Year 3 student career choices : Exploring societal changes in constructions of masculinity and femininity in career choice justifications

Journal article


Scholes, Laura and McDonald, Sarah. (2021). Year 3 student career choices : Exploring societal changes in constructions of masculinity and femininity in career choice justifications. British Educational Research Journal. pp. 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3767
AuthorsScholes, Laura and McDonald, Sarah
Abstract

This article reports on a survey of 332 Year 3 students from 14 Australian schools. We are interested in exploring Year 3 primary school student aspirations and what this data shows us about any societal changes, or not. This study is timely as it reports on contemporary data within an Australian educational context marked by significant investment in improving equitable gendered participation, particularly for girls entering STEM. Drawing on conceptions of masculinities and femininities as social constructions, we report on the participants’ desired occupations and explore their justifications for such choices. The top three occupations for boys included careers in professional sports, STEM-related jobs and policing/defence. Girls reported wanting to be teachers, veterinarians or to work in the arts as their top choices. As part of our exploration, we found issues of money and power—traditionally coded masculine—and conceptions of love and care—traditionally coded feminine—ingrained in boys’ and girls’ justifications for their desired trajectories. Findings are significant for illustrating how traditional constructions of gender are ingrained in career choices in the early years of primary school and how policy agendas to widen participation need to start early in life.

Keywordscareer expectations; communities of practice; gender constructions; schooling; stereotypes
Year2021
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
British Educational Research Journal
Journal citationpp. 1-19
PublisherWiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
ISSN0141-1926
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3767
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85116900337&
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range1-19
FunderAustralian Research Council
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusIn press
Publication dates
Online12 Oct 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted30 Sep 2021
Deposited22 Dec 2021
ARC Funded ResearchThis output has been funded, wholly or partially, under the Australian Research Council Act 2001
Grant IDARC/DE170100990
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