Women Studying Childcare

Integrating Lives Through Adult Education

June 2011
More details
  • Publisher
    Trentham Books
  • Published
    24th June 2011
  • ISBN 9781858564852
  • Language English
  • Pages 192 pp.
  • Size 6.25" x 9.625"

Through rich personal narratives, Hazel R. Wright reveals how women studying childcare use education to balance a need to be both mothers and workers, and how they manage stasis and change.

Informed by data collected from 150 students enrolled on a diploma course in an FE college over a ten-year period, the book challenges the assumption that vocational education cannot embrace broader liberal goals. With its fascinating personalized insights and new theoretical perspectives, it illustrates how the women exercise their right to determine their own lifestyle.

Women Studying Childcare is for early years workers and managers, adult students and the staff who teach them. It opens with an informative historical overview and concludes with a concept catalogue of the ideas borrowed from sociology, psychology and economics used in education books.

"In this new study, English education researcher Hazel R. Wright offers a thorough analysis of the experiences and perspectives of adult women students enrolled in a childcare diploma program. In a policy context very similar to that of the United States—with political leaders increasingly emphasizing education, primarily as vocational training to remedy an ailing economy—Wright examines what drives women to pursue credentials in caring for young children, and how they interpret their experiences as students, mothers, and professional caretakers. Through open-ended discussions and survey responses, study participants raise a series of themes that speak to the gendered nature of the childcare workforce, of underpaid labor, and of caretaking roles in work and life.

Interpreting the different elements of women’s lives as inseparable, Wright posits that respondents pursue further education in childcare in an effort to holistically combine rather than separate and balance competing priorities. Wright applies Amartya Sen’s famous capability approach as a framework for considering interviewees’ experiences, and argues that although their choices conform to gendered expectations, they are freely made rather than societally predetermined. She advocates for policy options that allow women to choose what best serves their personal interests from a range of options, including in education, where respondents valued both vocational and liberal approaches. Wright’s analysis is a strong comparative narrative for American readers facing parallel cultural challenges in similarly gendered circumstances."

- On Campus with Women

1) Introducing the research project
2) Putting policy in perspective
3) Committing to a career in childcare
4) Making choices in real life
5) Recalling experiences and expectations
6) Examining educational practices
7) Considering the consequences of studying
8) Meeting women's needs, heeding women's strengths
Concept catalogue

Hazel R. Wright

Hazel R. Wright is Senior Lecturer in Education at Anglia Ruskin University.