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Sexism Redux

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GuyBarry
1243788.  Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:04 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
I want a girl who walks out of school for the last time next July to believe that she can be Prime Minister one day if that's what she wants,


Well you don't need any qualifications to be Prime Minister. John Major got three O-levels at school (or claims to have done so), plus a further three by correspondence course in later life.

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that she can win a Nobel Prize one day,


Winston Churchill became Prime Minister and won a Nobel Prize, despite his poor academic record at school.

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that she can fly to Mars one day,


No one's ever flown to Mars, so I don't know whether academic qualifications would be of any use.

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If a school wants its pupils to aim for the stars, it needs to train them in how things work at those higher levels. Part of which is that you probably dress more smartly than Jeremy Corbyn.


Given that Jeremy Corbyn has a very good chance of becoming Prime Minister in the near future, haven't you just destroyed your own argument?

 
Strawberry
1243789.  Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:08 am Reply with quote

Guy Barry: Certainly, Jeremy Corbyn has a chance of becoming Prime Minister. But a very good one? Wow.

 
GuyBarry
1243791.  Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:49 am Reply with quote

Strawberry wrote:
Guy Barry: Certainly, Jeremy Corbyn has a chance of becoming Prime Minister. But a very good one? Wow.


Well, Labour are ahead in the polls at the moment. I know that polling data is none too reliable these days but, given that the polls overestimated the Conservative lead at the last election, it seems reasonable to assume that Labour would probably win a General Election if it were held right now, or at least be the largest party.

Besides, if elections were decided by who was better dressed then Theresa May would have won by a landslide!

 
ali
1243792.  Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:07 am Reply with quote

Strawberry wrote:
Guy Barry: Certainly, Jeremy Corbyn has a chance of becoming Prime Minister. But a very good one? Wow.


Of the people who have a chance of being the next prime minister, he's got to be at least the second most likely.

 
barbados
1243793.  Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:40 am Reply with quote

ali wrote:
Strawberry wrote:
Guy Barry: Certainly, Jeremy Corbyn has a chance of becoming Prime Minister. But a very good one? Wow.


Of the people who have a chance of being the next prime minister, he's got to be at least the second most likely.


Based on the showing at the last attempt, there is no guarentee on that ;)

 
Leith
1243796.  Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:16 am Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:
suze wrote:
I want a girl who walks out of school for the last time next July to believe that she can be Prime Minister one day if that's what she wants,


Well you don't need any qualifications to be Prime Minister. John Major got three O-levels at school (or claims to have done so), plus a further three by correspondence course in later life.

Quote:
that she can win a Nobel Prize one day,


Winston Churchill became Prime Minister and won a Nobel Prize, despite his poor academic record at school.


Though if you want to follow Churchill's example, I suspect it would help considerably if you were born at Blenheim Palace, your father was a Lord and subsequent Chancellor of the Exchequer (albeit briefly), your mother a wealthy socialite, and your grandfather the Duke of Marlborough.

Churchill was admitted to Harrow despite reportedly failing the entrance exam. He eventually turned his academic fortunes around after gaining entry to Sandhurst at the third attempt, and subsequently drew heavily on his family's connections to advance his military career.
https://www.nationalchurchillmuseum.org/winston-churchills-military-career.html

Harrow and Sandhurst can have high aspirations for their students that are by no means based on academic qualifications alone, but then their students frequently have other advantages / privileges in life that few others possess.

John Major is a better example, and there are probably others like him, but they remain the exception. The vast majority of Prime Ministers to date attended university, in most cases Oxford or Cambridge.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Prime_Ministers_of_the_United_Kingdom_by_education

There are many life ambitions for which doing well at school is not a prerequisite, and many others besides that can be reached by alternative paths, but I think a good set of GCSE / A level results remains the most useful starting point to keep the broadest range of opportunities and aspirations open.

 
Leith
1243797.  Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:37 am Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:
suze wrote:
Quote:
that she can fly to Mars one day,


No one's ever flown to Mars, so I don't know whether academic qualifications would be of any use.


On this count, ESA currently recommend that prospective astronauts hold a masters degree or doctorate, though a bachelors level degree may suffice if the applicant is a test pilot. A second language is also an advantage.

In addition to the physical training, a successful applicant can expect to have to acquire a wide range of scientific and technical skills and to learn Russian.

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/European_Astronaut_Selection/FAQs_Qualifications_and_skills_required

As for expectations on formal dress, I encounter requirements to comply with such codes less and less in the space industry these days. It's still important on occasion, though, as is being able to recognise when those occasions are (there are times when turning up in jeans will make a poor impression, though equally there are times when turning up in a suit can do likewise).

 
crissdee
1243802.  Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:02 am Reply with quote

I see lot of young(er than me) people around who, whille technically dressed for the office, are so unused to needing to be "smart" that they haven't quite managed it, despite being in a suit and tie. If you acquire the skill at school, you don't have to do it any more if you don't want to, but when it becomes necessary, you will know how to achieve it.

