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Title: An exploration of the perceptions of future 'eminence' among high-achieving secondary schoolgirls, through 'possible selves' narratives
Author: Jackets, Kristina
ISNI:       0000 0004 5914 6143
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2015
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In the UK, girls perform highly at secondary school; they have been the success story of education in recent times. However, they also make up only 17% of ‘top jobs’ in the FTSE 100 in the UK (Martinson, 2012); are completely outnumbered in Westminster (22% of UK MPs) and constitute only 13.6% of senior judiciary positions in Law (Fawcett Society, 2013). There remains a considerable mismatch between girls’ academic success and subsequent levels of career achievement. This research project explores the perceptions of future eminence held by high-achieving secondary schoolgirls. A ‘possible selves’ story-writing methodology was used: 10 Year 10 (age 14 and 15) participants were asked to imagine themselves and write about a day in their possible future as an eminent woman in their chosen field. This data was analysed using ‘multiple textual analytic frames’ (Wickens, 2011), which involved a constant comparative analysis (Glaser and Strauss, 1967); textual discursive analysis (Fairclough, 2003) and literary analysis (Vandergrift, 1990). This study concludes that high-achieving secondary schoolgirls hold ambivalent perceptions of future eminence. They foresee a range of the difficulties and strains detailed by the real experiences of the women in the ‘Opt-Out’ literature e.g. long working hours, exhaustion. They also foresee the potential for exciting careers and creativity. And where they do foresee future challenges in an eminent career, they do not position these as ‘external’ barriers e.g. they do not see gender as a barrier, nor do they imagine limiting social structures or workplace inequalities. For the participants in this study, barriers to future eminence have been internalised, echoing the conclusions of Ringrose (2007), Pomerantz and Raby (2011), Beck (2001) and Bauman (2008) regarding the neo-liberal transformation of the ‘social’ into the ‘individual.’
Supervisor: Shaughnessy, Julie ; Healy, Mary ; Mahony, Pat Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available