Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Gender inequality in the IT profession is an acute issue with major individual, societal, and national implications. In this study, we build on the individual differences theory of gender and IT and extend it to account for subconscious processes that may drive women away from IT university majors and IT career choices. We specifically theorize on how the asymmetric roles of explicit and implicit gender identity facets impact the major selection of men and women students and affect their decisions to pursue the IT profession. To do so, this study introduces the concept of implicit gender identity, defined as the degree to which men and women subconsciously, automatically, and uncontrollably associate themselves with the masculine and feminine gender groups, respectively. We obtained data from 185 pre-major selection university students by means of a survey and the Implicit Association Test. The findings revealed that implicit gender identity was a significant predictor of IT major and career choices for women but not for men university students. Explicit gender identity had no influence on IT major and career choices for men or women university students. Nevertheless, men’s and women’s IT major and career choices appear to be similarly influenced by normative pressures. IT skills and IT work experience also impact such choices. Ultimately, this study shows that implicit gender identity can be a factor that drives women university students away from the IT profession and contributes to the gender gap in the field.





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