Three decades of private school females' ambitions: Implications for Canadian elites

Authors


  • *The research upon which this study is based is from a larger study of students of two public high schools and two private girls' schools in a large Canadian city. The senior author is indebted to the National Institute of Mental Health, the Wenner Grenn Foundation, and the Canada Council for research awards which made the 1966 study possible. The authors wish to thank the Queen's University School of Graduate Studies and Research for grants which permitted the analysis of the 1976 data and to the sshrcc for a Women and Work grant to collect the data for 1986 and to analyse the data over the 20-year period. We also wish to express our appreciation to the students, the schools and to the anonymous reviewers. This manuscript was received in March, 1993 and accepted in October, 1993.

Abstract

Les aspirations et les attentes des élèves de deux des plus prestigieuses écoles de filles au Canada, l'une catholique et l'autre protestante, ont tellement changé au cours d'une période de vingt ans (1966–1986) que la vaste majorité des filles en sont peu à peu venues à voir dans diverses professions qui étaient traditionnellement des symboles de la réussite masculine des carrières idéales auxquelles elles pouvaient aspirer. Pendant la même période, l'effet différenciateur de la religion s'est estompé, au point où un nombre beaucoup plus élevé d'élèves s'attendaient à exercer un emploi tout au long de leur vue. Par ailleurs, en 1986, 80 pour cent des répondantes ont nommé la carrière comme la principale source de satisfaction dans la vie. Les auteurs analysent les incidences de ces tendances sur le recrutement des membres de l'élite et sur la reproduction sociale de l'élite et de la classe dominante.

Aspirations and expectations (1966–1986) at two of Canada's elite girls' schools, one Catholic and one Protestant, changed so that the vast majority of girls came to select traditionally high status male occupations as their ideal and expected occupation as time evolved. Over the 20-year period the differential impact of religion declined and significantly more students expected to be employed throughout the life course. Furthermore, by 1986 career was given as the major source of life satisfaction by over 80 per cent of the respondents. The implications of these trends for elite recruitment and the social reproduction of the elite and the dominant class are analysed.

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