The educational choices of second generation South Asian women in Ontario: how and to what extent does parental pressure influence them?

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University of New Brunswick


South Asians make up the largest visibly minority in Canada, and South Asian women are the most likely of all female visible minorities in the country to achieve post-secondary education. Little is known about the challenges this group faces when making choices about their education and career. Parental pressure can be seen as a major force behind how these choices are made and can often alter the course taken by these young women. This study looks closer at second generation South Asian women in Ontario, their experience with parental pressure when making educational and career related choices, and how the group can be assisted in reaching their true and full potential based on their own dreams and aspirations. Findings indicate that parental pressure regarding educational and career choice is prevalent among South Asian youth in Ontario. Second generation South Asian women struggle with managing parental pressure and seek help in communicating and navigating difficult conversations with their parents, as well as assistance from counsellors and South Asian mentors in helping them make more informed choices for themselves while managing conflict at home. Finally, this study finds that South Asian women feel a sense of suppressed potential stemming from cultural barriers, genders roles, and pressure to get married.