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Investigate the effects of girls changing priorities on their educational achievement, from wanting a marriage and children to a career and independence.

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Introduction

Sociology Coursework AS

Hypothesis

Using a liberal feminist perspective, I am going to investigate the effects of girls changing priorities on their educational achievement, from wanting a marriage and children to a career and independence.

Employing the work of Sharpe and Wilkinson, I will test the hypothesis: ‘the improved educational performance of girls has been greatly influenced by higher career aspirations.’ This area of research interests me because I know females whose aspirations have changed over time, and I am interested as to what caused this change.

I will be looking at females aged 10, 20 and 30 years old that live in Manchester.

Words: 100

Concepts and context

Gender can be defined as whether someone is socialised as masculine and feminine. It refers to the way society teaches the two sexes to function, behave, dress and think, through socialisation. One way to explain the increase in girl’s educational achievement is that their socialisation is changing and leading to higher career aspirations.

Career aspirations can be defined as having a strong desire to dedicate your life to a particular job or profession. Nowadays, girls want careers and are willing to postpone or sacrifice a marriage for this, as apposed to girls in the 1970’s, who out love etc first. Sharpe’s 1971 study showed this.

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Middle

Sharpe’s 1970 study showed that girl’s priorities were love first, then marriage, then children and lastly a job/career. When she repeated the study in the 1990’s, she found that there had been a complete reversal in these priorities. Sharpe believes that girls are prioritising careers over marriage and families due to the change in characteristics displayed by female role models. These influenced girl’s career aspirations and encouraged them to achieve in education.

Words: 416

Main methods and Reasons

My main research method is a structured questionnaire. I will use a positivist approach as liberal feminism is a positivist view. They believe that society can be studied scientifically because people are passive and predictable. Structured questionnaires are seen as more scientific because they are standardised and offer reliable, variable and objective results.

Structured questionnaires give qualitative data which enables me to asses how high my sample’s aspirations are on a scale of 0-100. I will then compare these with the results of other age groups. This will then allow me to see if there has been a change in aspirations throughout the generations.

My choice of questionnaire

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Conclusion

When asking members of the public about their career aspirations, they may feel too embarrassed to let me know, especially if they have low ambition. Meaning those that participate may just be the people with high career aspirations. I will consequently be less able to compare the differently aged females’ aspirations and thus I will be less able to test my hypothesis ‘the improved educational performance of girls has been greatly influenced by higher career aspirations’.

Considering the participants are chosen by myself, I am more likely to approach people that I feel would participate. The women I wish to approach may look friendlier or smarter which means my participants may be an unrepresentative sample as the smartly dressed people may have higher aspirations. I may find that younger women are resistant in sharing information, especially as there is less chance of them having high career aspirations and they may feel less confident about talking to a stranger. Decisively, my sample may be unrepresentative, as there will be a lesser amount of young respondents compared to older ones.

Word: 369

Asher Garside

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