Materials and Practices: Assessment, Interest Inventories, and Marketing & Recruitment

Review the Theory and Evidence.

Recommendations and Strategies*

  • Provide greater intensity of recruitment intervention: Interventions such as special programs, courses, and camps were found to increase interest in the activities offered.
  • Practice effective career guidance: Dodson and Borders encourage career guidance practices that indicate how gender role socialization can shape interest and constrict choices; communicate the possible stress of high-status male traditional careers; provide a realistic picture of actual on-the-job activities; and stress the influence of job security of some nontraditional careers, especially for males from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Provide more career guidance for boys: Miller and Hayward’s survey of adolescents’ occupational preferences indicated that for girls there is a clear link between knowledge of what the job entails and a liking for the job. For boys, there was no relationship between knowledge and liking for a job at any age. This suggests that identifying ways to provide boys with more career information should be one priority.
  • Provide information about high-wage, high-skill jobs for females: According to another study by Miller and Hayward, girls prefer jobs that they believe should be performed by females. However, they will consider traditionally male jobs because of their higher status and pay. Career advisers should provide information on the range of jobs available to students at an early age.
  • Educate career counselors about changing the landscape of the workforce: Counselors, coordinators, and administrators need to understand that women’s internal, professional and family needs are all interwoven and affect each other.
  • Make societal benefits known: Providing information about the societal benefits of nontraditional careers helps to boost girls’ and women’s interest in STEM.

[pullquote align=”right”]Career guidance materials and practices that adhere to equitable standards can increase participation in classes that lead to nontraditional careers.

Traditional awareness-raising recruitment methods such as brochures, talks, or demonstrations alone are helpful, but insufficient to impact career decision-making.[/pullquote]

Effective Practices and Resources

  • At the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in the Houston School of Nursing, male enrollment has increased 23 percent since the university adopted many of the marketing recommendations of a male focus group. Marketing activities included changing the language of recruitment materials from flowery and fluffy to factual and objective, increasing the emphasis on the traditionally masculine aspects of nursing such as trauma and emergency care, advertising in the sports section of the newspaper, and providing more male role models.
  • Curricular Detecting Skills by David M. Sadker and Karen Zittleman, discusses ways to detect and correct gender bias in your curriculum.
  • Acting on the advice of middle school guidance counselors, the Oregon Center for Nursing produced “Are You Man Enough to Be a Nurse?” that features male nurses carrying out “masculine” hobbies and duties. Other sites can, for a fee, utilize the images and imprint their organizational names and logos, thus creating recruitment materials that have been tested by focus groups.
  • Gender Equity Tip Sheet from the Project Enter, University of Missouri-Columbia, contain numerous tips that can help you improve your programs.
  • The Safe Schools Coalition’s poster, Guidelines for Identifying Bias in Curriculum and Materials, provides guidelines and examples for avoiding stereotypical language.
  • The Career Equity Resource Center at Rutgers University produced Could This Be Your Life?, a career “game” that incorporates a career interest inventory, planning for family needs, self-sufficiency data, and information about nontraditional careers to assist young people in realistic career planning for thriving in New Jersey.
  • I Am an Engineer, from Cisco Gender Initiative Strategies, is a video of diverse females in computer engineering that aims to recruit more women into computer engineering.
  • Engineer Your Life is an online recruitment tool that utilizes real-life role models.
  • The Guide to Gender Fair Counseling for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, developed by the NSF Counseling for Gender Equity Project, provides characteristics of gender fairness and support for non-traditional recruitment in career information services.