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EDITIONS
Saturday, 9 November, 2002, 02:03 GMT
High-flying girls 'hit glass ceiling'
Esha Aggarwal and Naomi Sather who have 22 GCSEs
Girls may do well in education, but can then fall behind
Girls may be out-performing boys in national examinations, but that gap is not mirrored in the world of work, according to the Equal Opportunities Commission.

The EOC says society is failing to reap the rewards of the investment in girls' achievements, with many woman hitting a glass ceiling in their careers.

More must be done to tackle gender-based career and subject choices, the commission believes.


18% of primary teachers are men, yet nearly half the head teachers are men

NUT spokeswoman
Speaking at a National Union of Teachers conference on the gender divide - called Mind the Gap - EOC chair Julie Mellor said gender stereotyping was still very much an issue.

"The acres of media coverage devoted to celebrating girls' examination achievements masks the real story which is that women earn 37% less over their lifetime," said Ms Mellor.

"The economy loses out as well - areas such as childcare or engineering, which are dominated by large numbers of one sex, face recruitment or skills shortages.

"An educational system which focuses on examination results has little practical relevance to young people unless we can show them how to use their skills, abilities and achievements to fulfil their potential."

Ms Mellor said work experience placements must be better organised so as to provide young people "with real insight into potential careers".

Teaching profession

A spokeswoman for the NUT said the glass ceiling factor was very much alive in the education profession.

"For example, 18% of primary teachers are men, yet nearly half the head teachers are men," she said.

"In secondary schools there is a 50/50 split of male and female teachers, yet only 20% of heads are women.

"There is a wider problem in society - and among school governing bodies - in that there is an assumption that the lead role in any organisation is best filled by a man."

Confidence was also an issue, the spokeswoman added.

See also:

22 Aug 02 | Education
22 Aug 02 | Education
16 Jul 02 | Scotland
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