According to Tillhed, competence is still stereotyped as more masculine, and the belief that men are more competent than women still holds sway – and the result is that teenage girls continue to believe they can’t excel in traditionally male-dominated fields, such as technology, programming, and the sciences.
‘Girls also underestimated how well they thought they would do in male-dominated professions such as engineering. Since Sweden is one of the most gender-equal countries in the world, we were hoping that maybe our 15-year-old girls would have moved past these stereotypes, but they’re still alive and kicking!’ Tellhed told The Local.
More than 2500 15-year-olds were interviewed for the study. The most important variable, when it came to girls choosing for their future, was their ability to believe in themselves, with worries about fitting in running a close second. And, while boys were found to be somewhat leery of following a career path that is traditionally dominated by the opposite gender, their confidence in their ability to do equally well in either male- or female-dominated fields remains steady.