Work experience reduces a gender-based gap in time on tasks with supervisors in co-operative education

Publication Name

International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning


Using a cross-sectional survey of co-operative education students, this study explored relationships between students’ gender, work experience, time spent on tasks with supervisors, and self-reported learning. Inexperienced men spent 50% more time on tasks with supervisors than inexperienced women. Work experience (completing at least one co-operative education work term) significantly reduced this gender-based gap. Further, time on tasks with supervisors was positively associated with self-reported learning among women, especially inexperienced women, but not for men. The findings are interpreted using the literature on gender roles at work and students’ experiential learning outcomes. Early career women may be socialized into gender roles that limit access to supervisors’ time. Work experience may help such women develop human capital such as confidence and social skills that closes gender-based gaps in learning opportunities.

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