An investigation of gender and generational differences in attitudes toward the importance of a college degree in the UAE

Laura L. Matherly (College of Business, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan (Research Associate, Institute for Social and Economic Research, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates and CEO-Alliances for Global Sustainability, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
Nadia Amin (College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Publication date: 7 November 2017

Abstract

Purpose

This study examines attitudes toward higher education for men and women among male and female students and parents in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and demonstrates gender differences in parent and student expectations about the importance of higher education.

Design/methodology/approach

This quantitative study examines attitudes toward higher education among 461 matched students and parents (total sample size 1442 respondents) in six higher education institutions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and demonstrates gender differences between parent and student perceptions.

Findings

In general, attitudes about the importance of a college degree were high and stable, except that younger, more recent female graduates were more likely to disagree that family traditions were threatened by women completing a college degree. Socio-demographic variables were associated with more favorable attitudes about the value of education for global leadership, the importance of a college education for both men and women and gender equality.

Research limitations/implications

Six higher education institutions were represented in the sample so external validity can be improved by studying these variables in other sample groups across the nation, region and globe. In addition, including additional types of universities, e.g. distance learning, technical, research and military, would indicate if the findings are generalizable to a broader range of institutions of higher education. There are opportunities for future comparative studies to examine the relevance of these findings across cultures and government initiatives to build national human resource capital and to consider other aspects of intergenerational relationships, attitudes and behaviors.

Originality/value

The authors examine perceived implications of the value of higher education on different arenas of men and women’s lives among the Emirates. Additionally, we focus on whether their attitudes vary by gender and generation.

Keywords

Citation

Matherly, L., Al Nahyan, S. and Amin, N. (2017), "An investigation of gender and generational differences in attitudes toward the importance of a college degree in the UAE", Gender in Management, Vol. 32 No. 8, pp. 535-553. https://doi.org/10.1108/GM-01-2017-0015

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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