Gender-related differences in speciality choices in Russia




gender, higher education, university specialties, Unified State Exam


Based on the full-time enrollment data in the Russian universities in 2011-2016, the paper provides an analysis of gender-related preferences among the applicants. Specialties where the share of the representatives of the same gender exceeded two-thirds on a regular basis are marked as “male” or “female”. Those specialties where there is relative parity of men and women are referred to as “neutral”. Almost all the male specialties are related to engineering; simultaneously, engineering sciences are not presented in the “neutral” and “female” groups. An analysis of the Unified State Exam average score used by applicants to apply for the target program reveals that the results presented by female applicants are higher even if the program is “male”. However, women having more choice opportunities this way do not use them to the full extent: only few male-dominated programs show a steady growth in the share of women. In such a situation, where the number of men enrolled in engineering programs significantly exceeds the number of women is typical not only for Russia but also for many EU countries. A series of studies points to the influence of popular gender stereotypes on the career choices of men and women as a major reason behind this phenomenon.