‘Now I want to do something interesting, something fun’. A mixed-methods study into the determinants of horizontal gender segregation at a Belgian university.
Keywords:educational choice, masculine fields, feminine fields, mixed methods, horizontal gender segregation
This study examines by means of quantitative and qualitative data analyses which factors
determine the choice for more masculine or more feminine fields of study by male and female
bachelor students. The quantitative analyses are based on data of 4758 bachelor students, of
which 1808 males and 2950 females, taken from STUBARO 2011-2012, a yearly online survey of
students of Ghent University. The qualitative data are data of 15 female and 8 male students in
gender-atypical fields, gathered by means of in-depth interviews and focus groups. Family
background only slightly explained the gendered choices. More important were the students’
occupational values, as more feminine values decreased the likelihood of being in more
masculine fields of study, and vice versa. Previous educational careers appeared to be most
important, namely mathematics, which determined the enrolment in masculine fields somewhat
more for men than for women.
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