From Bat-Mitzvah to the Bar: How Religion Shapes Women’s Educational Aspirations and Attainment
Social Science Matrix, 820 Barrows
Ilana Horowitz, doctoral student in Sociology of Education and Education & Jewish Studies at Stanford University and an Institute of Education Sciences Fellow
An RSVP is requested.
It is well known that educational attainment in the United States is stratified based on race, class, and gender. But many people are surprised to learn that educational attainment rates also vary according to religious denomination. For example, American Jews are among the most highly educated religious groups, with 31% earning graduate degrees. The rates for other religious groups are much lower. Only 14% of Mainline Protestants and fewer than 10% of Catholics and Evangelicals earn graduate degrees. In this talk, Horowitz argues that one largely overlooked explanation for the discrepancies in educational attainment has to do with how girls develop gender ideologies and educational aspirations. Based on her analysis of 10 years of survey and interview data, Horowitz describes how Jewish and Christian teenage girls from middle-upper class families espouse fundamentally different academic and professional aspirations. Jewish teenage girls think that their life purpose is to have prestigious careers. Meanwhile, Christian teenage girls think their life purpose is to be mothers and help others. These divergent aspirations help explain why Jewish and Christian women end up in very different types of colleges: Jewish girls tend to enroll in highly selective universities and often pursue graduate education, while Christian girls choose non-selective universities and rarely consider graduate education. Horowitz will also discuss how scholars might account for religion as a key factor in shaping young people’s decisions about higher education.
Ilana Horowitz is a doctoral student in Sociology of Education and Education & Jewish Studies at Stanford University as well as an IES Fellow. Her research examines the intersection of education and religion. Ilana holds an M.A. in International Education Development from Columbia University’s Teachers College, and a B.B.A in Business Administration from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. Previously, Ilana worked in a variety of organizations focused on education research, program evaluation and management consulting, including Deloitte Consulting and ICF International.
Sponsored by the Center for Studies in Higher Education and co-sponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies, Department of Anthropology, and the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion.