Lucy Elphinstone, headmistress of the leading private girls’ school Francis Holland School in London, says that ‘sensitive’ girls should be taught ‘banter’ at school to toughen them up for the world of work. She believes they should be helped to overcome ‘the curse of the good girl’ and taught to ‘wing it’ so they are not at a disadvantage to their male peers when it comes to applying for jobs. (Telegraph, November 11, 2017).

Leaving aside the implication that all women are perfect, and that no bullying or unpleasantness whatsoever occurs in girls’ schools or other all-female environments, clearly Ms Elphinstone has not noticed that in recent years girls have gained the edge in higher education and various professions, and even serve in the military. They receive equal pay – and more sometimes – and if they are paid less overall this is because they work fewer hours to spend more time with their families.

Admittedly women are conspicuous by their absence in the dirty, hard, heavy, outdoor jobs essential to society’s prosperity and security, but perhaps when such jobs are mechanised this might change. In fact those doing worst in education are white working-class males, but Ms Elphinstone seems keen for her pupils to emulate this group by employing banter, being bad and ‘winging it’. Like many another ‘feminist’, she appears anxious to seek sex equality only when it is easy and profitable – when the heavy lifting has already been done.

However, there is another category in which young men outdo young women, and that is suicide. Presumably she does not wish her gels to compete for predominance in this area.

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