Muslim young women and science identity

Salehjee, Saima and Watts, Mike; (2018) Muslim young women and science identity. In: IICE 2018. Infonomics Society, Dublin, pp. 24-28. ISBN 9781908320896 (

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This paper case studies the science identities of the three Muslim South Asian girls within an independent all-girls school in England. We took into consideration as how these girls narrated their stories and identified themselves as a sciencey or nonsciencey person. Their narratives interacted with personal preferences, personal experiences, SouthAsian culture, religion and their ultimate decision of undertaking science education (or not) in the future. We employed semi-structured interviews with the girls and revisited four to five times over a period of one year. We found that the science identities formed by these girls depend largely on the wider everyday culture, their religion and community engagement. While there might be suggestions that thirteen yearolds would, by virtue of their youth, be more fluid, less fixed and certain in their science identities, however, this is not the case for the girls discussed here. Our significant contribution to the research in science identities is that our participants emphasized an internal personal drive to accept and/or reject everyday culture and religion, and unlike recent science identity research (for example ASPIRE’s project) less emphasis was given to parents, teachers and school science towards the development of identity