After the adult learning centre: rural women: decisions and transitions to post-secondary education

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Webb, Colleen
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Adult Learning Centres (ALC) provide opportunities for rural women to complete a high school education and pursue career opportunities that may not have been available to them otherwise. The ALC is the first step towards pursuing post-secondary education (PSE) for many women. The goal of this study was to investigate the process by which rural women decide to pursue PSE, once they have completed their studies at an ALC. Narrative analysis with a feminist lens was used to analyze the data, capture participant voices, and enable the women to “speak for themselves”. Many stories indicated that the patriarchal society that permeates many rural communities played a significant role in whether or not women decided pursue a PSE. Issues related to family and community life, rural gender roles, values attributed to rural gender roles, and supports offered by ALCs were also important. Taken together the results highlight these rural women’s complex decision-making processes when considering educational decisions. This study lends evidence for the unique attributes of women as learners, when considering adult learning theory, and has the capacity to inform those working with rural women at the ALC.
adult learning, rural women, transformative learning, patriarchy