Monday, February 29, 2016

Literature Review Blog #2

Literature Review Blog #2



2 Citation
Ochsenfeld, Fabian. "Preferences, Constraints, And The Process Of Sex Segregation In College Majors: A Choice Analysis." Social Science Research 56.(2016): 117-132. Academic Search Premier. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.

3.      Summary
"Preferences, Constraints, and The Process of Sex Segregation in College Majors: A Choice Analysis" discusses the sex segregation that remains prevalent in higher education. Written from a social science perspective, the article seeks to identify the social and cultural influences contributing to the gender. Fabian Ochsenfeld uses research conducted on a sample of college entry level student in Germany, to test two hypothesis in regard to major choices. The first, that college major choice is largely affected by gender stereotypes. And the second, that sex segregation in college major choice stems from anticipated gendered family roles, as well as, anticipated workforce discrimination towards women with professional careers and children. Interestingly enough, the results of the experiment did not identify any concrete evidence in support of these hypotheses.

4The Author
Fabian Ochensfeld is a researcher at the Chair for Social Stratification and Social Policy at the Institute for Sociology. He does research in a variety of fields, including organizational structure, technological change, and wage inequality. He is a credible source to reference in my paper specifically because he has been involved in many social science research experiments, in which he has written articles analyzing both his findings and their implications in regard to the broader scope of social science. One of the focus areas of research has been wage inequality, which directly correlates with my research topic. His article, "Preferences, Constraints, and The Process of Sex Segregation in College Majors: A Choice Analysis" is a wealth of information in regard to sex segregation in college and in the workforce, and will be a valuable asset to my research paper.

5Key Terms

·        Essentialism theory: students chose college majors in accordance with societal expectations of what constitutes a “gender-appropriate” one.
-          The theory suggests that culturally cultivated gender stereotypes and expectations influence the development of children, directing their interest and aptitude in gender-typical fields

·        Separate Spheres: attributes sex segregation to household division of labor
-          Historically rooted roles in the family unite
-          male as breadwinner
-          female house-wife
è chose majors based upon perceived pressure to attain careers that will allow them to embody these gender roles

“Over the past decades, women have made considerable inroads into higher education, employment, and professional careers aided by the institutionalization of egalitarian gender norms across states, organizations, and families. However, this dramatic social change has not been paralleled by a comparable integration of women into traditionally male-dominated occupations to date.” (p.117)

“We scrutinize whether women and men anticipate the demands imposed by gender-specific parenthood roles and eschew majors that are incompatible with these either because majors do not provide the desired work-family balance, or not the earnings level necessary to fulfil the breadwinner role.” (p. 118)

“ Second, and mediated through the beliefs and behavior of parents, gendered cultural expectations lead men and women to develop self-concepts and interests that differ systematically with regards to a broad range of activities.” (p.119)


This article is an excellent resource to further explore my topic through because it evaluates gender segregation at a deeper level than my other sources have. It defines theories used in social science to account for gender segregation. It describes how stereotypes and gender roles are deeply rooted in societies, and how they are reinforced through our practices and beliefs. This is the foundation of gender segregation. It also goes on to test several hypothesis through research, and presents interesting findings that will be valuable additions to my paper. There is also an overlap between some of the findings included in this article, and the findings included in several of my other resources. So it will be of value to my paper to compare and contrast these, to provoke conservation around the issue. This resource has greatly developed my understanding of the issue which has been invaluable to the writing of my research paper. I feel I have a greater grasp on my topic which will allow me to write a more directed, analytical research paper on the topic of gender segregation in college.

1 comment:

  1. I would be curious if he took social class into account. Also, it is Germany, so it may not exactly fit the US situation.