The British government is going to outlaw "sexist" career advice, like encouraging girls to go into hairdressing. The new Education Bill, reports the Telegraph, is supposed to attempt to bring some equality to the kinds of jobs young women and men are encouraged to explore. Ed Balls [Heh, heh. -Ed.], Secretary of Children, Schools and Families says: "I want more young women being encouraged and supported to have a career in engineering and more young men being encouraged to have a career in child care. It won't suit everyone but it's important to consider all the options." Of course, the highest wages are in the male-dominated fields. (There's a 40% wage gap between male and female trainees, sigh.) When it comes to vocational exams, it's clear where the gender differences lay: Almost 8,000 male students took engineering last year — compared with 350 females; while 4,500 female pupils studied health and social care, compared with 350 males.
Says Buckingham University's professor Alan Smithers, "It is certainly important that boys and girls should not be put off things that they like and are good at for stereotypical reasons. However, it is also important to accept that boys and girls are different and many will choose to live their lives differently." Well, duh.
But while more and more women getting into engineering sounds great and very possible; waves of men choosing child care seems rather unlikely. Or is that just sexist? (And what ever happened to the manny?) But seriously, can the government force women to consider higher-paying fields? And if not, then who can?