Livets første utdanningsvalg
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The theme of this research is the recruitment of girls to the STEM field. The aim of the research is to find out what makes girls apply for the upper secondary education program “Information Technology and Media Production” (IM). I have with me my experiences and commitment as a teacher in this work. To answer the problem, I have the following research questions: (1) What do previous experiences mean for girls' choice of ICT education in upper secondary school? (2) What and who influences their choice of higher education? (3) How can we understand the role of counselors in this educational choice? As a theoretical starting point, I have gone into the extension of Corneliussen's critique of Stoet and Geary's "Gender Equality Paradox". According to Corneliussen context is lacking and the paradox places too much emphasis on women's choices over the surrounding factors. This study is an example of the need to delve into specific cases for a more comprehensive understanding in the terms of situated knowledge. I have a qualitative approach and take a feminist perspective where I have first and foremost chosen to see things from girls' point of view. This is based on the fact that knowledge is situated; that all knowledge production must always be understood in a given context. I have conducted eight semi-structured interviews; five girls from IM and three counselors from the upper secondary school where the data material has been analyzed thematically. The research shows that previous experience with technology in many cases is a prerequisite for making an early ICT-related educational choice. Parents, and especially fathers, influence choice to a very large extent by showing the way to technology. The girls who have chosen IM have not paid much attention to friends. The advisers have a great deal of room for maneuver in the form of a lack of clear guidelines. This in turn leads to coincidences deciding too much in terms of professional updating and awareness related to non-traditional gender choices.