Maaike van der Vleuten


Maaike van der Vleuten, PhD, works as a researcher at the Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI) at Stockholm University She is part of the GENPARENT project and she recently obtained a grant to study the concequences of parenthood in contemporary families from RiksbankensJubileumsfonds. She obtained her PhD at the department of Sociology at Utrecht University and continued as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Radboud University at the department of Sociology before moving to Sweden.


Why do girls opt out of math in school?

In school, girls in general outperform boys in math-related fields. But even when girls have a relatively higher ability in math, they more often choose other education trajectories. My study from puts a piece to the puzzle on why girls don’t seem to aim for the science and technology fields in their education and work careers.

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The role of ability for gender differences in educational choices

Absolute ability/achievement does not explain gender differences in educational tracks, but the role of comparative advantage (i.e., being better in one subject compared to another) might. I studied the influence of having a comparative advantage for educational track choices using longitudinal data collected among 1,352 individuals (age 15-16) in upper secondary education in the Netherlands. I found large gender differences in track choices. Compared to girls, boys are on average 15% more likely to enter the most male-typical track (with a focus on science) and 16% less likely to enter the most female-typical track (with a focus on languages). I additionally found that having a comparative advantage in one field over another is important for which track adolescents choose, but it does not explain why boys and girls choose different track choices at such a young age.

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Same-Sex Couples’ Division of Labor from a Cross-National Perspective

This paper studies how male and female same-sex couples across countries organize their paid and household labor. Using unique data compiled from multiple national surveys in 7 western countries (N = 723), we examined same-sex couples’ paid and household task allocation and evaluate descriptively how this is associated with countries’ gender egalitarianism. For paid labor, results indicate that female same-sex couples spend less time in total on paid employment than male same-sex couples, but both male and female same-sex couples divide their hours of paid employment equally. For household labor, we find that female couples divide their household tasks more equally than male couples. Moreover, more gender egalitarian countries appear to be correlated to increasing differences between male and female same-sex couples’ total time spent on the labor market and to decreasing differences in how equal they divide their household labor. These findings suggest that larger, society-wide, gender regimes might be an important avenue for future research when studying same-sex couples paid and unpaid labor.

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Do girls steer clear of a scientific career?

Based on their abilities, more girls could choose careers in science. But they don't, even though failing to do so means missing out on lucrative and prestigious careers with a high level of job security. So why do these talented girls still not go for those study programmes and what can we do about it?

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