In almost all countries, including SA, women are less likely to be in paid employment than men and, when they do have jobs, are paid less on average than their male counterparts. Yet at the school level, the exact opposite is true: girls in SA are more likely to remain in school and, on average, do unequivocally better than boys.

They do so much better than boys it seems unfathomable that the conventional wisdom — entrenched by the education department — is that boys outperform girls in maths and physical science in matric.

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