Gender and motivation

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Gender differences in education (and subsequently the workforce) have continued to occupy the interests of educators, researchers and policymakers since the pioneering work of feminist writers. In The Feminine Mystique (1963), Betty Friedan, who is often credited with launching the feminist movement, referred to the widespread dissatisfaction of American women in the 1950s and 1960s as “the problem that has no name.” She argued that women (like men) need meaningful work that uses their mental capacities to achieve life satisfaction and that education was the pathway to avoid becoming trapped in the feminine mystique-the idea that women were naturally fulfilled by the roles of housewives and mothers. At that time, Eleanor Maccoby coauthored The Development of Sex Differences (Maccoby, 1966) and her famous The Psychology of Sex Differences with Carol Jacklin (Maccoby & Jacklin, 1974), which emphasized biological explanations in interpreting the more than 1,600 studies of sex differences they reviewed. However, with the introduction of new language, including “sexism” created by feminist writers in the 1970s, researchers became increasingly interested in explanations beyond biology, such as gender discrimination, gender socialization, and gender identity. Prominent Australian feminist scholar and teacher Dale Spender published Invisible Women: The Schooling Scandal (1982), Spender and Sarah published Learning to Lose: Sexism and Education (1980), and Lucy Sells identified mathematics-frequently stereotyped as a masculine domain-as the “critical filter” that limited girls’ and women’s access to many highstatus, high-income careers (1980).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Motivation at School
EditorsKathryn R Wentzel, David B Miele
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781317681250
ISBN (Print)9781138776203, 9781138776166
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameEducational Psychology Handbook Series

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