The choice of career for students with high ability (HA) is not without its difficulties. In STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), women with HA do not choose such areas in the same proportion as men. We sought to understand how contextual factors influence the academic decisions of HA students. In this qualitative study, eight focus groups with students with HA and interests in STEM were conducted. The results show parents as role models; however, fathers’ messages can be threatening for female students. Results also show that teachers inspire and provide clear guidance based on skills, rather than on real challenge, and that school activities allow direct experience of discipline, but produce little linkage to real areas of interest.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank the National Agency for Research and Development (ANID) in the framework of the Fondecyt Regular project number 1181770.
© 2020, Fundacao Carlos Chagas. All rights reserved.