A DfE spokesman said: ‘Quality of teaching in our schools is what we should all be looking at, regardless of gender.
‘Our job is to recruit the best men and women into the profession and give them outstanding training.'
OK, that principle would be defensible if it were applied consistently. But, as we know, when it's a case of men dominating a field then no such principle is invoked. Instead, we hear arguments that "a cross section of the population must be represented" or "we must aim for 50% representation of women".
A recent example from here in Melbourne concerns train drivers. Our train operator has won exemption from anti-discrimination laws to run ads appealing to women to become train drivers:
Metro told VCAT that women made up only 16 per cent of its 4000 strong workforce, but wanted to increase that to 50%.
So it's considered important in modern society that 50% of train drivers are female, but when it comes to teaching then it's a case of whoever is best for the job.
Obviously, the logic of this is that women will become increasingly advantaged in the workforce over time. Women will have relatively easy access to fields that are traditionally male dominated, whilst men will continue to have to compete to get into fields that are female dominated.