Research in Science Education

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 55–64 | Cite as

Gender differences when choosing school subjects: Parental push and career pull. Some tentative hypotheses

  • Chris Dawson
  • Pam O'Connor


The literature has made us all aware of large gender differences in students' atttudes to science, in enrolment statistics in upper high school and tertiary level science courses, and in different spheres of employment. What have not been looked at in detail are the factors which are influential when students begin to make choices in early high school, choices which may well set them on a particular pathway from which it is difficult to turn.

This preliminary study identifies factors which students in a Year 9 class believed were influential on the limited subject choices they had been able to make in Years 8 and 9, and the factors they believed would be most influential on choices to be made later in the school. In addition the students' views of science, of the separate sciences, and of their anticipated career patterns were sought.

Several interesting findings were made which, if validated in further work, could lead to strategies which would support other approaches designed to reduce gender imbalances related to science.


High School Gender Difference Tertiary Level School Subject Enrolment Statistic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Australasian Science Research Association 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Dawson
    • 1
  • Pam O'Connor
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of AdelaideAdelaide

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