The Paula Principle

Learning and caring

Just a couple of items, before I disappear for a couple of weeks, trekking in the Himalayas (yes, lucky me). First, here's a chart from the Learning & Work Institute's useful data on adult learning. LWI monitors what's going on every year or two; as well as measuring participation levels by all kinds of factor (age, class etc), they ask about the benefits of learning: to the person's job; to their health and wellbeing, and to gaining qualifications. The chart below shows the results on this last one: whether the learning that men and women engage in leads to qualifications, or to more learning. The final column shows a big…
Read More

‘Equal’ and Carrie Gracie

I went last week to a packed meeting of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at Kings College London, to hear Carrie Gracie talking about her book Equal: A Story of Women, Men and Money. Carrie was in conversation with Julia Gillard, ex-PM of Australia and leader of the GIWL. As Carrie pointed out, Julia was impressively well-prepared, with a postit-festooned copy of the book, and the two women's dialogue flowed along very well. The story is that of Carrie's discovery that as BBC's China Editor she was not being paid the same as her male BBC equivalents, in spite of explicit assurances that this would be the case, made…
Read More

Educational Glance: the divide increased

It's that time of year again. OECD has just published its annual Education at a Glance. I was actually working at the OECD in the 1970s (yes, I know...) when EAG was first developed, though I had no hand in it. In those days the title was descriptively accurate - EAG was a slim document you could flip through quickly. Today the title is richly ironic. Anyway, forsaking nostalgia for my youthful time in Paris I turned to the figures for female and male achievement. They confirm the basic trend: women continue to increase their educational lead over men, at every level and in almost every subject. The situation is…
Read More

Updates on gaps and crossovers

It's that time of year again: results, results and more results. So: For SATS taken by around 600,000 10- and 11-year-olds, I'll let the official DfE announcement speak: "Girls continue to outperform boys across all subjects at the expected standard. In 2019, 70% of girls reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths (combined) compared to 60% of boys, a gender gap of 10 percentage points, up from 8pp in 2018. This has been driven by an increase in the gender gap in reading, where both boys and girls saw a fall in the proportion reaching the expected standard between 2018 and 2019, but the fall was higher for boys…
Read More

Unpacking gender convergence

I’ve been having several discussions recently about reverse convergence.  This is the rather unwieldy term I used in the PP to refer to the need for more men to follow working/career patterns that have traditionally been seen as female, in order to balance the convergence that women are increasingly showing on male patterns–full-time employment, with assumptions that a ‘career’ must involve continuous upward movement. In another life I was secretary of the Association for the Social Study of Time, yet another of the myriad organisations set up by the prolific Michael Young.  Michael and I were interested in the ‘rhythms of society’ – what forms the daily, weekly, termly and annual cycles…
Read More

Universal Basic Income

John Lanchester has written an interesting piece in the latest London Review of Books on what he calls a Good New Idea - an unconditional payment to every citizen, usually called Universal Basic Income.  Lanchester is an excellent exponent of economic issues, and does a good job with UBI (though he fails to mention a more recent report from Guy Standing, and that the Labour Party has recently said it would include in its next manifesto a commitment to piloting UBI in some form). UBI, as Lanchester observes, appeals to both left and right on the political spectrum.  Its universality appeals to the form, with the power to raise poorer people's…
Read More

Career shapes, and leadership

I've been involved in several conversations recently about the shape of careers, and how there is still a lot of work to be done to move beyond the traditional male model of a continuously ascending line, peaking probably around 50 and then sliding downwards.  Of course this doesn't accurately represent millions of men's working lives, but it's still the model that dominates our thinking, consciously or not.  It sidelines all those whose careers might be moving up a grade or three later in life. The most recent conversation was at ShareAction, which does excellent applied work influencing corporate behaviour across a range of issues - most prominently on environmental issues,…
Read More

Nancy Pelosi and later life career trajectories

An excellent piece by Anne-Marie Slaughter in the FT highlights how we need to change the way we visualise career trajectories.  I was greatly impressed by Slaughter's book Unfinished Business, in which she explores the reactions to her decision to leave a very high profile political job, as director of policy planning in Hilary Clinton's State Department, in order to return to a more 'normal' family life in New Jersey.  This was prompted by the difficulties in reconciling parenting of teenage children with an all-consuming job - in spite of having a husband who took major responsibility for the children. Slaughter's decision triggered a huge reaction, much of it bitterly critical.  I…
Read More

