The Psychology of Women

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2000

7 Pages, Grade: 1-2 (B+)


Table of contents

1. Women’s self-concept during adolescence
1.1 Physical Self-concept
1.2 Satisfaction with gender
1.3 Ethnic Identity
1.4 Competence and self-esteem

2. Interpersonal relationships during adolescence
2.1 Emotional aspects of relationships
2.2 Family
2.3 Female peers, male peers and heterosexual relationships, and lesbian relationships

3. Education and Career planning
3.1 Career Counselors
3.2 Higher education
3.3 The academic environment

4. Career Aspirations

5. References

1. Women’s self-concept during adolescence

Adolescent females are aware of major changes in the features and shapes of their bodies, and they also experience a major transition when they reach menarche. Furthermore they mostly enter into a different school system. When they enter junior high school there is no gender segregation like in elementary school and it is more impersonal. Thus, a major challenge for adolescents is, to establish a self-concept or sense of identity. Whereas the self-concept of a child focuses on concrete descriptions, the self-concept of an adolescent is likely more abstract self-portrait that focuses on personal and interpersonal characteristics (Harter, 1990). Components of this self-concept include physical self-concept, satisfaction with gender, ethnic identity, and competence and self-esteem.

1.1 Physical Self-concept

Attractiveness is more important for preschool girls than for preschool boys. The same emphasis on attractiveness for females continues throughout childhood and adolescence. Young women always receive the message that this is important for them. They should not be to fat, their skin must be clear, their hair has to be nice and long. Their self-concept is shaped by whether they are attractive. To look like a ‘model’ a lot of women begin to starve themselves, getting decease like anorexia nervosa, as well because of our culture’s emphasis on thinness. The focus on white models in media can create conflict for some women of color, but other women of color may be able to ignore those media images.

1.2 Satisfaction with gender

Lewin & Tragos (1987) did a study on ‘how do females feel about their gender?’. Here, females were significantly happier with their gender in the 1980’s than during the 1950’s. This could be an interesting point for further studies to find out the factors, why are women in the 80’s more satisfied.

1.3 Ethnic Identity

Girls have stronger ethnic identity than boys do. Unfortunately, no clear gender differences in ethnic identity emerge during adolescence.

1.4 Competence and self-esteem

Gender differences in self-esteem are inconsistent. Some studies report differences, but others do not. However, males and females who are high in masculinity are generally high in their self-esteem. In contrast, femininity is unrelated to self-esteem in adolescence. For many young women, the pressure to be pretty and popular my encourage them to hide their intelligence and competence. Girls who have frequent contact with boyfriends, or with friends in general, are likely to be lower in academic competence.

2. Interpersonal relationships during adolescence

First there is an exploration of the emotional aspects of relationships, then there are examined the four groups with whom adolescent females have important relationships: family, female peers, male peers, and lesbian relationships.

2.1 Emotional aspects of relationships

Adolescent women often emphasize their emotional reactions when they interact with others. They are more likely than adolescent men to report being self-conscious. Furthermore adolescent females are also more likely than adolescent males to say that they become very upset if someone gets angry with them, and that their feelings are hurt very easily. Moreover, females are more likely than males to say that they are nice to people they don’t like, thus they are more responsive to negative behaviors from others. Perhaps females are more concerned about the possibility that someone won’t like them, so they inspect others’ behavior for subtle negative signs. Males may fail to notice negative signs unless they are fairly obvious.


Excerpt out of 7 pages


The Psychology of Women
LMU Munich  (Educational Psychology)
1-2 (B+)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
469 KB
Psychology, Women
Quote paper
Petra Ursula Decker (Author), 2000, The Psychology of Women, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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