Details of talk
|Title||From school to career: A snapshot of supports and obstacles|
|Presenter||Gilah Leder (Monash University)|
|Author(s)||Gilah Leder, Helen Forgasz and Simone Zmood|
|Session||Gender Equity and Diversity in Mathematics|
Drawing on data from a larger study on schooling, careers, and STEM, we focus on students who attended a co-educational school in Australia. To achieve a national sample efficiently and within a limited budget, we relied primarily on Facebook for recruitment. Financial and time constraints dictated the length of the data gathering period. The sample of interest for this presentation comprised 164 females and 58 males, aged 18 years and over. The majority of those who completed their schooling in 2009 or earlier were in paid employment when they completed the survey: 86% of the males and 83% of the females. As anticipated from the content of the Facebook “advertisement”, many participants indicated that they had completed an advanced or intermediate mathematics course: 43.7% and 43.2% respectively had done so. Other subjects with a substantial participation rate by this group were chemistry (48.6%), physics (39.6%), and biology (34.7%). These participation rates are high compared, for example, to the participation rates in comparable VCE [Victoria Certificate of Education] STEM subjects. In our sample – as in state and national cohorts – more males than females completed intermediate mathematics, physics, and chemistry; proportionately more females than males completed biology and elementary mathematics. However, the gender difference in participation in advanced mathematics consistently reported in state and national data was not replicated in our sample: the proportion of males (44.8%) and females (43.3%) enrolled in advanced mathematics was very similar. In the remainder of the session we present quantitative and qualitative data on the factors which influenced the males and females in their choice of initial careers, on the factors cited as supports or barriers for their chosen career path(s), and on elements which determined a change in career. We focus on personal and environmental issues, and examine whether perceptions of barriers have changed over time. Differences in the factors nominated by these STEM-oriented females and males as career path obstacles are identified and highlighted.