 
'yorz
1243807.  Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:56 am Reply with quote

How about those youngsters technically dressed for weddings and the like, and they look as uncomfortable as hell, never look at ease. In my experience, it's rare to see a man who contributes to a suit by wearing it, but when I do... a pleasure to behold.

 
GuyBarry
1243812.  Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:40 pm Reply with quote

Leith wrote:
Quote:

Winston Churchill became Prime Minister and won a Nobel Prize, despite his poor academic record at school.


Though if you want to follow Churchill's example, I suspect it would help considerably if you were born at Blenheim Palace, your father was a Lord and subsequent Chancellor of the Exchequer (albeit briefly), your mother a wealthy socialite, and your grandfather the Duke of Marlborough.


Well yes, you do have a point there. Maybe a better example might be Bob Dylan, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature last year despite dropping out of college at the end of his first year. He certainly isn't from a privileged background.

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John Major is a better example, and there are probably others like him, but they remain the exception. The vast majority of Prime Ministers to date attended university, in most cases Oxford or Cambridge.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Prime_Ministers_of_the_United_Kingdom_by_education


True, but it's not a requirement for becoming Prime Minister. You need to be adopted as a Parliamentary candidate by a local constituency association; then campaign and win election as an MP; then rise in the ranks through your parliamentary party to a senior position; hope that your party gains a majority in Parliament to form a government; and win an election for the leadership of your party. There are no qualifications for any of this, and indeed a lot of it is outside an individual's control, depending on the preferences of the party and the wider electorate. Michael Heseltine might have had his future career and rise to PM written out on the back of an envelope when he went to university, but it didn't exactly go to plan, did it?

Maybe I'm being a bit cynical, but the example of Prime Minister is almost the worst one to pick when you're talking about the supposed benefits of education. Anyone can become Prime Minister given the right circumstances. Jim Callaghan didn't go to university either, and probably didn't expect to become PM, but ended up with the top job because of Harold Wilson's resignation.

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There are many life ambitions for which doing well at school is not a prerequisite, and many others besides that can be reached by alternative paths, but I think a good set of GCSE / A level results remains the most useful starting point to keep the broadest range of opportunities and aspirations open.


Maybe, maybe not. My experience is that no one takes any notice of your school exam results when you're applying for a job, at least past the age of about 25. They want to know about skills and experience that are directly relevant to the job. In fact I've sometimes found it better to keep quiet about my academic qualifications in case people accuse me of being "over-qualified". I've almost never used anything I studied for school exams in a job.

As for higher education, I'm surprised anyone bothers with it nowadays, given the huge amount of debt that students accumulate as a result. I've noticed that some of the smarter school-leavers are deciding to go straight into work and start earning money rather than saddling themselves with an enormous debt burden, and I don't blame them.

 
franticllama
1243818.  Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:37 pm Reply with quote

Going back a little bit, and to echo some previous comments, there is certainly a difference between casual and scruffy. I have a pair of smart black trousers that just somehow look scruffy on me. I have a pair of well fitting jeans that look pretty damn smart - depending on what shirt I put with them.

I agree that kids should know how to dress smartly, and when what attire is appropriate. But I do find it a bit odd how strongly some sections of society cling on to the suit mindset. This may be a generational thing but if all you're doing all day is sitting in an office and having no customer / supplier interaction then I don't see what benefit it is to have a tie dangling from your neck. If you are going out and about and representing the company then you should dress in accordance with your company's image.
I work for one of Branson's companies* and it is notable that the only men wearing ties are those on interview or from other companies. The dress code in our department pretty much only extends to 'no strappy tops.' I have a personal dress code that may be considered a bit odd. Always jeans, but on days I either work till 10 pm or start at 6 am, or weekends, I allow myself a t-shirt and hoody. And my comfy skater shoes with the different colour laces. On midshift days I stick with the jeans but wear a proper shirt and a zip up jacket. And my more subdued trainers.

*Technically. He now owns rather less of it than he did a couple of days ago. Probably.


Last edited by franticllama on Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:22 pm; edited 2 times in total

 
'yorz
1243832.  Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:42 pm Reply with quote

Those first two paragraphs contain some very wise words and observations, frantic. :-)

 
suze
1243837.  Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:25 pm Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:
Well you don't need any qualifications to be Prime Minister. John Major got three O-levels at school (or claims to have done so), plus a further three by correspondence course in later life.


There have been a few PMs who did not go to university, but I don't think it likely that there will be another in our lifetimes.

You will draw from this an inference as to how likely I find it that Jeremy Corbyn will ever be PM. If the current parliament lasts its appointed term, he will by 73 by the time of the next election and I suspect that he will choose that moment to retire from public life.

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Winston Churchill became Prime Minister and won a Nobel Prize, despite his poor academic record at school.


Although Churchill's school record was mediocre, as Leith has noted he did pass out from Sandhurst. Under a system of reckoning which certainly didn't exist in his day, that is a Level 5 qualification equivalent to an HND and so I don't completely accept him as an instance of a PM with no higher education.


