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Pragmatic, persistent and precarious: the pathways of three minority ethnic women in STEM higher education

Wong, B. ORCID: and Copsey-Blake, M. (2023) Pragmatic, persistent and precarious: the pathways of three minority ethnic women in STEM higher education. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 21 (7). pp. 2123-2142. ISSN 1573-1774

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s10763-022-10337-8


Minority ethnic women are underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) higher education. Whilst existing studies, mostly in the US context, have provided valuable insights into racial and gender inequalities, there appears to be limited research in the UK. Through the lens of science identity, this article draws on qualitative data which were collected over three-years, to appreciate how minority ethnic women develop their identity and belonging in STEM higher education, from the start to the end of their degrees. We present three case studies: 1). Nancy, a British East Asian Computer Science student, who appears pragmatic as she understands the extrinsic value of her degree, despite negative feelings and experiences; 2). Carol, a Black British Biomedical student, who can be seen as persistent, as supported by her intrinsic commitment to work in healthcare; and 3). Mawiya, a British Middle Eastern Mathematics student, whose experiences are somewhat precarious, because she must continuously negotiate her mathematics identity, which is often in question by herself and others. We discuss and compare the similarities and differences in the higher education pathways of these students. We also highlight the nuances of identity development and identity management, and consider multiple social inequalities for minority ethnic women. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of the findings for policy and practice.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Improving Equity and Inclusion through Education
ID Code:108685


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