Sex and science

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The Independent Online

There are those of the male disposition and a crustier nature who will jib at the Government's plan to encourage more girls to study science. They object to the creation of a super-race of Margaret Thatchers and Mary Archers.

There are those of the male disposition and a crustier nature who will jib at the Government's plan to encourage more girls to study science. They object to the creation of a super-race of Margaret Thatchers and Mary Archers.

This newspaper, on the other hand, is ideologically sound when it comes to sexual equality. We do not like the plan for an altogether different reason. What business is it of the state to encourage or discourage pupils of either sex to study one subject rather than another? What evidence is there that it is a lack of science A-levels that limits women's career choices and earnings – rather than, say, good old-fashioned endemic sexism? And even if there were definite evidence that an A-level in information technology tripled your potential earnings, and girls still tended to prefer to study arts, humanities or the new health and social care A-level, who is to say they are wrong?

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