More must be done to show girls that they are free to make their own decisions about their futures, the new head of the Girls' Schools Association (GSA) has said.
Hilary French, headmistress of Central Newcastle High School, said that she believes many girls are still being raised to believe that homemaking and having children are more important than their own career aspirations.
The incoming president said that it is on schools and those in teaching jobs to help their pupils make tough choices about their own futures and ensure they are secure that they have made the right decisions.
Speaking on a variety of topics, Ms French also urged girls to do more to develop their 'soft skills' - such as communication, language and social graces - as well as focusing on passing exams and academic performance.
"Yes, you need your exam results, you need your degree, but it's a passport for opening a door, getting through a door, and then when you are actually working, there's so many other things out there in society that you need," she said.
For this reason, the GSA head said that girls' schools are making great efforts to do more for their pupils than simply teaching them the facts they need to pass each subject at GCSE level.
On the subject of GCSEs, Ms French echoed concerns about the government's plans to scrap the qualifications in favour of an English Baccalaureate, which would see a focus placed on more rigorous examinations.
She sees this as something that could not only "make a failing system more complicated", but also go some way towards ensuring that it is "more prone to absolute collapse in the end".
While the educator agreed with the principle of making the system more rigorous and fit for purpose, she argued that the new exams, as they have been planned, would not suit a large number of children.
Posted by Tim Colman