Research conducted by Dr Rebecca Cooper on the current status of education of girls and women in Victoria

Overview of the Research.

A profile of the current status of education of girls and women in Victoria has been prepared on behalf of the Invergowrie Foundation, based on a research brief that outlined the Foundation’s intention to:

-base its future grant making decisions upon up-to-date data, on the areas within education for girls’ and women most in need currently and into the future.

There is therefore a need to:

  • Build a profile of the current status of education of girls and women in Victoria by researching data which indicates the financial support already available and possible areas of need to provide a quality of education and access to education of girls and women,
  • Identify areas where data is not available and suggest contacts for follow up and
  • Examine data to determine gaps and deficiencies in areas of education of girls and women.

There are several areas of importance to the Foundation, related to the education of girls and women in Victoria. These areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Girls and women in rural and remote areas;
  • Girls and women completing education to realise their potential, inclusive of: secondary, tertiary, TAFE, apprenticeships;
  • Refugee/Migrant girls and women; and
  • Girls and women’s health.

The data used to prepare the profile indicated that those who have been in need in the past are still those in need at the moment. Girls and women of low socio-economic status, living in rural or remote disadvantaged areas are in greatest need of access and support to continue their education. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and women along with migrant, disabled, same sex attracted women are also in need of support and access as are girls and women who fall pregnant at a young age. There also appears to be a need for career advice or assistance with pathways planning beyond school that is broad in its thinking, while still remaining accurate and encompassing of the needs of girls and women.

Brief Biography Dr Rebecca Cooper

Rebecca is a lecturer in science education at Monash University. She is also the liaison between the faculty and secondary schools in Victoria to support pre-service teachers’ professional experience. Rebecca taught Science, Physics and Mathematics and was the Assistant Head of Campus of senior campus for a school in Melbourne before moving to the University as a researcher on a project investigating science teacher’s understandings of scientific literacy and how they promoted it in secondary school classrooms. Her doctorate uses science teacher educators’ critical experiences to better understand the development of pedagogical knowledge for science teacher educators. As part of the science education faculty research group, Rebecca has established and continued to support a reading group for teachers and researchers and has also created an EBook that highlights the groups work. Rebecca has also worked with other educators and teachers to develop and implement curriculum for the National Virtual school of Emerging Science and has done work with the Invergowrie Foundation to promote the education of girls and women in Victoria, especially in science. Her research interests include; considering how science teachers and science teacher educators develop pedagogical knowledge, improving science teaching and working with teachers to think about science curriculum in new and different ways to support student learning.