UBC Theses and Dissertations
Occupational socialization of women during postsecondary preparation for nontraditional and traditional jobs Brook, Paula Ann
Women in Canadian society continue to be segregated into traditionally female occupations, often of lower pay and status than male dominated occupations. To improve the educational and occupational equity of women, the governments of Canada and British Columbia support a variety of programs and intervention strategies. The focus of these efforts is cognitive, psychomotor, or affective or some combination thereof. There has been little research to date on the effectiveness of these strategies and programs; recruitment and enrollment remain essentially self-selection processes. This study examined the issue of women's occupational equity by focussing on the occupational role orientation process as facilitated by postsecondary educational interventions. Sixty-one subjects in four career preparation programs were pre-and posttested in 1984. The programs represented traditional and nontraditional preparation; within the nontraditional group there were three distinct types of occupational preparation. Three instruments were used to collect data relating to demographic charcteristics, perceived barriers to nontraditional careers, and type of career commitment. In addition, interviews were conducted to supplement the empirical data. The findings demonstrated that the programs were serving a heterogeneous group of women with regard to demographic characteristics but who at program enrollment reflected similar gender role socialization regarding the number of perceived barriers to nontraditional occupations. Any success of the programs in altering perceived barriers to nontraditional occupations could not be due solely to selection. At program completion greater variation in the perception of impediments to nontraditional occupations was found, but this variation reflected no apparent pattern. The treatments evidently had varying effects on the groups. The change scores indicate no significant differences between the traditional and nontraditional groups regarding perceived barriers. But within the nontraditional groups, the career exploratory program (which addressed cognitive, psychomotor, and affective learning), exhibited the most change in overcoming perceived barriers. Consequently, this program was found to be potentially more effective than either the traditional or other nontraditional ones in facilitating women's occupational equity. On the career commitment measure, at program enrollment students in a traditional program saw the fewest expected benefits and fewest opportunities for expressiveness from career identification; those in the nontraditional career exploratory program saw the greatest anticipated benefits and the most opportunities for expressiveness. Change scores indicate that the traditional program enrollees altered their expectations minimally; career exploratory enrollees showed the greatest increase in their expectations. The different educational interventions had varying influences on career expectations of women. Overall, modest evidence was found for supporting a career preparation program which addresses the affective aspect of occupational socialization in addition to the theory and skill components. If, in the interest of fostering educational and occupational equity, women are to be attracted to nontraditional occupations and assisted in preparing themselves to succeed in these jobs, then helping them to understand the psychosocial aspects of role identification and to overcome perceived impediments must be addressed by those who fund, design and conduct postsecondary career preparation programs.
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