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1.1     Background to the Study

Gender is mainly used conventionally to describe how the society gives certain roles to boys and girls. Gender has to do with behaviors that have become associated with masculinity and feminine, and with how people see their roles as male or female (Kauffman, 1997). Therefore, gender is related with how individuals perceive themselves in such a way that most people of the same sex identify themselves with certain attributes. These attributes affect children as they develop. Without doubt, the environment a child finds himself or herself in has a lot of impact on the child. According to Berk (2010), girls and boys are treated differently at birth. Girls are dressed with pink, and parents tend to be gentle with the girl child. On the other hand, boys are dressed with blue materials, while parents are harder with them. In the process of treating children differently, girls are offered more sex stereotyped toys, and without doubt, these children grow up looking and acting differently. This is in line with Kauchak and Eggen (2011) who stated that male children are regarded as handsome and seen as tougher and harder, and parents are rougher with their sons and involve them in more physical stimulation than their female children.

Gender stereotyping are broad categories that reflect our impression and beliefs about females and males. All stereotypes (whether gender, ethnicity, or other groupings based) refer to the image of a typical member of a particular social category. Gender stereotyping is divided into four dimensions that are in form of traits, physical characterization, behavior and occupations. Stereotypes results to labels such as soft or hard. Women may be labeled “soft” and men “hard” However, once labels are assigned, they are remarkably difficult to abandon. Many stereotypes are however so general and ambiguous (Almiskry et al., 2009).

Gender stereotypes originate from gender roles which define the responsibilities of females and males. The roles are categorized as masculine for males and feminine for females. Females and males are expected to perform certain duties in a particular society. These roles are basically constructed by the society or culture in which an individual lives. These roles are tied to the sex of the individual. Roles such as taking care of children, cooking and engaging in food production are attached to females, while males are identified with roles such as protecting families, building houses, as well as engaging in paid employment, cash crops production and business (Archer & Lloyd 2002).

In all societies whether western or nonwestern, women or men appear to have been brought up to believe in and adhere to gender roles which are conveyed to them on a daily basis. These beliefs are so ingrained into the females or males that they are extended to vocational choices (Otunga, 1996). As Nasania (2004) denotes, the greater the consistency, duration and intensity with which a definition is promoted by others about an actor, the great or is the likelihood, that the actor will embrace that definition as truly applicable to himself/herself (324). This seems to be the case with the young females or males in societies. For example the Jacobs (2005) argues along this line when it points out that it is not only overt socialization or covert prejudicial attitudes held by the society that keeps the females from entry into skilled jobs but the women themselves lack the courage to enter the field because they see the requirements for successful performance in such areas, as incongruent with the way they see themselves. Hansen (2009) reports that external influences that helps to shape an individuals’ career choice are also influenced by significant others through social support from peers. Young (1999) denotes that young adults through interaction with the context of family, school and community learn about and explore careers which ultimately lead to their career choice. Zacharia (2008) suggest that adolescents’ own aspirations are influenced by their parent’s aspirations or expectations. Parental support and encouragement are important factors that have been found to influence career choice. Children may choose what their parents desire simply to please those (Sounders, (1999)

According to Zacharia (2008) and Nasania (2004), students in the rural area tend to seek help from parents than urban students, and that parent more than teachers play a major role in the career choice of students. Generally, the choice of a career is influenced by traditional gender stereotyping parents and friends among other factors; however variations occur from one population to the other. Before making their career choices, students are often provided with a list of careers from which they are supposed to make choices. Most of the students lack adequate information regarding various careers hence the choices that they make are embedded on traditional gender stereotyping and the subjects they study in secondary school. The only support students get within the school if from counselors, teachers and most time their parent as they are mostly refereed to and the teachers who are expected to support students in their career choice.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

Secondary schools students most times have wrong or inaccurate information about occupational opportunities to help them make appropriate career choice as a result some of them relied on traditional gender stereotyping beliefs. It was a common practice in the old days to find feudalism converting it into a family affair where the son of a blacksmith was destined to become a blacksmith and a feudal was born a leader. But industrialization and post industrialization has made it possible for a common person to be richer as long as she or he has due skills and knowledge (Tomlinson, & Evans 1999). Today, one has not only to make due career planning but also exhaustive career research before making a career choice so as to adjust with the evolving socio-economic conditions. Most times women are seen as the weak ones and are not offered the best opportunities they need in selecting career, people believe that even with all the degree a woman might have she end up in a man kitchen, this kind of stereotype however get into some secondary girls head if there is no adequate support from the right people most female students eventually learn trade and some will just choose another career path that is not their dream, it is against this problem the researcher decides to make this research on the effect of gender stereotyping on career choice among secondary school students, using Ovia North LGA as a case study.

1.3     Objectives of the Study

The main objectives of this study is to find out the effect of gender stereotyping on career choice among secondary school students, specifically the study intends to:

1.     Find out how knowledgeable the students are in terms of career choice

2.     Find out the reason for gender stereotype in Nigeria

3.     Examine the effect of gender stereotype on career choice among students

4.     Find out the difference in career choices among secondary school students

1.4     Research Questions

1.     How knowledgeable are the students are in terms of career choice?

2.     What is the reason for gender stereotype in Nigeria?

3.     Is there any significant effect of gender stereotype on career choice among students?

4.     Is there any difference in career choices among secondary school students?

1.5     Research Hypothesis

Ho: there is no significant effect of gender stereotype on career choice among students

Hi: there is significant effect of gender stereotype on career choice among students

1.6     Significance of the Study

The information generated from this study will the basis for designing a career counselling intervention program that will alleviate gender stereotyping among secondary school students. More importantly, the findings of this study will help the secondary school students in making rational choices in their careers, independent of stereotyped perceptions. Furthermore, the findings are expected to form the basis for further research on gender stereotyping and student career choice. The study findings are will also add new knowledge to the field of social psychology as well as in existing literature on career choice

This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research

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