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Jennifer Browne

In Western Australia from 1984 to 1988, enrollment in Physical Education Studies by Year 12 girls decreased from 44% to 37%. The present study wanted to ascertain reasons why girls were disposed or not disposed toward selecting this subject. A questionnaire was administered to 103 girls taking Physical Education Studies and 103 girls not taking it in eight government secondary schools. Analyses revealed that girls taking Physical Education Studies liked physical activity, thought physical education classes were fun, appreciated the break from the classroom, felt it helped to keep them fit, enjoyed learning new skills, liked the sports offered, and perceived themselves as being good at physical education. The most important reasons given by girls for not selecting Physical Education Studies were that other subjects were more important to their career plans, that they could not fit it into their timetable, that they obtained enough exercise out of school, and that there was too much competitive activity.

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Regina Bloot and Jennifer Browne

This paper focuses on reasons why so few females hold head of department positions in physical education in government secondary schools in Western Australia. Despite the almost equitable proportion of females and males teaching the subject, and the absence of Ministry of Education policy constraints on female promotion since 1972, women held only 5 (7%) of the 70 substantive head of department appointments in 1991. In-depth interviews were conducted with 27 female physical education teachers to document their career experiences and aspirations. Analysis revealed that constraints on the promotion of females were based primarily on stereotypic attitudes and expectations regarding gender roles, and comprised systemic, attitudinal, and internalized barriers. It is proposed that social settings from studentship, through teacher education, to the teaching environment could play a crucial role in shaping and nurturing the career decisions and aspirations of female teachers.