About this Research Topic

Manuscript Submission Deadline 31 January 2023

Two remarkable trends concerning women’s educational and labor market outcomes in modern Western societies can be observed. Firstly, in recent decades, women have been catching up with, and have even overtaken, men in educational attainment. Secondly, women continue to choose educations and occupations in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) less often than men. This Research Topic will focus upon these gender-specific trends, with a view to analyzing (some of) their causes and consequences.

Firstly, we aim to explore the consequences that gender convergence in educational attainment–that is, women’s closing the educational attainment gap with men–has in terms of furthering or reducing educational inequalities:

- What is the impact of the increased educational attainment of mothers on their children’s educational attainment, and does the former increase daughters’ advantage in educational attainment?
- What is the impact of the increasing parental educational homogamy–that is, parents’ sharing the same level of educational attainment–on educational inequality?

Secondly, we wish to explore the consequences of gender convergence in educational attainment on gender-specific occupational inequalities as well as social opportunities for future generations:

- To what extent is the increased female labor force participation (across Europe and the rest of the Western world) due to (1) the increased educational attainment of women relative to men; (2) the increasing provision of public childcare; (3) changing gender norms; and (4) political measures that facilitate part-time and low-paid service sector employment?
- How has (what has been called) the "feminization of work"–that is, the rise of (typically) female service sector jobs, and the fall of (typically) male manufacturing jobs–changed gendered opportunities in the labor market?
- How has the rising participation of women in the labor force and their increasing contribution to family income changed the financial situation of households and the social opportunities of children across cohorts?

Lastly, we intend to examine some of the potential causes of the gender gap in STEM study choices and later occupational choices:

- Do boys and girls differ in math and reading skills? If they do, when and why do they begin to differ in math and reading skills and achievement more generally over the life course?
- In what ways do gender-specific differences in math and reading skills and achievement contribute to the gender gap in STEM study choice?
- Do women drop out of STEM subjects in vocational training and higher education more often than men? If so, to what extent is this determined by study results, gender composition of the relevant courses, and different life goals?
- Why do more gender-equal and wealthier societies exhibit larger gender gaps in STEM aspirations, and what role do household socio-economic resources play in this?
- To what extent is the "feminization of work" the result of gender-specific choices of STEM versus non-STEM majors?

The guest editors invite theoretical and empirical contributions that address one or more of the questions above. We welcome scholars representing different disciplinary and methodological perspectives to submit original research and review articles related to these themes.

Keywords: gender inequality, educational expansion, education, STEM, labor market


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Two remarkable trends concerning women’s educational and labor market outcomes in modern Western societies can be observed. Firstly, in recent decades, women have been catching up with, and have even overtaken, men in educational attainment. Secondly, women continue to choose educations and occupations in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) less often than men. This Research Topic will focus upon these gender-specific trends, with a view to analyzing (some of) their causes and consequences.

Firstly, we aim to explore the consequences that gender convergence in educational attainment–that is, women’s closing the educational attainment gap with men–has in terms of furthering or reducing educational inequalities:

- What is the impact of the increased educational attainment of mothers on their children’s educational attainment, and does the former increase daughters’ advantage in educational attainment?
- What is the impact of the increasing parental educational homogamy–that is, parents’ sharing the same level of educational attainment–on educational inequality?

Secondly, we wish to explore the consequences of gender convergence in educational attainment on gender-specific occupational inequalities as well as social opportunities for future generations:

- To what extent is the increased female labor force participation (across Europe and the rest of the Western world) due to (1) the increased educational attainment of women relative to men; (2) the increasing provision of public childcare; (3) changing gender norms; and (4) political measures that facilitate part-time and low-paid service sector employment?
- How has (what has been called) the "feminization of work"–that is, the rise of (typically) female service sector jobs, and the fall of (typically) male manufacturing jobs–changed gendered opportunities in the labor market?
- How has the rising participation of women in the labor force and their increasing contribution to family income changed the financial situation of households and the social opportunities of children across cohorts?

Lastly, we intend to examine some of the potential causes of the gender gap in STEM study choices and later occupational choices:

- Do boys and girls differ in math and reading skills? If they do, when and why do they begin to differ in math and reading skills and achievement more generally over the life course?
- In what ways do gender-specific differences in math and reading skills and achievement contribute to the gender gap in STEM study choice?
- Do women drop out of STEM subjects in vocational training and higher education more often than men? If so, to what extent is this determined by study results, gender composition of the relevant courses, and different life goals?
- Why do more gender-equal and wealthier societies exhibit larger gender gaps in STEM aspirations, and what role do household socio-economic resources play in this?
- To what extent is the "feminization of work" the result of gender-specific choices of STEM versus non-STEM majors?

The guest editors invite theoretical and empirical contributions that address one or more of the questions above. We welcome scholars representing different disciplinary and methodological perspectives to submit original research and review articles related to these themes.

Keywords: gender inequality, educational expansion, education, STEM, labor market


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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