Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Richard M. Greer, Carl Kreisler, Vera G. Guthrie

Degree Program

Educational Leadership

Degree Type

Educational Specialist Degree


Women workers in the United States do not share equally in earned income with men, and the majority of female workers are employed in traditionally female occupations where the pay is also traditionally low. A socialization pattern seems to assign women certain career roles which have been traditionally female and to influence women in their professional ambitions and in making satisfying career choices. This study represents an attempt to investigate possible variables which influence women in making satisfying congruent career choices.

The relationship of sex-role classification, as measured by the Bem Sex-role Inventory (BSRI), vocational interests, as measured by the Vocational Preference Inventory (VPI), and expressed vocational interests, as indicated by declared college major, of selected college women was examined by this study. Sex-role type was studied as a variable which could possible cause women to ignore the socialization process and is attending attitudes to select preferred atypical careers. The purposes of the study was to discover possible differences in sex-role identity between women who make congruent career choices and women who make incongruent career choices and to add an understanding of the process of career choice for women.

The BSRI and VPI were administered to a group of undergraduate women in lower division psychology and English classes at a regional Southeastern state university. The score for each student’s Vocational interest type from the VPI was compared with that student’s declared college major, using a table of college majors arranged by Holland’s Typology of Occupational Environments which corresponds to the six scales of vocational interest types of the VPI. A congruent choice was indicated if a subject’s declared college major was listed in the occupational environment of her measured vocational interest type scale. Tables presented the proportion of sex-role classification (masculine, feminine, androgynous, and undifferentiated) in the congruent and incongruent vocational preference groupings as well as the proportion of sex-role classification in each preference group reported according to measured vocational interest.

The findings of this study tentatively suggest that the variable of sex-role type does influence career choice, as problems were encountered by women whose sex-role classification was masculine or undifferentiated. The study did not indicate that the sex-role classification of androgyny was a sufficient condition to greatly influence the congruent outcome of career choice of the college women in this sample. In the population of this research, highly sex-typed feminine women—as well as androgynous women-chose college majors congruent to their measured vocational interest, indicating a satisfying career choice.

The women in the sample [blank] study indicated a strong continuing interest in traditional women’s occupations whether their sex-role classification was feminine, masculine, androgynous, or undifferentiated.

Implications for additional research have been identified in this project for further study of those factors (social, situational, and attitudinal) which influence career aspirations of young women.


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Women's Studies