Gendered Post-Compulsory Educational Choices of Non-Heterosexual Youth

May. 21, 2010

Source: European Educational Research Journal, Volume 9 Number 2, (2010). p. 177-191.

Gender and socio-economic background are widely acknowledged factors influencing the educational choices of young people. Following their compulsory education, young people in Finland choose between academically oriented general upper secondary schools and vocational upper secondary schools. Gender and class intertwine in these choices in many ways. This is particularly visible in vocational education, which is highly gender-segregated.

This article focuses on the post-compulsory educational choices of non-heterosexual young people. It argues that, in addition to class and gender, sexuality is another relevant factor affecting processes related to educational and career choices.

Based on interviews and stories produced with young non-heterosexual people, the article analyze how gender, class and sexual orientation were constructed as meaningful in the educational choices these young people made.

Young non-heterosexual people take part in processes where they are expected to construct educational and labour-market citizenship.
They are often expected to be and act heterosexual; their non-heterosexuality is neither visible nor considered relevant when they consider their educational paths. However, many of these youth resist the gendered expectations forced on them and choose differently.

Updated: Oct. 29, 2010