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Boys Choose Technical Faculties and Girls – Humanitarian

21.11.2013

 
Tamta Tvalavadze

Nika Pachulia, 22, graduated the Faculty of Humanitarian Sciences at the Tbilisi Ivane Javakhishvili State University this year. He selected this profession regardless his parents’ protest. “Lecturers were surprised that I was studying Humanitarian Science because traditionally girls prefer to study there. There were only five boys in this faculty. I should admit that lecturers were more loyal to us than to girls. Maybe they wanted to morally encourage us to feel more comfortable in female environment. To tell the truth, initially I felt a bit awkward but later got used to it,” Nika Pachulia said.

Large-scaled survey of gender balance in the education system was not carried out in Georgia. However, we can make some assumptions from the analysis of the lists of first-year students at the Tbilisi I. Javakhishvili State University. Boys make 24% of first-year students at humanitarian faculty and 67% at technical faculties. 

The problem of gender segregation in labor market was well reflected in the 1962 film of soviet Georgia “Dolls Are Laughing”. Main character of the movie Reziko Beltadze failed at the entrance exams of the Conservatoire and starts working in the toy factory, where he is the only man and is often laughed at. 

According to one of the wide-spread gender stereotype, when choosing future professions, boys select technical, exact and natural sciences and girls choose humanitarian and pedagogical faculties. Why are professions divided into masculine and famine categories?

According to one theory, biological factors play key role in it. Right hemisphere of the brain, which is more developed in men, is responsible for space-visual and mathematic skills. Left hemisphere of the brain, more developed in women, develops verbal and perceptive skills. However, this allegation has many opponents. Gender specialist Ida Bakhturidze claims this theory lacks scientific grounds: “Modern science could not prove the biology and gender regulates mental abilities. So, allegations about hemispheres do not rely on serious scientific analysis and they were created based on stereotypic assumptions.”

Upbringing methods also play significant role in the selection of professions. Gender Specialist Natia Gvianishvili clarified that teachers also are significant socialization agents together with families and social environment when choosing the professions. “School and educational environment subconsciously promote this segregation. Very often teachers believe that boys are more talented in mathematics and technical subjects and girls in humanitarian ones. So, adults are brought up with this ideology and very often they select future faculties according to this gender stereotypes,” Gvianishvili said and added that well- established gender roles and opinions in the society promote selection of professions. “Girls are brought up with the idea that she must have a family and take care of children; she is less expected to have professional career.”

Very often, when men select so-called “female profession” or vice versa, they become targets of discrimination. Positive discrimination is observed when men choose female professions. “People are sorry for the man for having incorrectly chosen the profession and try to encourage him. But when woman chooses masculine profession, men perceive them as competitors and unify against them. Positive discrimination is more burden for men than negative discrimination for women,” Natia Gvianishvili.

Third-year-student of the Physic Faculty at the Free University Tako Meshveliani recalled an example of negative discrimination. “Once lecturer of mathematics asked me at the exam – “Are not you bit backward than boys? Is it difficult for you to study at this faculty?” Unfortunately, we feel similar approach from the lecturers. However, boys from our group easily agree with us that success requires much work and gender does not make any difference.” 

Gender stereotypes on the labor market also promote similar segregation of university faculties and professions. Very often, employers and society believe that concrete professions are either for men or for women. But people, who try to destroy these stereotypes and choose unpopular professions according to their gender, often, become targets of jester. 
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