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Women, motherhood and return to study experiences.

Smith, Susan Carolyn.; (1994) Women, motherhood and return to study experiences. Doctoral thesis , Institute of Education, University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

At a time when women are being encouraged to return to education because of changing demographic trends, this study explores the experiences of a group of women who are students on a variety of courses in further and adult education. Much research has already been conducted on women students in higher education and the 'problems' they encounter in taking on the student role, much less is known about the not so prestigious post sixteen sector. The study is grounded in a feminist perspective and utilises a qualitative methodology. A series of in-depth interviews were conducted during one academic year and adopted a life history format. The women were given the opportunity to tell their own stories in their own way and the importance of utilising this approach in reaching the 'private' accounts is highlighted. The first five chapters of the thesis are therefore concerned with presenting the background to the study; locating it within the literature; identifying the characteristics of a feminist perspective and the utilisation of in-depth interviews as the method of research. The following three chapters are concerned with a presentation of the data and emphasise the crucial importance of women's lives in the private sphere in the shaping of the return to study experience. Many of the problems they experience when they take on the student role are associated with fitting it in with the wife and mother roles. In addition a number of the women were studying at an institution which gave very little recognition to the needs of mature students. Two chapters are concerned with identifying the key aspects of the women's experiences and deconstruct the concepts of 'support' and 'fitting in' derived from the data. Based upon this, the ways in which the women negotiated the intersection between the public and private spheres is explored. In accordance with the underlying assumption of the thesis, that it should not just describe but prescribe action in the promotion of 'equal opportunities', the implications for policy and practice in women's education are outlined.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Women, motherhood and return to study experiences.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Women's education,Family relations,Housewives,Feminism,Women's employment,Further education,Adult education
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10021522
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