Scientific careers and gender differences. A qualitative study



In Europe, much effort has been devoted to explore the causes of the decline in number of university matriculations of science students and to identify gender differences in career choice. Yet, the problem extends to the fulfillment of career plans: given their professional expectations and their attitudes when choosing a career, girls are much less likely to pursue scientific careers such as engineering or physics. Evidence of this is provided by the social research carried out within the framework of the GAPP project (Gender Awareness Participation Process). The Gapp project is intended to investigate differences between girls and boys in their perception of science careers and to propose a range of innovative and concrete participatory activities involving scientists, engineers and professionals from the public and private S&T sectors. In this letter, we report a synthesis of the results of the social research conducted as first step of the project: exploring how the perceptions of science professions affect interest, motivation and subject choice at school, at the university and consequently in their career.