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Asymmetry of Non-traditional Gendered Decisions: Gender Beliefs and High School Curriculum Track Decisions in Taiwan

Abstract

In Taiwan, the persistent sex segregation in high school curriculum track has been documented since 1982. This study focuses on the gender beliefs held by adolescents, their parents, and their math teachers, examining to what degree the egalitarian gender beliefs affect the high school curriculum track decisions in Taiwan by using the Taiwan Education Panel Survey. Results show that when adolescents’ parents hold egalitarian gender beliefs, both girls and boys have higher odds of choosing non-traditional gender paths. However, the adolescents’ own egalitarian gender beliefs only matter for female adolescents, not for male adolescents. This research explores the mechanisms of egalitarian gender beliefs held by multiple socialization agents on non-traditional gendered education decisions. It advocates on the programs that foster egalitarian gender attitudes, which may narrow the sex segregation in high school curriculum tracks.

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Notes

  1. 2007 is the last year of TEPS respondents in high school.

  2. For reasons of confidentiality, TEPS does not release sensitive information about school and class cluster. This prevents researchers from linking school, class, and students’ information and keeps respondents anonymous.

  3. My analytic sample is limited to students who enrolled in senior high school and excluded students who enrolled in vocational schools because vocational schools are in different school systems.

  4. The study includes cases that did not complete the parental questionnaire (n = 43) and those that did not complete the teacher questionnaire (n = 236); three cases did not complete either questionnaire. Total cases equal 43 + 236 − 3 = 276.

  5. For variables with no missing data: students’ gender and curriculum choice were used to predict the variables with missing values, listed as follows: father’s education (n = 147, 6%), mother’s education (n = 69, 3%), self-assessment of math ability (n = 23, < 1%), math performance (n = 20, < 1%), student’s gender beliefs (n = 47, < 2%), parents’ gender beliefs (n = 8, < 1%), math teachers’ gender beliefs (n = 30, 1%), and math teachers’ gender (n = 38, 1%) for the multiple imputations.

  6. Instead of using socioeconomic status, I only use parental educational attainment. Family monthly income is excluded from the model due to the high VIF and potential multicollinearity if both were included.

  7. The zero-order correlations between students’ own and parents’ gender beliefs is 0.20, between students’ own and math teachers’ gender beliefs is − 0.03, between parental and math teachers’ gender beliefs is − 0.03.

  8. The zero-order correlations between students’ actual math performance and perceived math performance (self-assessment math ability) is 0.28.

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Acknowledgements

The author is grateful to Debby Carr, Pat Roos, Sharon Bzostek, Julia Flagg, Kelly Kato, Libby Luth, Theresa Simpson, and the anonymous reviewers for their comments on drafts of this article. The article is entirely the responsibility of the author.

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Han, TY. Asymmetry of Non-traditional Gendered Decisions: Gender Beliefs and High School Curriculum Track Decisions in Taiwan. Gend. Issues 38, 25–46 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12147-020-09253-4

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Keywords

  • Curriculum
  • Sex segregation
  • Gender stereotypes
  • Egalitarian attitudes
  • Secondary education