work balance. The samples that we drew from wedding announcements indicate that these women were striving to make a career choice that provided flexibility for the integration of work and family life. It is clear that sex-role socialization exerts a powerful influence on boys and girls early in life as Gilligan's (1993) classic research illustrated.
Limitations of the Studies
Both of our studies were limited by the type of data we examined. The vast majority of wedding announcements are placed in newspapers at the beginning of people's careers. Because it is now becoming a more common occurrence for people to change careers over their lifetimes, we focused our data on the establishing career developmental stage. xMore research is needed on career trends over the life span to answer this question. We also recognize that people who place their wedding announcement in a public venue such as a newspaper may differ from those who do not. These differences could be economically, culturally, or psychologically based. For example, individuals with higher self-efficacy may feel more competent about their personal relationships and, thus, are willing to go public with their marriage plans (Bandura, 1997; Luszezynska, Gutierrez-Dona, & Schwarzer, 2005). Unfortunately, there is no research evidence exploring such possible differences.
Additionally, because some of these data were collected through wedding announcements in the Sunday NYT, it is essential to remember the geographical, educational, and socioeconomic parameters of this population. Most of these young men and women have been raised and educated in the New York metropolitan area, and they launched their careers there. Thus, this is a restricted population that reflects its unique educational, socioeconomic, and cultural influences. Additionally, although Study Us homogeneity made it ideal for this type of comparison, it is not representative of the general American population. Both brides and grooms in the NYT were a few years older when compared to the national estimated median age at first marriage (U.S. Bureau of the Census, n.d.). However, Study 2 was designed to explore the generalizability of the results of Study 1 and demonstrated that career choices are wider for women in the New York City area.
Another possible limitation is that couples could have overstated their occupations to reflect a higher level position than they actually held. Although this is possible, it seems unlikely that this would happen frequently given the very public nature of newspapers and online announcements; couples know that their friends and relatives will see their announcements. Additionally, the NYT verifies couples' occupations and achievements before an announcement is placed in the newspaper (J. Cooper, personal communication, October 10, 2009).
Because there were so few announcements for same-sex couples, we determined that we would not be able to draw conclusions from such a limited sample size. However, there is little research investigating the career development trajectory of gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals. We believe, therefore, that future research projects need to explore the experiences of dual-career, same-sex couples. We agree with Niles and Harris-Bowlsbey (2009), who stated that "while providing effective career counseling services for lesbian and gay clients is not easy due to social issues, internalized homophobia, employment discrimination, and so on, it is critically important for career counselors to develop awareness, knowledge, and skills necessary to competently assist sexual minorities" (p. 140).
Finally, there was a 1-year difference between the data collected and the national BLS statistics available for both studies. Thus, the 1-year time difference possibly contributed a small percentage of error in the data comparison.
Our research strategy of using publicly available data from the Sunday NYT and regional US, newspapers provided a participant pool of men and women in a wade range of careers. Past research has recruited population samples at various developmental stages or in limited geographic regions. Using archival wedding announcement data from newspapers is an untapped source that can be used for future career exploration research. Research designs are often limited by the availability of specific populations. However, this novel approach identified a readily available source for continued research about evolving career trends in the current environment of regular career change and uncertainty.
Our results offer some support for Hyde's (2005) gender similarities argument in legal and management occupations. Further research is needed to determine if other areas will reflect greater similarities than differences in men's and women's career choices. To assist in this process, career counselors must continue to offer early educational programs to attract women and men to a wider range of career choices.
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Lona Whitmarsh and Diane Keyser Wentworth, Department of Psychology and Counseling, Fairleigh Dickinson University. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Lona Whitmarsh, Departmen of Psychology and Counseling, Fairleigh Dickinson University, 285 Madison Avenue, M-AB2-01, Madison, NJ 07940 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).