Young people are encouraged to take responsibility for their educational outcomes by actively engaging in their education (their ‘project-of-self’), but many also take responsibility for the care of family members who have serious health concerns (their ‘project-of-family’). Drawing on the concepts of responsibilisation and neoliberal governance, and a feminist ethic of care, we aim to better understand how young people with care responsibilities navigate these dual projects. We use national survey data for young Australians aged 13–14 (N = 3,594) to compare boys’ and girls’ school engagement (projects-of-self) and caregiving for family members with serious health concerns (projects-of-family). Young people with family health concerns report low levels of school engagement. However, caregiving is associated with somewhat increased school engagement for girls, but not for boys. These findings suggest implicit gendered expectations of education systems which are more supportive of girls’ than of boys’ engagement in projects-of-family. Supplemental data for this article is available online at https://doi.org/10.1080/01425692.2021.1947189.
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- engagement in education
- family health concerns