I want to know what the following two 'they' refer to in this context? I guess as following,

First 'they' ⇒ this policy (even though, it is singular)
Second 'they' ⇒ the necessary qualifications

Please correct me and share your idea to clarify.

The rocket girls went from being "computers" to becoming the lab's first computer programmers and engineers. One of the group's early leaders, Macie Roberts, made the decision to hire only women, and this policy continued for the next thirty years. They brought in many women who wanted to be engineers but didn't have the necessary qualifications. If anyone tried to employ only men or only women today, they wouldn't be allowed to.

  • The first one refers to the lab or the group. The second refers to anyone. Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 22:43
  • Thank you for your comment. I have one question. As for the second 'they', if it refers to 'anyone', what 'wouldn't be allowed to' mean? in this context? Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 22:58
  • 2
    Gender discrimination is not allowed in some countries' legislation. In such countries, it is generally illegal to seek an employee of a specific gender. Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 23:00
  • Thank you for your explanation. I've really got it! Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 1:57

1 Answer 1


The first one refers to the group / the lab, and hence the people in the group who brought in (by hiring) the women.

The second one refers to any hypothetical person who tries to employ only men or women today.

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