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May 17, 2005

Gender Equality.

A report out from the World Economic Forum on gender equality, with an accompanying artilce in The Guardian.

I have to admit that this isn’t one of those subjects that gets me all steamed up on either side. I’m all for equality of opportunity and really don’t care about equality of outcome....for if there is the first then differences in the second are (could be? might be? probably are?) a result ofthe choices made by the individuals. Something which is good, of course, people choosing from life’s rich menu.

There is just one thing I would note about this though. Sweden is top of the tree, the country which has done the most to create equality of outcome between the genders. As the report’s author also notes, education is the key:

He said the priority for closing the gap should be improving education prospects for women. Countries that do so benefit from falling adolescent pregnancy, greater income generation and associated overall wealth generation.

"The education of girls is probably the most important catalyst for change in society."

Quite obviously this means that if we do indeed desire more gender equality, then we must look at the Swedish education system and see what lessons we can apply to our own. The most marked attribute of that system is that it works as a voucher system. Any two qualified teachers can set up a school and they will be paid (by the State) according to the number of pupils they attract. Yes, there are municipal schools, but parents have an absolute right to send their children anywhere they wish, inside or outside the municipality, public or privvate schools, and the money follows the pupil.

(Dennis? I’d appreciate confirmation of this if you could?)

Which political party in the UK is advocating something like this? Yes, you’ve got it, the Tories.

So, the lesson to be drawn? Vote Tory for Gender Equality!


May 17, 2005 in Idiotarians | Permalink


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I'm all for Grauniad bashing and I suspect you are completely correct in your analysis.

However, if we are to be rigorous, I think you need to show more than coincidence: we need evidence of causation also. How/why does the funding freedom assist in girl's education?

I suspect that another important factor could be the responsibility of parents towards their children and general social cohesion.

Posted by: Hew BG | May 17, 2005 10:40:19 AM

Funding freedom helps because it allows the best teachers to have the most pupils and therefore make the most money. It prices out bad teachers and bad schools as they will lose pupils and money. If teacher pay goes up, it will encourage better quality people to the job.
Im not sure why it would specifically help girls, it will help boys too. But if it helps boys and girls ... it helps girls. Logical.

Posted by: Monjo | May 17, 2005 12:48:16 PM