As in other Latin American and Caribbean nations, young women in Belize have made remarkable strides in enrollment in and completion of secondary schooling. In fact, adolescent girls did so well during the 1990s that the usual explanations of increased access to schooling and governmental policy aimed at increasing girls'education did not appear to fully explain girls' success at the time. Here, Eileen Anderson-Fye argues that secondary schoolgirls' subjective motivations played a key role in their educational experiences during the late 1990s. Based on data collected from a longitudinal study conducted between 1996 and 2001, Anderson-Fye suggests that many of the young women in this study saw education as a route to independence or as a way to avoid gender-based maltreatment for themselves and their future children. She asserts this "push" factor, combined with the "pull" factors of increased economic opportunities for young women with high school diplomas, led to increased educational outcomes for girls at this time. Through this case study of one cohort of girls in San Andrés, Belize, Anderson-Fye provides several important insights for educational researchers and practitioners working with young women today.

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