The United States has made a significant effort and investment in STEM education, yet the size and the composition of the STEM workforce continues to fail to meet demand. It is thus important to understand the barriers and factors that influence individual educational and career choices. In this article, we conduct a literature review of the current knowledge surrounding individual and gender differences in STEM educational and career choices, using expectancy–value theory as a guiding framework. The overarching goal of this paper is to provide both a well-defined theoretical framework and complementary empirical evidence for linking specific sociocultural, contextual, biological, and psychological factors to individual and gender differences in STEM interests and choices. Knowledge gained through this review will eventually guide future research and interventions designed to enhance individual motivation and capacity to pursue STEM careers, particularly for females who are interested in STEM but may be constrained by misinformation or stereotypes.
Wang, M. T., & Degol, J. (2013). Motivational pathways to STEM career choices: Using expectancy-value perspective to understand individual and gender differences in STEM fields. Developmental Review, 33, 304-340.