Exploring the social and cultural determinants of Indigenous males' participation and success in higher education in Australia

Samuel Moore, James A. Smith, Himanshu Gupta, Garth Stahl, Bep Uink, Braden Hill, Jesse J. Fleay, Daile L. Rung, Andrew Harvey, Peter Radoll

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Higher education is an important social determinant of health. In Australia, the under-representation of Indigenous males (In this study we use the term 'males' rather than 'men'. This is an attempt to acknowledge cultural lore and be inclusive of males who have been through an initiation ceremony and those who have not had the opportunity to do so (Smith, J., Drummond, M., Adams, M., Bonson, J., & Christie, B. (2019). Understanding inequities in men's health in Australia. In D. Griffith, M. Bruce, & R. Thorpe (Eds.), Men's health equity: A handbook (pp. 499-511). Routledge; Adams, M., Smith, J., & Fleay, J. (2021). How the practical perspectives of health impact on aboriginal males, family and communities. In B. Bennett (Ed.), Aboriginal fields of practice. Bloomsbury Publishing). This is consistent with national policy frameworks relating to, and developed by, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males. The authors recognise that the category 'sex' (male) and 'gender' (men/masculinities) are both important concepts from a dominant Western perspective, and that these terms have different meanings. We maintain that sociological understandings of gender are best understood alongside intersections with age and culture (Merlino et al,. International Journal of Men' Social and Community Health, 3(2):e46-e57, 2020; Smith et al., American Journal of Men's Health, 14(3):1-17, 2020)) in higher education (In this study, higher education refers to university education) is stark, with very little known about ways to increase their participation and achievement. Global evidence suggests that educational interventions aimed at improving educational engagement at school and university can yield wide-ranging benefits for males, particularly young Indigenous males. In this study, we interviewed Indigenous males residing in five Australian states and territories to explore their aspirations for, and engagement and participation in, higher education. We identified barriers to, and opportunities for, Indigenous male engagement in higher education in Australia. We unpack these challenges and opportunities throughout the chapter and describe their implications for advancing policy and practice responses.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHealth Promotion with Adolescent Boys and Young Men of Colour
Subtitle of host publicationGlobal Strategies for Advancing Research, Policy, and Practice in Context
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783031221743
ISBN (Print)9783031221736
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023


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