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January 3, 2015 / C H Thompson

Sue Sharpe

In 1975 The Sex Discrimination Act made it illegal to discriminate for employers to discriminate an the basis of gender. Such an act would not have had an immediate effect on girls at school but it could help explain the differences between Sue Sharpe’s findings in 1976 and those of 1994.

Interviews conducted by Sue Sharp show how girls’ attitudes to education and priorities in work and marriage changed.

In ‘Just Like A Girl‘, 1976, they were ‘love, marriage, husbands and career, more or less in that order. However by 1996 they’d switched to ‘job, career and being able to support themselves’ making girls:

  • more confident
  • more assertive
  • more ambitious
  • more committed to gender equality

Sharpe found the girls’ saw education as being the main route to a career, financial independence and the subsequent security that came with it.

It’s worth noting similar findings regarding girls’ aspirations were found by research conducted by the GirlGuides movement in 2012.



Leave a Comment
  1. regsicario / Mar 4 2016 8:33 pm

    Hi, I’m doing an essay / discussion to evaluate why girls are now outperforming boys in the UK education system? I understand all the external factors and statistics. Can you or anyone else please help me to think of some good internal factors?

    • C H Thompson / Mar 7 2016 8:51 am

      How about:
      girls benefitted from introduction of coursework in GCSEs/A-Levels
      national curriculum made more subjects compulsory
      teachers less likely to gender stereotype girls into set roles or careers
      Stobart (1992) found a direct relationship between the relative improvement of girls’ achievement and the weighting and type of coursework required in different subjects
      Perceptions of girls’ perceived advantage in coursework is high amongst teachers. Bishop (1996) research found over half (53%) of teachers felt that that there was a difference between boys’ and girls’ ability to do coursework

      How’s that? 🙂

      • regsicario / Mar 9 2016 4:14 am

        That’s pretty informative. Thank you. I’m definitely including the introduction of coursework. , My tutor also advised me to include this .. however he stuck to discussing more mainstream sociologists. I’ll take a good look at the work of Stobart and Bishop. I appreciate you sharing this with me 🙂

      • C H Thompson / Mar 31 2016 7:53 pm

        My pleasure 🙂

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