GOALS AND THE GENDER GAP: A STUDY OF HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS' ASPIRATIONS AS LIFESTYLE CHOICES.
AuthorHANKE, PENELOPE JEAN.
Committee ChairJensen, Gary
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe data for this study were taken from the survey titled Monitoring the Future (MtF), an annual cross-section of high school seniors across the nation, using the 1976 and 1981 cohorts. Log-linear analysis was the primary analytic technique, supplemented by factor analysis where appropriate. The topic is not new. With graduation approaching, high school seniors must consider four major decision areas: further education, employment, marriage, and/or parenthood. Yet, each of these is increasingly problematic within the context of a Post-Industrial society. These decision areas are in fact inextricably bound together in a dynamic and complex fashion. That is, goals are eminently lifestyle choices. What is new, then, is this study's perspective and the central role of gender in shaping such choices. Given these two premises, this study primarily critiques conventional Status Attainment models of youths' aspirations drawing upon Bernard (1981), Gilligan (1982), Baruch, Barnett, and Rivers (1983), and Gerson (1985). As lifestyle choices, seniors were confronted with such issues as employed wives/mothers, division of housework and child care labor between spouses, and househusbands. The majority of young women and men alike considered both a job and homelife central to their futures. Yet, occupational aspirations reflected the sex-segregation of the labor market. In general, homelife scenarios found that either wife's full-time or half-time employment was favored in contrast to full-time homemaking when no preschool children were involved. Once children were involved, however, most seniors preferred the wife remain home. With respect to child care and housework, equal responsibility was strongly preferred by virtually all seniors. Many seniors also preferred arrangements in which the wife was primarily responsible for these tasks, regardless of her employment status. Shifts in husband's roles were generally unacceptable, particularly full-time househusbands. Overall, more young men supported traditional arrangements, while more young women supported change. Seniors' aspirations, thus, found evidence for both a diversity of future lifestyles, as well as areas of potential conflict.