Sex Roles

, Volume 66, Issue 3–4, pp 235–249 | Cite as

Parental and Secondary School Teachers’ Perceptions of ICT Professionals, Gender Differences and their Role in the Choice of Studies

  • Milagros SáinzEmail author
  • Rachel Pálmen
  • Sara García-Cuesta
Original Article


The influence of parents and teachers in the decisions made by adolescents regarding study options has not been widely documented in Spain. The main aim of this qualitative study consisted of analyzing the opinions of parents and secondary school teachers about their role in the different academic and professional choices boys and girls make. Seven focus groups (4 with 27 parents and 3 with 22 secondary school teachers) from 5 schools located in urban and rural areas of Catalonia (Spain) were carried out in order to explore how both groups perceive Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professionals, gender differences in study options and their own role in adolescents’ choice of study options. Our findings show that parents and teachers hold stereotypes about ICTs and consider that gender does not condition adolescents’ study choices. Both groups saw themselves as playing a secondary role in adolescents’ academic and professional choices. Some gender differences among parents and teachers emerged regarding their perception of the ICT professionals and their own role and of others in shaping adolescents’ study choices. The findings and their practical implications are discussed.


Parental and school influence Gender Academic choices ICTs 



This paper is part of a broader research project financed by the Catalonian Women’s Institute ASC/46/2008. The corresponding author thanks the financial support given by the Programa José Castillejo Programme on Mobility of the Spanish Ministry of Education. The authors would like to thank the participants and Esther Fatsini, Ana González-Ramos, Pilar Prat, Jordi Solé and Nuria Vergés for their collaboration in the process of contacting participants and the analysis of some focus groups. Special thanks to the blind reviewer and editors for their insightful comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Milagros Sáinz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rachel Pálmen
    • 2
  • Sara García-Cuesta
    • 3
  1. 1.Internet Interdisciplinary InstituteUniversitat Oberta de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.CIREM FUNDACIÓBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Facultad de SociologíaUniversidad de la LagunaTenerifeSpain

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