Writing in The Oldie, Blanche Girouard, a teacher at the elite St Paul’s Girls’ School, says that girls don’t need high level exam results or go to Oxford University in order to be happy. She wrote: ” .. . today’s girls aren’t going on nature walks or learning poetry off by heart — they’re cramming their hands full of facts.” In the present ‘career’ era many school-leavers would simply like to get married and have children instead of being pressurised by their schools, and often by parents.
As a male and not a teacher at a girls’ school I don’t feel qualified to give any opinion on Ms Girouard’s views. However, there are two facts that are very much to do with girls taking exams and having children. They are:
1. Girls who have children at 18 years , rather than at 29 — which is average in this country these days — will have healthier children and be healthier themselves for the rest of their lives;
2. Female brains at 18 years are three years more developed than male brains. They are now beginning to dominate their male peers at university in every subject. At the time of graduation they are still two years ahead of males. Now that women’s libbers have hard-pushed the idea of women having careers — which is fair enough — then it would only be fair that girls of 14 or 15 should take the same university entrance exams as boys of 18, or that they take exams of a a different standard at 18.
There’s still a lot that’s badly out of kilter in the life stories of men and women and it’s not just women who are being penalised.