International Women’s Day (March 8) is always a great occasion to focus on the obvious: that some women have made great strides in recent decades in fulfilling their potential; that there is still a long way to go before all women enjoy true equality in all societies. This month’s edition of PISA in Focus decided to dig a little deeper: given that girls are doing as well as, if not better than, boys in most core subjects at school, do boys and girls now expect to pursue similar careers when they become adults?
What kinds of careers do boys and girls expect for themselves?
On average, girls are 11 percentage points more likely than boys to expect to work
as legislators, senior officials, managers and professionals.
• Only 5% of girls in OECD countries, on average, expect a career in engineering and
computing, while 18% of boys expect a career in these fields.
• In every OECD country, more girls than boys expect a career in health and medicine.
Thanks to girls’ great strides in education in recent years, today’s 15-year-old girls are, on average, more ambitious than boys. However, boys’ and girls’ decision to pursue certain careers, and make the most of their potential, is still driven by factors that are not necessarily related to their actual skills.
Gendered Career Expectations of Students