Gendered subject choice

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Information about Gendered subject choice

Published on March 7, 2014

Author: lucylee79



National Curriculum • Introduction of National Curriculum 1988 • Reduced freedom to choose or drop subjects with most being compulsory until 16 • Where choice is possible, such as GCSE options there are clear gendered differences.

Stables and Wikeley 1996 o Where there is choice in the National curriculum girls and boys make different choices o Technology is compulsory but: o Girls more likely to choose Food Technology o Boys more like to choose Graphics and Resistant materials

A levels • Gendered choices become more obvious in post- compulsory education. • Boys are more likely to opt for maths and physics • Girls are more likely to opt for Sociology and English • This continues into subject choices at university

Vocational Courses • A vocational course is one that is directed at a particular occupation and its skills • Gendered differences are even more pronounced in vocational education • Only 1 in 100 construction apprentices is a girl

Primary Socialisation • Gender role socialisation • Ann Oakley (1973)- gender is the learned cultural differences between males and females. • Primary socialisation shapes gender identity

Primary Socialisation • Fiona Norman (1988) – Girls and boys are dressed differently, given different toys, encouraged to take part in different activities. • Boys are rewarded for being active • Girls are rewarded for being passive

Schools • Schools are also important in gender socialisation • Eileen Byrne (1979) • teachers encourage boys to be tough and to show initiative. • Girls are expected to be quiet and helpful and not rough or noisy

Schools • Boys and girls develop different tastes in reading • Murphy and Elwood (1998)- these tastes inform subject choices • Boys prefer hobby books and information texts = Science • Girls prefer books about people = English based subjects

Gender Domains • Children’s beliefs about ‘gender domains’ are shaped by their early experiences and expectations of adults (Browne and Ross, 1991) • They see some tasks as part of male or female ‘territory’ and so are relevant to themselves or not

Gender Domains Mr Smith and his son are driving in a car, they get into a terrible accident. Mr Smith dies and his son is rushed to the hospital. The surgeon arrives and says "I can't operate on him because he is my SON!" How is this possible?

On your whiteboard • Draw • A mechanic • A nurse • Or a scientist

Gender Domains • Children are more confident in tasks they see as part of their own domain • When set a mathematical task • Girls are more confident if it is presented as a problem about food and nutrition • Boys are more confident if it presented as a problem about cars

Mathematical problems • Girl’s problem • Boys problem • A cake is 400 calories • A new car costs what percentage of your daily allowance is this ? (Daily allowance 2,000 calories) £2,000, what percentage of the cost is the metallic paint (metallic paint costs £400)

Gender Domains • Patricia Murphy (1991) • Boys and girls interpret tasks differently

Design a Boat

Patricia Murphy (1991) • Girls and boys pay attention to different details • Even when tackling the same task • Boys focus more on how things work • Girls focus more on people

Women know your limits!

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