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Gender, Motivation, and Society: New and Continuing Challenges

Motivation in Education at a Time of Global Change

ISBN: 978-1-78754-614-1, eISBN: 978-1-78754-613-4

ISSN: 0749-7423

Publication date: 25 March 2019


In this chapter, I consider how and why gender continues to impact motivation, task engagement, self-regulation, and educational aspirations, choices, and outcomes among both boys and girls. How can motivation theory and research contribute to understanding gender differences in achievement at school, where girls now tend to do better than boys, especially in less advantaged social groups, and at work, where women still tend to achieve and earn less than similarly qualified men? In the first section of this chapter, I review evidence of gender-related motivational orientations whereby boys tend more to “prove and protect” and girls tend more to “doubt and try to improve” their abilities. I analyze the benefits and costs of these orientations, focusing on how they contribute to the superior school performance of girls, to spurring high-achieving boys to succeed more in later life than similarly able girls, and to placing lower-achieving boys, who often belong to minority groups, at particular risk for academic disengagement. I then consider how boys and girls construct and maintain motivating and motivated beliefs and strategies in interactions with parents, teachers, and peers within the social and educational contexts of their daily lives. In the final section, I first present some educational recommendations that follow from my analysis. I then engage directly with the overarching theme of this volume by considering some broad societal trends that present continuing challenges to educators concerned to promote optimal motivation for learning among both boys and girls in the twenty-first century.



Butler, R. (2019), "Gender, Motivation, and Society: New and Continuing Challenges", Motivation in Education at a Time of Global Change (Advances in Motivation and Achievement, Vol. 20), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 129-149.



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