Researchers at RTI International, University of Minnesota, University of Michigan and Murdoch University in a 1990 study looked at 137 female high school seniors who aspired to male-dominated jobs.
Seven years later, the study found that 83 percent of those women had changed their occupational aspirations to female-dominated fields or neutral jobs, reported Newswise wire.
The study found the most significant predictor for a young woman to change her career plans was a desire for a job that allowed for the flexibility for her to have a family.
National statistics showed that by the end of the 1990s, women represented 46 percent of the national labour force but made up only 11 percent of engineers, 29 percent of computer and math scientists, 31 percent of chemists and 29 percent of lawyers.
"Many male-dominated fields are still inflexible in practice," principal investigator of the study Pam Frome said. "The reality is that it is difficult to pursue and be successful in all of the same types of careers as men if women want to have families and are expected to be primary caregivers."
To counteract this trend, the authors emphasise that employers need to provide child care and a flexible working schedule to employees without compromising promotions or other career opportunities.
According to researchers, encouraging women to take classes in math and science is not enough. Young girls need role models who are successfully balancing male-dominated careers as well as families.
Source - (IANS)