Nicky Morgan on the lack of female school heads and sexism in schools

The Independent is reporting comments made by education secretary Nicky Morgan about sexism and teaching ahead of International Women’s Day.  

The Secretary of State for Education may be the mother of a school-age child, but she’s rather more nuanced than the working mum cliche. In fact, Nicky Morgan is hard to pin down. One moment it’s all a bit Middle England – family finances, children’s rugby and the school run. The next it’s classroom sexism, trans rights and cross-dressing MPs…

On feminism, she certainly doesn’t hold back – attacking the “unconscious bias” of old-fashioned head teachers and school governors holding back women in schools…

It prompts the question, is teaching a sexist profession? “I doubt that it is worse than many others,” she says – refusing to deny that it is. “The issue is, until you help women to senior positions to become role models it’s a self-perpetuating cycle. Actually, what you need is to help women to get to those senior positions. You’ve got to get the people who make the appointments, who draw up the job specification.

“If you have a chair of governors who has a very fixed view of what a head teacher looks like – then you are never going to change the mould and that’s what we must change.”

She says there is a danger of “group think”, if all the top positions are dominated by men, which is closer to “unconscious bias” than “institutionalised sexism”…

She clearly detests all forms of stereotyping – from the classroom to the Cabinet. And she’s unafraid to tell parents they also have a duty to tackle sexism. “There will be some girls who love pink. But there will be as many girls who absolutely loathe pink. Children should be free to choose these things. I think it’s incumbent on all of us – parents and others – not to fall into the trap of stereotyping.”

It’s a dangerous road to go down – giving family advice. But she is insistent: “It’s too easy to say sometimes, that’s not a boy thing or a girl thing. You have to stop yourself…”

More at: Nicky Morgan: Education Secretary on the lack of female school heads and cross-dressing in the Common


Nicky Morgan is introducing a series of measures to help women in teaching but what do you make of the comments here about “unconscious bias” in the system?

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  1. TW

    A puff piece from the Independent – the loss-making and never knowingly interesting propaganda sheet about to close down through highly deserved lack of interest.

  2. Simon Foster

    We are interviewing for a new head this week and we have taken forward one male and one female to the interview stage.

    The best applicant will get the job

  3. ColinSeabrook

    SchoolsImprove NickyMorgan01 ? Curious. There was recently a tweet that showed the statistics showed a very different picture. Data??

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