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WISE Choices? Understanding Occupational Decision-making In A Climate Of Equal Opportunities For Women In Science And Technology

F. Henwood
Published 1996 · Sociology

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Since the launch of the Women into Science and Engineering (WISE) campaign in 1984, many initiatives to increase the participation of women in these areas of work have been launched under its banner and the WISE approach has come to represent the dominant discourse on equal opportunities for women in science and technology, having a major influence on both policy and practice. This article examines the WISE discourse in depth, arguing that WISE has had only very limited success because it is so narrowly focused on women's 'choices', which it understands as being constrained both by a lack of information about scientific and technological work and by a masculine image of science and technology which, it infers, is alienating to women. Drawing on empirical research which examined both women's and men's occupational decision-making processes, this article takes issue with this construction of the problem, arguing that whilst the assumptions of the WISE discourse cannot be supported empirically, the discourse...

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