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Special Issue: Girls' and women's participation in STEM: Past lessons and possible futures
Published: 26-06-2018

The Roles of Teachers, Classroom Experiences, and Finding Balance: A Qualitative Perspective on the Experiences and Expectations of Females Within STEM and Non-STEM Careers

California State University- Northridge
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Meeta Banerjee

Meeta Banerjee is an Assistant Professor at California State University, Northridge in the Psychology Department. She graduated in 2012 with her Ph.D. in Community Psychology from Michigan State University.
University of California, Los Angeles
WestEd
University of California, Irvine
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Jacquelynne S. Eccles

Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of California, Irvine
STEM gender United States career choices Eccles’ Expectancy-Value Theory long-term career aspirations

Abstract

In this article we explore the factors associated with women’s choices to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers. Two 20-year longitudinal studies that were conducted in the United States surveyed adolescents on their educational and career aspirations. Interviews were conducted with a special subset of women when they were in their mid-30s and 40s to understand their decisions to (1) aspire to STEM careers if they initially had non-STEM career aspirations, or (2) leave or not pursue a STEM career if they initially had STEM career aspirations. Findings from semi-structured interviews uncovered three themes that participants used in explaining their career decisions: (1) the importance of family and work/life balance; (2) the importance of teachers and classroom experiences; and (3) interest in, and perceived value of, STEM subjects. We discuss the implications of these findings in relation to initiatives to encourage more women to pursue and persist in STEM careers.

How to Cite

Banerjee, Meeta, Katerina Schenke, Arena Lam, and Jacquelynne S. Eccles. 2018. “The Roles of Teachers, Classroom Experiences, and Finding Balance: A Qualitative Perspective on the Experiences and Expectations of Females Within STEM and Non-STEM Careers”. International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology 10 (2):287-307. http://genderandset.open.ac.uk/index.php/genderandset/article/view/508.