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GENDER DIFFERENCES AND SIMILARITIES IN CAREER CHOICE AMONG SECRETARIAL ADMINISTRATION STUDENTS

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ABSTRACT

The major purpose of this study was to determine the career preference of male and female in secretaryship in order to identify the gender difference and similarities in career choice among secretarial administrations student. Secretarial Administration is not for any particular gender although there are some aspects of the secretarial work that are outside the competence of the female secretaries. Secretaryship is a difficult and challenging profession. It entails rigorous for both sexes. All those who go into secretary ship are exposed to rigorous training which spans from National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) first Degree.

CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

gender differences and similarities is broad category that reflects our impression and beliefs about females and males. All stereotypes (whether gender, ethnicity, or other groupings based) refer to the image of a typical member of a particular social category. gender differences and similarities is divided into four dimensions that are in form of traits, physical characterization, behavior and occupations. Stereotypes results to labels such as soft or hard. Women may be labeled “soft” and men “hard” However, once labels are assigned, they are remarkably difficult to abandon. Many stereotypes are however so general and ambiguous (Almiskry et al., 2009).

Gender stereotypes originate from gender roles which define the responsibilities of females and males. The roles are categorized as masculine for males and feminine  for females. Females and males are expected to perform certain duties in a particularsociety. These roles are basically constructed by the society or culture in which an individual lives. The roles are tied to the sex of the individual. Roles such as taking care of children, cooking and engaging in food production are attached to females, while males are identified with roles such as protecting families, building houses, as well as engaging in paid employment, cash crops production and business (Archer and Lloyd 2002).

The process through which the individual learns and accepts roles is called socialization. Socialization works by encouraging wanted and discouraging unwanted behavior. In societies, the agencies of socialization such as family, schools, peer group and the media make it clear to the child what behavioural norms one is expected to follow, and once someone has accepted a set of behavioral norms, they are typically very important to the individual. Hence, the internalization of these behaviors and beliefs, based on society’s awareness and expectations lead to special interest which impact on vocational choices (Bender, 1994).

In all societies whether western or non western, women or men appear to have been brought up to believe in and adhere to gender roles which are conveyed to them on a daily basis. These beliefs are so ingrained into the females or males that they are extended to vocational choices (Valiante 1996). As Lofland (1969), denotes, the greater the consistency, duration and intensity with which a definition is promoted by others about an actor, the great or is the likelihood, that the actor will embrace that definition as truly applicable to himself/herself. This seems to be the case with the young females or males in societies. For example, the EOC report (2005) is alongthis line where it points out that it is not only overt socialization or covert prejudicial attitudes held by the society that keeps the females from entry into skilled jobs but the women themselves lack the courage to enter the field because they see the requirements for successful performance in such areas, as incongruent with the way they see themselves (Women and Work Commission, 2006).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Most of students in secondary schools do not have accurate information about occupational opportunities to help them make appropriate career choice. A s a result some of them rely on traditional gender differences and similarities beliefs. It was a common practice in the old days to find feudalism converting it into a family affair where the son of a blacksmith was destined to become a blacksmith and a feudal was born a leader. But industrialization and post industrialization has made it possible for a common person to be richer as long as she or he has due skills and knowledge. Today, one has not only to make due career planning but also exhaustive career research before making a career choice so as to adjust with the evolving socio- economic conditions (Wattles, 2009).

Influence of gender differences and similarities in career choice among secretarial administration student is one of the serious challenges in public schools in Nigeria. Cultural beliefs among adolescents and community at large on gender roles has been one of the factors that may affect correct choice of career path for many secretarial administration student in Nigeria today.

The current study intended to explore effects of traditional gender differences and similarities beliefs on career choice among secretarial administration student on knowledge of career requirements, relationship between students’ beliefs in traditional gender roles and their career choice, career availability and aspiration, portray career by gender and relationship between social class and career choice. This becomes pertinent in view of the fact that much has not been researched in this area in Nigeria.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of gender differences and similarities on career choice among secretarial administration student in Nigeria.

1.4 The Objectives of the Study

1. To examine the knowledge of career requirements among secretarial administration student

2. To identify behaviours associated with masculine and feminine gender

3. To examine the tasks associated with male and female gender

1.5 Hypotheses

1. Secondaryschoolstudentshave    sufficientknowledgeofcareer requirements

2. Gender behaviours are associated with career choices among secretarial administration student

1.6 Significance of the study

It has been recognized recently that for a person to make realistic decision, his level of self-efficacy can indeed be very influential. It is one thing to demonstrate interest in a particular occupational field; it is another thing to have confidence in one’s ability to successfully undertake the task involved.

Most students who are in secondary school do not have enough information about occupational opportunities to help them make rational and appropriate career choice. Hence this research work is sought to help the student understand and explore other options in making career choice.

A student tends to learn and accept information more from their teacher. Hence an uninformed teacher will tend to mislead or shy away from counselling the student with respect to career choice. This research seeks to help teachers to explore real career possibility of each student and guide them accordingly putting certain factors into cogniscience.

Teachers will guide and counsel student from their own perspective. If there are no laid down guideline by the school system. Hence this research seeks to help curriculum developer to understand the role of career choice to student and to help inculcate it in the curriculum of the school. This will in turn help the student explore the career opportunities available and make rational choice of career.

1.7 Scope of the study

It would have been ideal to stretch the scope of this study to cover more schools in the chosen local government (Oshodi Local Government Area) in Lagos state, but for the minimum resources available and time factor, the area of the study of this project is limited to four (4) schools under Oshodi Local Government Area in Lagos state namely: Oshodi junior high school; Oshodi comprehensive junior high school; Mafoluku grammer school; Bolade senior grammer school.

1.8 Organization of the Study The study comprises of five chapters. Chapter one consists of the background to the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, objectives, research questions, significance, limitation of the study, delimitation of the study, basic assumptions, definitions of key terms and organization of the   study.  Chapter two  comprises of literature review theoretical and conceptual frameworks. Chapter three deals with research methodology, covering   research sampling, procedures, research instruments and their validity and reliability, procedures for data collection and data analysis. Chapter four comprises of findings and discussions which were generated by the study. Chapter five presents summary, conclusions and recommendations.

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