Back in the 1980s, I went to a new school that had until that year been an all-boys school. When the new co-ed campus welcomed girls, the school's enrolment numbers pretty much doubled.
For the new girls, it was exciting as well as confusing. We were outnumbered and were something of a spectacle to the boys, who had previously only had to compete with other boys.
Even as a ten-year-old, it occurred to me that apart from the uniform, which had been tho-ughtfully styled by a fashion designer, there was no sign of a female lens there at all.
The curriculum was essentially unchanged, including all the masculine textbooks — views of history, war and male war heroes — that were designed from a male perspective around the message that ‘anything was possible' if you fought hard for it. Palpably missing were female role models and stories about women climbing metaphorical mountains.
During weekly school assemblies we listened to stories from the Bible (God and Jesus and all those male disciples), the headmaster's sermon, and of course the school sports updates. We may not have even been allowed to play the games, but we still had to endure these regular reports on the boys' on-field prowess. One of the greatest honours for a Grammarian was the opportunity to be drafted into the first XI to play cricket at Lord's in London. There was no equivalent prize for a girl to aspire to.
Honour boards were instead laden with boys' sports and boys' names, ...