You shall not pass: how gendered marketing influences education degree choice
Gender segregation in the teaching profession is a global issue, which contributes to inequality, and success in closing this gender gap varies widely even between comparable societies. This project argues that one answer to why teaching is so segregated lies in its induction phase, the pursuit of a university degree. Understanding that universities act as gatekeeping institutions, this project investigates how university marketing portrays the teaching profession and how this affects gender equity in education degrees. This exploratory study involves a discourse/content analysis of university marketing material for teaching degrees in Sweden and Australia, focusing on how these materials could either reinforce or challenge existing gender norms. This project also involves two sets of interviews. One set is with prospective education students to understand how marketing materials could influence gender recruitment into the profession as well as how much gender factors into student decision-making. The other is with university marketing personnel to understand how much gender factors into marketing strategies. This study has found that Australian and Swedish materials have different foci, with the former conforming to traditional gendered ideas while the latter is more gender-neutral. Australians also reacted more frequently to gendered elements while the Swedish cohort noticed other aspects of the materials. Additionally, Australian respondents were far more aware of the part that gender plays in their own decision-making while the Swedish cohort almost universally reported that it did not matter. The investigator hopes that this project will be used to highlight how biases in university marketing can perpetuate gender segregation through its outdated portrayal of teaching. The thesis also aims to provide a potential course of action for universities to use to encourage more gender diversity in the profession and to outline a missed opportunity in using social marketing to this effect.