Asian and African Caribbean women and experiences of higher education: motivations and choices

Bhopal, Kalwant and Takhar, Shaminder (2010) Asian and African Caribbean women and experiences of higher education: motivations and choices. In, British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2010 - Inequalities & Social Justice, Glasgow, Scotland, 07 - 09 Apr 2010.


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This paper will present the findings of two research projects examining the experiences and aspirations of black and minority ethnic women in higher education. The first research project focussed on the experiences of South Asian women and the second on Black Caribbean women’s experiences and aspirations. Both projects were based on twenty case study interviews with women studying at ‘new’ (post 1992) universities in the South East of England. The paper highlights women’s motivations for attending university and the decisions they make when attending university, such as choice of course and choice of university.

We found that the ‘localism’ and ‘critical mass’ of students from minority ethnic backgrounds affected the decisions women made. The desire to study and work has been well researched over the last two decades or so (Taylor, 1991; Modood and Shiner, 2002). It has been continuously pointed out that students’ experiences of higher education institutions and employment differed (Mirza, 2009). BAME students were less likely to secure employment after graduation and if they did, they had lower salaries.

The findings also show that there is a strong desire to study for higher education qualifications, to find suitable employment and to develop their careers. In the face of structural inequalities the women in both projects have been able to achieve their objectives with reference to education and now they aspire towards achieving similar objectives in the labour market. In this context, the narratives of these women were used to explore their subjective experiences of being at university.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Related URLs:
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Education > Social Justice and Inclusive Education
ePrint ID: 160565
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
8 April 2010Delivered
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2010 08:48
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:28

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