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An invisible fork in the road: The autoethnography of a female social scientist

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
  • Mary L McDowell Lefaiver
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/05/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Studies in Technology Enhanced Learning
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date30/05/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Research has shown that girls' confidence and ability perception are critical to their beliefs, attitudes, and interests concerning the pursuit of mathematics and science. In historically male-dominated fields, females often have a tenuous relationship with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) disciplines. This autoethnographic study explores one girl's trajectory away from a keen interest in mathematics and science in favour of social sciences. Four central themes were identified as critical to females' interest, pursuit, and advancement into STEM careers, including gender-based socialisation; confidence, ability, and achievement; classroom environment and school curriculum; and family 'curriculum making'. The findings that impacted the divergence from STEM are revealed through interviews with the author's parents and expressed through a reflexive narrative. The findings in this paper suggest several actions that families and schools might take to support the STEM aspirations of young female students.