Competencies and Educational Choices Across Gender and Immigrant Background in Germany

Research question/goal: 

The aim of the project was the examination of ethnic-specific gender differences within the German education and training system. To that end, different points of time during the educational career have been analysed and typical pathways have been portrayed in order to identify why and where differences emerge, decrease or reinforce each other. For the empirical analyses, data from the National Educational Panel Study, the project „Young Immigrants in the German and Israeli Educational Systems” as well as official school statistics of the federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia have been used.

We are able to show that Turkish parents do not (substantially) disadvantage their daughters at the transition to the secondary educational level. A slight tendency towards disadvantage can be detected, but this is rather minuscule. Moreover, possible advantages for boys at the transition are reversed into a disadvantage during the secondary level: from the seventh grade on, at the latest, girls are better positioned within the educational system than boys. The latter seems to be also true for other immigrant groups which are known for their rather traditional gender roles, as for example those from the Middle East or North Africa.

Further analyses reveal that mathematical skills of students with Turkish origin are low, but their self-evaluations are quite positive. This is true especially for young women of Turkish origin. Such an over-optimistic self-evaluation does not only take place with regard to mathematical skills. With regard to school, students of Turkish origin show in general a surprisingly positive self-evaluation which does not correspond with their actual performance.

Regarding the occupational aspirations of young women of Turkish origin our results show that although these women rarely wish to work in typically female professions, they often do end up in such occupations – and they anticipate this already at the end of the secondary level. Therefore it might be expected that young women of Turkish origin are diverted into typically female professions during their transition into the labour market.

Overall, important new results were gained within the project with regard to the timing, the areas and the extent of ethnic- and gender-specific differences during the educational career.

Fact sheet

2011 to 2015
Data Sources: 
Geographic Space: