Society – not single-sex schooling – teaches women not to speak out
Headteacher Richard Cairns thinks an all-girls education leaves women unable to talk to male colleagues. Yet it’s men who should learn to listen to their female peers
I went to an all-girls school, so I find I have to harness certain techniques to overcome my communications disadvantage. When men speak to me in the workplace I tend to giggle or run away. Occasionally, in an attempt to navigate the gaping hole of experience my single-sex education has left me with, I will enquire about “the goal sports” or “the prime minster” to attempt communication. Other times I just burst into tears, or stare vacantly at a handbag.
Or so Richard Cairns, head of Brighton College, probably thinks I behave. “If girls do not learn to socialise with boys as children,” Cairns wrote in an article for an independent schools website, “what happens when they go out into the workplace? … If they cannot meaningfully converse and communicate with male colleagues they will be at a huge disadvantage.”
What does Cairns think women are exactly? Mindless subordinates with a natural inclination towards mops and haircare products, unable to string sentences together unless they sat next to a boy in double history for seven years?