Gender differences in the occupational perceptions of single-sex and co-educational primary school children in Bungoma District
Women are underrepresented on the job market due to stereotypes. Gender role socialization begins early at home and is enforced in school. Athough primary school children are not mature career wise, the perceptions they form about various occupations later affect them. The purpose of this study was to investigate Gender Differences in the Occupational Perceptions of Primary School Children. Specifically, the study investigated Gender Differences in the Occupational Percept- ns of Standard Four and Five children attending Single-sex and Co-educational primary schools (as defined in the definition of terms on page eight). Other variables that were studied with gender differences were age and school type. In addition, the kind of reasons that standard four and five children gave for their occupational perceptions were sought. The study was conducted in three primary schools in Bungoma District. These were Lugulu mixed, Kibabii girls and Kimilili boys' primary schools. The subjects of the study were obtained using the stratified random sampling technique. A sample of 200 pupils, 100 boys and 100 girls, was used. Each stratum was further subdivided into cells of 25 pupils along school type, giving rise to 8 cells. The Thematic Apperception Technique was used to collect data on the children's occupational perceptions. T he children were given instructions and the illustration item on the questionnaire was used to illustrate to them what they were required to do. The subjects were then presented with 12 cards with pictures of objects representing different' occupations and with two names-Nanjala and Wanjala. The pictures used were those of' a stethoscope, an aeroplane, a football, a house, a bus, a shaver, a blow drier, a computer, a duster and chalk, a syringe, a jiko and sufuria and a mop and broom. They were used to represent the doctor, pilot, footballer, mason, driver, barber, hairdresser, secretary, teacher, nurse, cook and cleaner occupations. They were requested to draw an arrow pointing at whom they thought should use the object on the card to work and give the reason why. This information was coded using the Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS) and analyzed by use of frequencies, percentages and chi-square at 0.05 level of significance. The results of' analysis indicated that there was a significant difference between age and occupational perception of standard four and five pupils. On the other hand, type of school and gender were not significantly different with regard to pupils' occupational perceptions. It was concluded that indeed stereotyping was still a major issue and it continues to negatively influence on occupational perceptions. It was however established that children lacked information on occupations and if' they were exposed to it, their perceptions could change. It was therefore recommended that career counselors provide information on occupations and discourage children from stereotyping.