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Title:Emigrating to the good life: A qualitative study of gender and ethnic diversity of graduate women
Author(s):Hess-Almubarak, Elizabeth Lee
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Tozer, Steven E.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Bilingual and Multicultural
Women's Studies
Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies
Education, Higher
Abstract:This research addressed three major questions regarding the perceptions and interpretations of the lived experiences of 13 graduate women in master's and doctoral programs at a major midwestern research university: (a) How do these graduate women perceive and interpret their epiphanal experiences that had consequences for their educational development? (b) How do they perceive and interpret their positioning within the educational system? and (c) How do they perceive and interpret the role of education in their individual strategies for dealing with barriers to what they define as success?
This study attempted to provide insight into 13 graduate women's perceptions and interpretations about their own educational experiences, their interpersonal relationships, and their understanding of the social context within which they live as gendered persons in a major research, doctoral degree granting university. Although these 13 women are from a variety of ethnic, racial, and social backgrounds, their perspectives and interpretations of lived experiences in a Euro-American, male-defined research community demonstrate one basic framework within which they define their educational situations. These intelligent, independent, and well-educated women work from a perspective analogous to an immigrant minority's framework. They perceive themselves as, in effect, emigrating from the woman's life of social and political oppression they lived, to what they hope is a better life as a member of the educated elite.
What is startling about the findings of this study is the disparity between the myth of socialization of graduate women into the professional academic and research elite and the often demeaning processes of graduate school for these thirteen women. This research recounts stories of routine discrimination as well as devastating, even life-threatening harassment. Perhaps more disturbing than the experiences of discrimination is the tolerance, the acquiescence on the part of the graduate women to such abuse. This research is a disheartening portrayal of the second class citizenry delegated to women in a bastion of the society's intellectual and liberalizing environments, that of the university.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Hess-Almubarak, Elizabeth Lee
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9512391
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9512391

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