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Against the Odds: Self-Efficacy Beliefs of Women in Mathematical, Scientific, and Technological Careers

Amy L. Zeldin and Frank Pajares
American Educational Research Journal
Vol. 37, No. 1 (Spring, 2000), pp. 215-246
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1163477
Page Count: 32
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Against the Odds: Self-Efficacy Beliefs of Women in Mathematical, Scientific, and Technological Careers
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the personal stories of women who selected and continue to excel at careers in areas of mathematics, science, and technology to better understand the ways in which their self-efficacy beliefs influenced their academic and career choices. Analysis of 15 narratives revealed that verbal persuasions and vicarious experiences were critical sources of the women's self-efficacy beliefs. These findings suggest that the perceived importance of these sources of self-efficacy beliefs may be stronger for women in male-oriented domains than for individuals operating in traditional settings. Academic and relational self-efficacy perceptions resulted in the perseverance and resiliency required to overcome academic and career obstacles. Findings support and refine the theoretical tenets of A. Bandura's (1986) social cognitive theory, and they also suggest that critical tenets in this theory are consistent with the work of C. Gilligan (1982) and N. Noddings (1992).

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