GuyBarry wrote:
Maybe, maybe not. My experience is that no one takes any notice of your school exam results when you're applying for a job, at least past the age of about 25.


That rather depends on the industry in which you seek employment. I was into my 40s when I was hired for my current position, and I absolutely did have to fill in a form listing all my school exam results.

Not at my present job, but I have in the past been told that I cannot be considered for a position because I do not have GCSE Mathematics. That I do not have it is simply because I went to school in Canada where GCSEs are not a thing, but the computer said no.

GuyBarry wrote:
As for higher education, I'm surprised anyone bothers with it nowadays, given the huge amount of debt that students accumulate as a result.


I will use an illustrative example to tell you precisely why they do. Have a look at this job ad.

That job looks to me as if it's mainly about spreadsheets. A person who has just left with school with A levels, who possesses a modicum of common sense, and who has perhaps had a Saturday job in retail, could do the job entirely competently.

We're not the told the salary, and in any case the job is in Ireland and so salaries are not directly comparable with Britain. But if the job were in Britain outside London, I doubt it would pay more than about 16k.

Yet the ad states "Third level qualification with 2:1 Essential" (the bold is in the original). That you can't be considered for that job without having been to university is why the young people of today feel that they must go there.

 
franticllama
1243838.  Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:25 pm Reply with quote

Thanks 'Yorz. It's been known to happen on the very rare occasion :)
I just fixed some grave mistakes when it comes to the use of the apostrophe. Hopefully I have corrected it appropriately, though I am currently enjoying the rum I got in St Lucia...

 
GuyBarry
1243859.  Sun Jul 30, 2017 4:45 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
GuyBarry wrote:
Well you don't need any qualifications to be Prime Minister. John Major got three O-levels at school (or claims to have done so), plus a further three by correspondence course in later life.


There have been a few PMs who did not go to university, but I don't think it likely that there will be another in our lifetimes.


That's probably because Parliament is becoming increasingly dominated by graduates. This document from the Sutton Trust (the most up-to-date I can find) says "Nine in ten MPs in 2010 attended university by far the highest proportion of any Parliament to date".

And yet a majority of people in the UK do not go to university (see this article). Depending on how you calculate the figures, participation in higher education may be as low as 27%. This means that there's a huge disparity in educational background between the electorate and the people who claim to represent them. Don't you find this a little worrying?

Quote:
You will draw from this an inference as to how likely I find it that Jeremy Corbyn will ever be PM. If the current parliament lasts its appointed term, he will by 73 by the time of the next election and I suspect that he will choose that moment to retire from public life.


That's a big "if", though. The Conservatives are being propped up by a precarious deal with the DUP which could collapse for any number of reasons. My understanding is that it only lasts for two years, so what happens after that is anyone's guess. I'm told that Labour are currently on an election footing and would certainly be well placed to win power on current poll figures.

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I have in the past been told that I cannot be considered for a position because I do not have GCSE Mathematics. That I do not have it is simply because I went to school in Canada where GCSEs are not a thing, but the computer said no.


That's a fair point, but there's no requirement to take GCSE Mathematics at school - you can take it whenever you like. Some people are more motivated to study for qualifications in later life when they can see more relevance to them.

Quote:
GuyBarry wrote:
As for higher education, I'm surprised anyone bothers with it nowadays, given the huge amount of debt that students accumulate as a result.


I will use an illustrative example to tell you precisely why they do. Have a look at this job ad.

That job looks to me as if it's mainly about spreadsheets. A person who has just left with school with A levels, who possesses a modicum of common sense, and who has perhaps had a Saturday job in retail, could do the job entirely competently.


Indeed.

Quote:
We're not the told the salary, and in any case the job is in Ireland and so salaries are not directly comparable with Britain. But if the job were in Britain outside London, I doubt it would pay more than about 16k.

Yet the ad states "Third level qualification with 2:1 Essential" (the bold is in the original). That you can't be considered for that job without having been to university is why the young people of today feel that they must go there.


Well in that case the employer is just shooting itself in the foot, by restricting the pool of possible candidates. I don't know whether the jobs market in Ireland is significantly different to over here, but I doubt whether a similar job advertisement in Britain would impose such a requirement. It doesn't make any sense in the context of the job.

I have always advocated that, unless an employer can demonstrate that a particular qualification is directly relevant to a job, they shouldn't be able to impose any restrictions on the educational background of applicants. Those advertisements that say "Graduates of any discipline required" should be banned in my view. If the job requires a qualification in a particular field, then state it. If it doesn't, then anyone should be allowed to apply who has the necessary skills and experience. It seems thoroughly unfair to expect people to get themselves into thousands of pounds' worth of debt just so that they can apply for a simple admin job.

Of course, given our Parliament made up of 90% university graduates, I don't expect to see legislation about this any time soon.

 

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