The influence of gender on STEM career choice: A partial least squares analysis

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Tiny Chiu Yuen Tey
Priscilla Moses
Phaik Kin Cheah


Students’ participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is still one of the most critical worldwide educational challenges despite efforts to promote STEM. Debates about gender disparities in STEM careers also remain perpetual. Early documented literature suggested shifts in students’ STEM choices were due to students’ significant others, media exposure and attitude. Therefore, the first aim of this paper was to examine the direct and indirect relationships in a proposed model, and analyze the mediating roles of media exposure and students’ attitude in the relationship between subjective norms and STEM career choice intention. The second aim was to analyze the moderating role of students’ gender. Respondents of this study were 806 secondary school students in Malaysia. Based on the results from partial least squares structural equation modeling, (i) subjective norms had both direct and indirect influence on students’ career choice intention in STEM, (ii) media exposure and students’ attitude were significant mediators between subjective norms and career choice intention in STEM, and (iii) gender moderated the influence of subjective norms on media exposure. The findings drawn from this study provide insights into the design and development of STEM initiatives for parents, teachers, and peers by considering the importance of the media, students’ attitude, and gender. Recommendations for policy and practice enhancements were suggested for future research directions to support STEM interventions in Malaysia.


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Tey, T. C. Y., Moses, P., & Cheah, P. K. (2024). The influence of gender on STEM career choice: A partial least squares analysis. Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 19, 025.