Économie et Statistique n° 398-399 - Women and Men: Differences and Inequalities
Parental Involvement in Children's education: Intentions and Practices
In 1992 parents preferred their sons to complete technical or scientific studies, and envisaged that their daughters would achieve an overall higher level of education than their sons. This remained the same at the beginning of the 2003-2004 academic year. Yet, if we focus on the aspiration of achieving a scientific baccalaureate, as this is the most beneficial general secondary education level in the labour market, then parents are more optimistic about the future of their sons. The link between parents' educational aspirations for their children and their children's actual educational success differs for sons and daughters: at a given level of education, daughters performing well at school are less encouraged towards scientific studies . Furthermore, the number of siblings has an important influence on the preferred course of study for daughters; this is never the case for sons. Finally, highly educated parents have similar educational aspirations for their sons and daughters. These different educational aspirations for daughters and for sons are not noticeable at first glance in the behaviour of parents in terms of their monitoring of and involvement in their children's schooling. On average, parents help their daughters as much as their sons with their l homework. However, it appears that beyond the supervision of homework, once taken into account the active control of school work or parental involvement in selecting options and educational direction, parents tend to invest less time in their daughters' schooling than in that of their sons. Yet, when parents have more time available, their involvement in their children' schooling spread more evenly between their daughters and sons. In the end, it seems that the difference, rather than a pattern of education differentiating between girls and boys is more a result of parents devoting more time to their sons and relying on the self-sufficiency of their daughters.