Theresa went to 'a wonderful girls' school where everyone assumed you would all do very well - which usually meant working for a few years marrying and having children. If you were outrageously clever, you might carry on doing something as long as the children didn't suffer. I knew of only one woman who went out to work. She was something in the Treasury and this was much derided. It probably meant that the children didn't have puddings during the week!' Theresa also talks about the conflicting assumptions made by the school and the outside world. 'Until I was sixteen I was under the delusion that you set your sights on Cambridge or somewhere like that, but I was told that Cambridge was not the sort of place that girls went to. It was full of boys and not right for girls. That was the prevailing wisdom and before I heard that it had never crossed my mind that boys and girls were treated differently'.
Julia was privately educated in the 2005-2011 at a school which assumed that women would have a career, and university was both expected and encouraged. Paradoxically, it was Oxford which let her down. She found the University and the Career advisers to be of virtually no help in offering her guidance about what she should do after her degree.
Alison, on the other hand, also privately educated, fared differently again. She found that her school had few expectations for its pupils beyond working as a secretary, teacher or nurse and waiting for Mr. Right to come along.