Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours


School of Education


Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr Jennifer Browne


This study focuses on the reasons why fewer girls than boys are selecting outdoor education units in Year 9 in a selected government secondary school in Perth, Western Australia. Outdoor education has attracted increasing enrolments across all years since units were introduced at lower school level in 1987. However the percentage of girls enrolling has declined over the same period. The participation rate for Years 9 to 12 has consistently been about two times greater for boys than for girls. The study utilised group interviews as a means of data collection to document the girls' reasons for not selecting Outdoor Education. A sample of female students volunteered for the interviews and were divided into groups of four. The interviews were conducted over two consecutive years with the intention of obtaining the perceptions and ideas of students from two Year 9 cohorts. The factors that emerged as the major reasons for the non-selection of Outdoor Education were based primarily on the 'unappealing' nature and content of Outdoor Education; the influence of significant others; the personal experiences of the respondent; and the process of gender-role stereotyping. Recommendations based on the findings and the literature are directed to three key groups, namely, the Education Department of Western Australia; tertiary institutions; and schools. The suggested measures to address the problem focused on the education of teachers, parents and students; the provision of increased input into the physical education programme 'offerings' by students and parents; reviewing the class groupings of physical education and outdoor education; and the identification and introduction of female role models.