In this study, Finnish ninth graders’ and their school guidance counselors’ views concerning ninth graders’ perceptions of gender-appropriateness of occupations were examined. Special interest was placed on evaluating if ninth graders bring out any gender stereotypical perceptions regarding science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) occupations. The data were gathered with the aid of an online survey (246 pupils) and semi-structured interviews (7 school guidance counselors). Ninth graders referred mostly to masculine physical dimension when justifying certain occupations being more suitable for men than for women. Respectively, they referred mostly to gender-typical interest when justifying certain occupations to be more suitable for women than for men. Boys presented more gender stereotypical perceptions of occupations than girls did. Boys also considered their own gender affecting their occupational preferences stronger than girls did. Guidance counselors reported ninth graders’ perceptions of occupations being still very gender-stereotypic and influencing on academic and occupational choices. To address occupational gender segregation, it is necessary to develop novel methods and materials recognizing gender stereotypes and demonstrating up-to-date STEM career knowledge.
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