Sealey, Paula (2007) How the educational experiences of mothers affect their daughter's educational experiences and career aspirations. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This study explores the influence that a mother has upon her daughter’s educational
decision-making processes that occur between the age of 14 and the age upon
leaving education and, also, her educational and career aspirations. It focuses on
subject choice at GCSE, decisions to progress to further/higher education, when to
leave education, choice of future career and the mother-daughter relationship. The
research findings were based on qualitative research carried out in the form of semistructured,
tape-recorded, interviews with 60 mother-daughter pairings (daughters
being aged 14-23). The findings show that mothers have contributed to a change in
the educational aspirations and achievements of their daughters. Mothers
emphasise the acquisition of skills, academic qualifications and they believe in the
value of education. Their aspirations for their daughters are passed on via the
mother-daughter relationship and resulting messages have a very strong influence
upon the daughters with regard to education and, also, help to shape the daughters’
educational experiences and career aspirations. Daughters acknowledge the
importance of education and qualifications and know that they are essential for
success in the labour market. They desire careers and are happy to embark upon
several years of study to acquire relevant qualifications to be able to enter their
desired occupation. However, although daughters desire rewarding and well-paid
careers they are prepared to shelve these careers, for at least a minimum of five
years, in order to perform childcare duties and responsibilities at home. Although
they hear their mothers’ messages about the value of education and the benefits it
entails and thus make declarations about careers, daughters’ long-term intentions
are to revert to the same lifestyle that their mothers had in order to remain at home
with young children. Gender continues to influence girls’ behaviour and it is this that
appears to have the greatest impact on a daughter’s long-term career aspirations

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