Lost potential

3rd June 2016 at 00:00

In “Put the frighteners on to close the gender gap” (6 May), John Greenlees explains that he scares the young boys in his classes with a vision of gender role reversal. He will be happy to know that women continue to be in subservient roles even if they are brilliant individuals at school.

While women do work harder in school and achieve better grades and sought-after university places, this does not translate to highly paid and rewarding careers.

Research shows that as more women enter a field, the average pay decreases for all workers. Girls’ ambition and obedience – the “good girl” persona forced on them from a young age – often leads them to a dead end, where their lack of “leadership skills” is decried, or those skills are seen as shrill, shrewish and ultimately unfeminine.

Statistics show that even when both partners are in full-time employment, women continue to do more of the unpaid domestic labour. What Greenlees’ article truly reveals is that even when girls put their heads down, their lot in life will remain subservient – and that, rather than moving towards a more equal society, the only vision boys are receiving is the idea that being served by women is the natural order of things.

A better alternative for all students might be an approach that engages with these complex issues and looks forward to a future in which domestic labour is shared and in which men and women share the reins of power.

Hanna Moy

PGDE English student, University of Glasgow.

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