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ERIC Number: EJ996299
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 77
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1468-1366
"Not Girly, Not Sexy, Not Glamorous": Primary School Girls' and Parents' Constructions of Science Aspirations
Archer, Louise; DeWitt, Jennifer; Osborne, Jonathan; Dillon, Justin; Willis, Beatrice; Wong, Billy
Pedagogy, Culture and Society, v21 n1 p171-194 2013
Internationally, there is widespread concern about the need to increase participation in the sciences (particularly the physical sciences), especially among girls/women. This paper draws on data from a five-year, longitudinal study of 10-14-year-old children's science aspirations and career choice to explore the reasons why, even from a young age, many girls may see science aspirations as "not for me". We discuss data from phase one--a survey of over 9000 primary school children (aged 10/11) and interviews with 92 children and 78 parents, focusing in particular on those girls who did not hold science aspirations. Using a feminist poststructuralist analytic lens, we argue that science aspirations are largely "unthinkable" for these girls because they do not fit with either their constructions of desirable/intelligible femininity nor with their sense of themselves as learners/students. We argue that an underpinning construction of science careers as "clever"/"brainy", "not nurturing" and "geeky" sits in opposition to the girls' self-identifications as "normal", "girly", "caring" and "active". Moreover, we suggest that this lack of fit is exacerbated by social inequalities, which render science aspirations potentially less thinkable for working-class girls in particular. The paper concludes with a discussion of potential implications for increasing women's greater participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). (Contains 2 tables and 6 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom