Category: Study

Area: Stereotyping, Gender inequality

Place/Country: Denmark

Date: 2022

Institutions involved:

  • The Confederation of Danish Trade Unions, 
  • the Confederation of Danish Employers, 
  • the Employee and Competence Agency, 
  • Danish Regions and
  • the National Association of Local Authorities

Target group: Young people aged 15-22 years

Goals / Objectives /Aims:

From project website:

  • An examination of the impact on young people’s educational choices of whether a programme is perceived as feminine or masculine. Beginning by examining whether young people perceive some programmes as masculine or feminine.
  • It then examines which specific programmes have masculine or feminine connotations,
  • and finally the significance of these connotations for young people’s educational choices.
  • An exploration of young people’s thinking and behaviour before choosing an education

Content / Structure / Description including strengthening action competence

To uncover the reasons behind gendered educational choices, the study asks open-ended questions. To find patterns in the open-ended responses, they have used the statistical method Topic Modelling.- The method uses an automated coding of open-text responses to identify which words often appear together in statements. The advantage of this method is that it allows to uncover causes directly from the data without asking specific questions about them – we get closer to “letting the data speak for itself” than with other quantitative methods. This allows us to provide some perspectives on how and by what mechanisms gender preferences affect educational choices.

Results / Responses → Resulting Competences:

The study shows whether there is a difference in the distribution of men and women within the first priority educations.

– The result shows that there is a difference between the programmes chosen by men and women. All first priorities that went to the midwifery and health administration coordinator programmes came from women (100%).

– At the other end of the spectrum, we have carpentry, IT technologist, car mechanic and electrician, which are primarily prioritised by men.

– In the middle, we have law and political science programmes. Here, the proportion of first priorities is almost equally divided between men and women (political science: 51% men and 49% women and law: 52% men and 48% women).

As a first step in identifying key factors in young people’s educational choices, young people have been asked to describe – in their own words – what is most important to them when choosing an educational programme.

The following words are those that women have in common with men:






Love what you do

while the following words are those mentioned only by women:

Future opportunities


job security

Job opportunities

There are no unique words that are specific to men.

– The figures illustrate that education should be felt interesting and exciting. You should have the opportunity to study something you like and you should have good opportunities after graduation, and this applies across genders.

– However, it appears from the open-ended responses that women top-of-mind have a greater focus on the future and job opportunities when choosing an education programme than men.

At the beginning of the survey, young people were asked to choose between 36 educations. Based on the young people’s subsequent open text responses, 15 of the educations have been categorised as either masculine or feminine.

– Seven of the educations are categorised as masculine.

These are:

– Carpentry

– Electrician

– Engineer

– Building constructor

– Car mechanic

– IT technologist

– Building painter

– Eight educations have been categorised as feminine.

 These are:

– Psychology

– Dentist

– Medicine

– Hairdresser

– Nurse

– Pedagogue

– Social and health care assistant

– Midwife

In order to uncover young people’s own reflections on education, respondents were asked who they most often discuss their choice of education with.

– The survey shows that parents are the people with whom most young people talk about their educational choices. Most young people talk to their mother (77 per cent), while slightly fewer talk to their father about their choice of education (61 per cent).

– The third most popular person to discuss educational choices with is a young person’s friends (58 per cent).

– In joint fourth place are siblings and the school’s educational counsellor, with whom just over one in four young people discuss their choice of education (27%).

– Four per cent of young people do not discuss educational choices with anyone.

Link to the source:

General website:

Article about the project:

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