ERIC Number: ED430805
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Apr
Future Images and Women's Career Decisions in Science.
Packard, Becky Wai-Ling; Wong, E. David
This report presents a working model of how future images influence women's career decisions in science. Based on interviews with college women (n=18) who invested at least two years in college science, the nature and source of women's conflicting future images, or clash of future selves, when considering science careers is described. Women identified three kinds of clashes: (1) type of person; (2) lifestyle choices; and (3) purpose of science work. The source of these clashes was the discord between the images projected by people in the field and students' desired future images. Students questioned whether they were in the right field because they were unable to identify images that were consonant with their desired future images. Specifically, the students' positive image of being "collaborative" clashed with the field's negative projected image of being "competitive", the positive image of "combining family and career" clashed with the negative projected image of "being childless and unbalanced", the positive image of scientific work as "contributing to society" clashed with the negative projected image of scientific work as done "for the money or sake of science". In order to help them work through these conflicts, the students turned to others for mentoring. As a consequence, some students pursued other fields while others shifted to different careers within the field, and a few took steps to redefine the field through creative uses of mentoring. Implications for further research on future images and mentoring are discussed. Contains 16 references. (Author/WRM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Montreal, Canada, April 19-23, 1999).