Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Social Sciences Honours


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Supervisor

Rob White


Although obviously involved in the life of their communities, young women have been largely overlooked in youth studies specifically and sociological research in general. Where young women are mentioned in the literature they are discussed using theories and frameworks designed to explain young men's position. It is assumed within these studies that somehow one's gender has little impact on their social situation. Clearly traditional theoretical approaches to the study of youth do not take into account the multiple transitions experienced by young women. This thesis sets out to question existing literature in youth studies. The notion that youth is a transient stage between childhood dependence and adult independence will be questioned at a theoretical level by looking at young women as women rather than young women as "youths". In doing so, the study is a theoretical challenge, to traditional youth studies notions about youth transition as a linear progression to adult independence. The research contests that for young women, adulthood has a different meaning than it does for young men based on the economic and social subordination of women. Methodologically, the thesis will be exploring a feminist approach in trying to comprehend and understand the experiences of young women. It will also explore how a feminist research process is an important part of the whole research project rather than a means to an end. This research endeavours to illustrate the multifaceted experiences of working class young women through presenting accounts of their experiences, views and perceptions as elicited through a series of dialogues with each young woman in the study. The areas of consideration are the relationships young women have within the economic and social realms of life. The study will convey the similarities and disparities between working class young women and locate these individual and common experiences in the wider structural framework of patriarchal capitalist relations.