A MATHS tutor from Weymouth joined a group of industry figures to speak out against a "sexist" phone sock being sold by EE, which the company has now pulled from sale.

The sock, produced by American company David and Goliath, bore the slogans "I'm too pretty to do maths" and "dumb blonde".

It was being sold through the EE online shop for £4 until it was removed yesterday following pressure from the maths industry and parenting website Mumsnet.

Private tutor Colin Beveridge, from Weymouth, was among those who spoke out against the accessory online and he told the Echo that the product had "sexist overtones".

"Relatively small things like this can and do have a cumulative effect on people’s attitude towards careers," said Colin.

"The science community has to work its socks off to encourage perfectly able girls into STEM subjects and this drip-drip-drip of 'it’s not for you' makes our work that much harder.

"There's a misguided perception that maths and science are male subjects and that makes it tougher for women to pursue careers in those areas.

"One of my former students told me the other day that there are men in her tutorial group who insist there's no place for women in physics and refuse to work with her."

Colin added that the sock played into a general perception that is damaging to mathematical education in the UK.

He said: "There's an idea in our culture that it's okay to take pride in being no good at maths and in my experience it's this idea, more than anything else, that makes maths hard for students.

"If we want our children to be smart, we shouldn't be encouraging them to take pride in their ignorance.

"EE does deserve credit for its eventual decision to withdraw the product and think more carefully about the messages it sends out."

When the accessory was brought to its attention, the company removed it from sale and issued a statement to customers who were dissatisfied.

Sharon Meadows, director of products at EE, said: "The fact the response has been so passionate shows there is a real issue here, one that I believe the product is trying to address – but clearly not effectively.

"This is tricky. There are two sides to consider.

"One, as you’ve presented here, sees this as a literal message to girls and women, especially blonde ones, that maths (and by extension, science, engineering, technology: STEM) isn’t for them.

"At worst, this perpetuates the negative stereotype.

"This was absolutely not our intention, nor, I think, the intention of the product.

"The other side is that this is a message taking aim at these exact stereotypes, and trying to challenge that thinking, which is how I feel it’s intended.

"It is how many of our customers interpret it.

"But we’ve listened to our customers who are offended by the product; many have not interpreted it in a positive way and that is why we are removing it.

"We will, however, look to continue our work to encourage women into STEM roles, and I look forward to doing what we can to continue to address this issue."