Private boys’ schools produce ‘sexist lads’, says top headmistress

Boys get worse when they graduate apparently

The headmistress of one of the country’s best schools has branded ex-private school boys as “laddish”.

Clarissa Farr, Headmistress of the prestigious St. Paul’s Girls School has challenged private boys schools to do more to stop their pupils becoming sexist once they leave.

And she is worried former students of her top girls school are quitting high-flying jobs due to “laddishness and low-level discrimination” in the workplace.

Clarissa told The Sunday Times: “It is the boys who need the guidance – when they get into a professional context there is a regression that takes place.”


St Paul’s Girls Headmistress Clarissa Farr has spoken out against ‘sexist’ private schools boys

She added: “It is a challenge for those educating boys to teach boys to have the confidence to take girls seriously in the workplace and not to feel that in a work environment they have to regress to this kind of behaviour.

“Girls educated in girls’ schools have no experience of this kind of thing, astray are used to being taken seriously and will therefore find it quite shocking.

“It would be wonderful to see boys’ schools making a point of addressing issues of equality so that young men are equipped to work alongside young women of comparable ability without difficulty.”

Despite landing a top job, Clarissa believes private school girls are still facing everyday sexism in the workplace.

She said: “Young women going into some of the most sought after companies in the country straight from university are finding that the gloss go highly paid careers in prestigious firms can quite quickly wear off.

“The sexism is driving the girls out. They do not want to stay.

“Several young women have spoken about being mocked or frowned on by their managers, male and female, because they have drawn attention to a laddish culture – of which the central ingredients are sexist attitudes, drink and football.”

Clarissa has turned to the high-powered fathers of her pupils for help, as many are senior figures in banking, accountancy and finance firms – calling the movement Dads4Daughters.

St Paul's Girls' School in London

St Paul’s Girls’ School in London

She said: “There is a sense of early disillusionment with the glittering prizes that are being held out to these young women.

“I was shocked to hear from former pupils tales of low-level discrimination in the workplace going on even in the most sought after companies.

“I won’t dignify these examples by repeating them but fathers, you would be outraged to see your daughters so patronised.”

She might be doing her job in the classroom, but Clarissa also believes it is the role of employers to push for equality.

“Firms need to build a reputation for taking women seriously and giving them equal opportunities to be ahead of the pack.

“That would speak very powerfully to girls who experience that and are not finding it.”