A Quantitative Review of Gender Differences in Vocational Interests in Iceland: Pervasive and Persistent

Sif Einarsdóttir, James Rounds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Iceland ranks highly on international indices of gender equality, but the labor market is among the most gender segregated in the world. Gender differences in vocational interests play an important role in explaining these disparities, as interests are highly related to career and educational choices. In this quantitative review, we examine gender differences in both Holland’s RIASEC categories and basic interest scales using data from 10 studies in Iceland. The studies contained populations ranging in age from 13–60 years (N = 9494). Both imported (SII, SDS) and indigenous (Bendill) interest inventories were used to measure interests. First, we found that that the RIASEC scales in the inventories conform to Holland’s structural model both for women and men, except in the youngest age group. Second, and most importantly, the results show the same pattern and extent of mean gender differences that have emerged in other countries. The largest gender differences are in Social interests, which favor women, and Realistic interests, which favor men. Women are also higher on Artistic interests, and men are higher on Investigative and Enterprising interests. These gender differences reflect the gender segregated labor market and educational choices. We discuss the possible influence of sex-role socialization, gender identity, and gender essentialist ideologies on the development of interests and career choices in Iceland.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-26
JournalNordic Journal of Transitions, Careers and Guidance
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'A Quantitative Review of Gender Differences in Vocational Interests in Iceland: Pervasive and Persistent'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this