Who Wants to Have a Career in Science or Math? Exploring Adolescents’ Future Aspirations by Gender and Race/Ethnicity

May 1st, 2011 | RESEARCH

Our study utilizes data from a national cohort of eighth-grade students to consider how different gender and racial/ethnic subgroups compare to White males in their likelihood to aspire toward a science or math occupation and examine the roles that self-concept, enjoyment, and achievement may play in shaping disparities at this early point in occupational trajectories. We find that the importance of enjoyment, self-concept, and achievement in explaining disparities in science career aspirations relative to White males varies according to the female subgroup considered, such that no singular story applies to females across different racial/ethnic backgrounds. For math, White and Hispanic females remain approximately half as likely as White males to aspire to a math occupation regardless of all indicators we consider. Finally, Black and Hispanic adolescent boys have generally comparable aspirations toward future careers in science and math as their White male peers, despite notably large differences in achievement. We discuss implications of our results for future research on equity.


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Team Members

Catherine Riegle-Crumb, Author, University of Texas
Chelsea Moore, Author, University of Texas
Aida Ramos-Wada, Author, University of Texas


Identifier Type: doi
Identifier: 10.1002/sce.20431
Identifier Type: issn
Identifier: 0036-8326

Publication: Science Education
Volume: 95
Number: 3
Page(s): 458

Related URLs

EBSCO Full Text


Access and Inclusion: Black | African American Communities | Ethnic | Racial | Hispanic | Latinx Communities | Women and Girls
Audience: Middle School Children (11-13)
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM | Mathematics
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Informal | Formal Connections | K-12 Programs