Career Development Theories for Women

Women’s career development is different from men’s for at least two reasons. Gender stereotypes can affect women to underestimate career possibilities, and childrearing responsibilities of motherhood can complicate her a woman’s balance of career and homemaking roles.

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Coogan and Chen (2007) think that Gottfredson’s theory of self-creation, circumscription, and compromise, and the social cognitive career theory, and Super’s life-span and life-space theories can be used to understand women’s psychological path of career decision making. Counselors can apply principles of these theories to assist career development of women (192-193).

Gottfredson’s theoretical models (1981, 2002, 2005, as cited by Sharf, 2010) explain how childhood gender role beliefs involve individuals’ career choices. Children form self-concept through early childhood to adolescence. As early as lower years of elementary school, children think about their social selves and discard occupations that are incompatible with their sex roles. By the years of secondary school, these children also put value on social appraisals, and reject jobs which unfit their own social classes and family expectations. By the adolescence years, in consequence, they seek jobs within their gender roles, social classes, and family expectations (, 199-206).

For example, an elementary school girl eliminates truck driver as a career option because this job does not match her gender role. Later, this girl also eliminates factory worker because this job does not match her family background. In consequence, she chooses nurse because this job matches her gender role, social class, and family approval (Sharf, 2010, 199-206).

Social cognitive career theory also explains how gender stereotypes influence women’s career developments. Social cognitive career theory is was originated in by Bandura’s 1986 social cognitive theory(as cited by Sharf, 2010) and the core concept is self-efficacy, which is self-belief of abilities and capacities to accomplish something (specific page number needed here). (Don’t put all the rest of the dates as those are just each year after the first year Bandura updated or revised his publications.) Cultural and gender role expectations within one’s contextual, as well as immediate environment, such as availability of role models, counselors or financial support etc., affects his/her level of self-efficacy and career goal setting (as cited in Sharf, 2010, 393-398). As this is more of a 2nd hand citation, you need to clearly show it as such. And, 393 to 398 is too great a page spread. You need a more specific page number(s).

Women with low self-efficacy for the world of work are known as to seek traditionally female dominated jobs, and limit possibilities of job satisfactions and earn high salary (Coogan & Chen, 2007, 197).

Betz (2006; and Hackett & Betz, 1981, as cited by Sharf, 2010) emphasizes importance of immediate environment. Counselors can influence women clients to enhance their level of self-efficacy on the field of nontraditional female occupations, and subjects of math and science by teaching them that fears of these areas are only socialized gender stereotypes (401). Encouragement is influential for shaping one’s self-efficacy and career goal setting.

Whitmarsh, et al. (2007) compared two groups of women. One group was consisted from professors, physicians, and attorneys. These occupations are traditionally dominated by men but getting explored by women. Another group is consisted from social workers and teachers. These occupations are traditionally dominated by women. Women with preceding group said that they received strong encouragements from not only their family members, but also educators and counselors to pursuit these careers, while women with the other group said that they received messages from family members that these careers are suitable for women (230, 233).

Hence, it is possible to enhance self-efficacy and pursuit challenging careers which are based not on gender stereotypes if women clients receive career counseling without gender bias. Counselors can help clients to look for occupations that are truly matched their internal and external components and lifestyles.

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Women’s career counselors cannot overlook the fact that childbearing and role of homemaker can be the keystone of women’s course of life. In reality, the responsibilities of childcare bear harder on women more than men (Phillips & Imhof, 1997, as cited by Coogan & Chen, 2007, 195). Sixty to ninety percent of childcare work is done by women in the U.S (Matlin, 2004, as cited by Coogan & Chen, 2007, 195).

Coogan and Chen (2007) suggest that counselors can help women clients to find their values and favorable life balances using Super’s theories (1990), which include the concept that people play six life roles; as a child, a student, a leisurite, a citizen, a worker, and a homemaker. The priorities of these life roles changes over lifetime depend on individuals’ life stages. Clients can analyze their life role’s priorities using lifespan perspective (as cited by Coogan and Chen, 2007, 201). This is a better way to cite this 2nd hand citation. Your way was grammatically incorrect and clumsy.

Mueller (1954), (as cited by Hansen & Rapoza, 1978) identified that women’s childbirth capacity make it differ from men’s career patterns. Although men have four career patters (stable, conventional, unstable, and multiple-trial) (page number needed here.)

According to Miller and Form’s 1951 classification (as cited by Hansen & Rapoza, 1978) , women have seven career patterns as follow. 1. The Stable Homemaking Career Pattern: marry soon after their college and being homemaker through lifetime. 2. The Conventional Career Pattern: work a while after college and being homemaker after marriage. 3. The Stable Working Career Pattern: work throughout lifetime though motivations are varied. 4. The Double Track Career Pattern: purist both career of working and homemaking. 5. The Interrupted Career Pattern: leave work for childrearing, then returns to work. 6. The Unstable Career Pattern: repeat role of homemaker and worker depend on life situation usually financial need. 7. The Multiple-trial Career Pattern: work throughout their lifespan but often change jobs and do to not establish genuine lifework (71-75).

Mueller (1954), (as cited by Hansen & Rapoza, 1978) implied that many women seek less challenging careers so that they can be flexible if opportunity for a relationship arises, while not many women hold challenging jobs such as physicians and scientists, and chose the double track career (74-75). Clients can question themselves about meaning of job seeking, job holding, and factors of job selection.

In conclusion, successful career counseling can facilitate clients to find the career that best suits them. Providing gender-unbiased and genuine encouragements will be able to maximize women clients’ career choice potentials. Discussing women’s childrearing and various life courses will be able to help clients to clarify their world views, ideal career patterns, and ideal lifestyles. You need to expand your conclusion a bit more as it is too underdeveloped.

And, don’t use ampersands unless published as ampersands.



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