Gender, STEM, and Career Interests

Project Description

Despite great advances in some areas of science such as biology, the gender gap remains significant in many occupations in the fields of science, computing, engineering, and math. This suggests that innovative educational programs, although often effective in changing enrollment and performance in science and math courses, have not been broadly effective in altering girls’ and women’s career choices. In our work we examine a number of factors that might account for this phenomenon:

  • Social-contextual influences such as classroom and school environment
  • Culturally shared explicit gender stereotypes
  • Implicitly held career gender stereotypes and identities
  • Personal attributes, such as perceived abilities and self-efficacy for math and science
  • Life goals, especially those related to work, marriage, and family.
  • In addition, we focus on how these influences are affected by the interests and needs of girls and women at different time points in schooling

More information can be found at the Gender and STEM website.

Funding Sources

Our projects have been supported by external funding from the National Science Foundation (#HRD-0734074 and #HRD 1136266), as well the University of Alabama and ISSR .


Barth, J.M. & Yang, Y. (2022). Changes in life goals over college: A comparison between men and women majoring in STEM. Sex Roles. 87, 20–34.

Barth, J.M. & Masters, S. (2020). Effects of classroom quality, gender stereotypes, and efficacy on math and science interest over school transitions. International Journal of Gender, Science, & Technology, Special Issue on Reimagining who does STEM, 12(1) 4-31.

Dunlap, S. T., & Barth, J. M. (2019). Career stereotypes and identities: Implicit beliefs and major choice for college women and men in STEM and female-dominated fields. Sex Roles, 81(9), 548-560.

Barth, J.M., Kim, H., Eno, C. A., & Guadagno, R. E. (2018). Matching abilities to careers: Do gender stereotypes matter to students in advanced math and science classes? Sex Roles, 79(1), 83-97.

Yang, Y., Barth, J. M., & ASERT (2015). Gender differences in stem undergraduates’ vocational interests: people-thing orientation and goal affordances. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 91, 65-75.

Barth, J.M., Guadagno, R. E., Rice, L., Eno, C.A.,Minney, J. A., & The Alabama STEM Education Research Team (2015). Untangling life goals and occupational stereotypes in men’s and women’s career interest. Sex Roles, 73, 502-518. DOI 10.1007/s11199-015-0537-2