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A praised minority : attracting male students into 'female' tracks of higher education in France

Abstract : Much research has been carried out on the differences between study choices of girls and boys at different steps of their schooling, showing how influential gender norms are. On the contrary, few studies have examined “atypical” choices, particularly among boys. Yet, such choices may be a strategic point for observing gender norms, in particular the ones conveyed by educational institutions. In my ongoing qualitative research project, I intend to develop this field of study. Drawing on tools from sociology of education, sociology of professions and gender studies, I analyze the atypical paths of male students in the French higher education system. How is the male minority perceived and defined by all the different actors involved in the choice and experience of studying in “female” tracks? In this presentation, I will focus on one specific kind of actors: the people in charge of the “female” tracks, in other words the providers of higher education. How do they take the gender of prospective students into account in their recruitment? I will argue that these actors wish to attract more male students, particularly because they consider that these ones are able to enhance the prestige and worth of the institution. Consequently, through their use of different devices (leaflets, open door events, selection committees, etc.), these providers develop various – more or less – subtle strategies to influence the access rates of male students into the tracks. To develop this argument, I will use interviews (male and female students, teaching and administrative staff members) and observations (classes, selection committees, open doors events, teacher meetings, etc.) conducted in two “female” tracks of the French higher education system: midwifery and social work.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, April 5, 2022 - 5:00:06 PM
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Alice Olivier. A praised minority : attracting male students into 'female' tracks of higher education in France. Journée d’étude « Gender and migration in different tracks of higher education », Oct 2014, Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET), Zollikofen, Switzerland. ⟨hal-03631510⟩



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