College women’s perceptions of role in the workforce and the wage gap.


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The purpose of this study is to look into the career choices women make that lead to the wage gap by exploring how traditionally college-aged women make sense of their role in the workforce, how identity influences opinions of the wage gap, and how mutedness impacts the wage gap. Data was collected through interviews with women 18-24 years old enrolled in four-year universities or graduate schools in the southern region of the U.S. Using sensemaking theory as an ontological lens, this study qualitatively investigated the gender- and career-related messages these women received, their perceptions of their role in the workforce, and their opinions about the wage gap. This study extends literature on organizational socialization and career choice by exploring the intersections of socialization, mutedness, and the wage gap. This study also provides insight on how to lessen the gap and provides additional insight into the intergenerational reproduction of role identity.



Occupational identity. Wage gap. Socialization. Gender. Muted group theory. Career choice.