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Men or women?

Letters

I read your item (NCE 5 July) on why women shun a career in construction with interest.

But in order to encourage women into the profession, was it really necessary to rubbish male engineers in the process? The only category they appeared to come best in was 'other'!

I am aware of the communication skills of many women, but reliability, deadlines, budget, etc - I just don't believe men in the profession are inferior to women in these.

Such published perceptions are a slur on the achievements of countless men in the construction profession over the centuries who, presumably, succeeded without the benefit of the verbalisation skills of the female brain.

I am afraid that the item came over to me as a thinly disguised exercise in sexual politics, particularly as I am not aware of any similar 'inspire' type initiatives in other professions where it is men who are in a minority, such as primary schoolteachers (13%) and general nursing (less than 5%).

It is curious that NCE is going out of its way to 'inspire' women into the profession, at a time when boys and young men are now trailing behind girls and young women at all educational levels.

Last summer, 68,000 fewer boys than girls actually sat A-level exams, and fewer boys than girls are going on to higher education.

There are now more women in higher education than men and a larger proportion of women than men obtain higher degree qualifications.

In the future, therefore, it is likely that more young qualified women will be attracted to the profession in any case.

Would it now therefore be appropriate for NCE to start a comparable 'inspire' type initiative, with its range of prizes also for young men?

Howard Lawrence, Bedford, howard.lawrence@britonline. net

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