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Barriers to Women's Participation in Post-Secondary Education. A Review of the Literature

Ekstrom, Ruth B.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Center for Education Statistics, Higher Education, Literature Reviews, Self Evaluation (Individuals), Sex Discrimination, Social Attitudes, Women's Education


Although the phenomenon has long been observed that women enter all types of post-secondary education at lower participation rates than men, there have been few attempts to analyze the reasons for this. These barriers may be categorized as (l) institutional, (2) situational, and (3) dispositional. Institutional factors that serve to exclude women from participation in post-secondary education include admissions practices, financial aid practices, institutional regulations, types of curriculum and services adopted, and faculty and staff attitudes. Situational barriers that deter women from participation in further education include family responsibilities, financial need, and societal pressures. Dispositional barriers that prevent women from continuing education include their fear of failure, attitude toward intellectual activity, role preference, ambivalence about educational goals, level of aspiration, passivity, dependence, and inferiority feelings. References are included. (Author) (88pp.)

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