Home I’m Darling: a parable on choice

We went earlier this week to see Home I'm Darling, Laura Wade's sparky play about a woman who 'chooses' to stay home and recreate the role of a 1950s housewife - spot-free kitchen, husband-slippering and all.  It's a really original idea:  the recreation is Judy's own, and it mixes commitment to authenticity (clunky frig, relentlessly bright decor) with streaks of contemporary living.  So once husband Johnny is seen out of the door and off to his pedestrian estate agent job, sandwiches in briefcase,  Judy opens the kitchen drawer and pulls out - a laptop.  We are regularly tipped into uncertainty whether hers is a genuine if eccentric lifestyle choice or a delusional…
Read More

Enlightenment

I've just finished Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now.  It's a thoroughly bracing read - bracing in the sense that you sometimes feel that you're having buckets of cold water thrown over you, but also that you emerge as, well, a more enlightened person:  inevitably better informed but also better equipped to defend the values of inquiry, evidence and rationality that are so often missing in today's discussions (cf Brexit passim). Pinker's basic approach on any given issue is to beat you about the head with data, but to do it in such an accessible and stylishly written way that it's mostly a pleasure as well as a lesson.  He covers an implausibly wide…
Read More

Learning and caring

Just a couple of items, before I disappear for a couple of weeks, trekking in the Himalayas (yes, lucky me). First, here's a chart from the Learning & Work Institute's useful data on adult learning. LWI monitors what's going on every year or two; as well as measuring participation levels by all kinds of factor (age, class etc), they ask about the benefits of learning: to the person's job; to their health and wellbeing, and to gaining qualifications. The chart below shows the results on this last one: whether the learning that men and women engage in leads to qualifications, or to more learning. The final column shows a big…
Read More

‘Equal’ and Carrie Gracie

I went last week to a packed meeting of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at Kings College London, to hear Carrie Gracie talking about her book Equal: A Story of Women, Men and Money. Carrie was in conversation with Julia Gillard, ex-PM of Australia and leader of the GIWL. As Carrie pointed out, Julia was impressively well-prepared, with a postit-festooned copy of the book, and the two women's dialogue flowed along very well. The story is that of Carrie's discovery that as BBC's China Editor she was not being paid the same as her male BBC equivalents, in spite of explicit assurances that this would be the case, made…
Read More

Educational Glance: the divide increased

It's that time of year again. OECD has just published its annual Education at a Glance. I was actually working at the OECD in the 1970s (yes, I know...) when EAG was first developed, though I had no hand in it. In those days the title was descriptively accurate - EAG was a slim document you could flip through quickly. Today the title is richly ironic. Anyway, forsaking nostalgia for my youthful time in Paris I turned to the figures for female and male achievement. They confirm the basic trend: women continue to increase their educational lead over men, at every level and in almost every subject. The situation is…
Read More

Updates on gaps and crossovers

It's that time of year again: results, results and more results. So: For SATS taken by around 600,000 10- and 11-year-olds, I'll let the official DfE announcement speak: "Girls continue to outperform boys across all subjects at the expected standard. In 2019, 70% of girls reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths (combined) compared to 60% of boys, a gender gap of 10 percentage points, up from 8pp in 2018. This has been driven by an increase in the gender gap in reading, where both boys and girls saw a fall in the proportion reaching the expected standard between 2018 and 2019, but the fall was higher for boys…
Read More

Unpacking gender convergence

I’ve been having several discussions recently about reverse convergence.  This is the rather unwieldy term I used in the PP to refer to the need for more men to follow working/career patterns that have traditionally been seen as female, in order to balance the convergence that women are increasingly showing on male patterns–full-time employment, with assumptions that a ‘career’ must involve continuous upward movement. In another life I was secretary of the Association for the Social Study of Time, yet another of the myriad organisations set up by the prolific Michael Young.  Michael and I were interested in the ‘rhythms of society’ – what forms the daily, weekly, termly and annual cycles…
Read More

Universal Basic Income

John Lanchester has written an interesting piece in the latest London Review of Books on what he calls a Good New Idea - an unconditional payment to every citizen, usually called Universal Basic Income.  Lanchester is an excellent exponent of economic issues, and does a good job with UBI (though he fails to mention a more recent report from Guy Standing, and that the Labour Party has recently said it would include in its next manifesto a commitment to piloting UBI in some form). UBI, as Lanchester observes, appeals to both left and right on the political spectrum.  Its universality appeals to the form, with the power to raise poorer people's…
Read More

Career shapes, and leadership

I've been involved in several conversations recently about the shape of careers, and how there is still a lot of work to be done to move beyond the traditional male model of a continuously ascending line, peaking probably around 50 and then sliding downwards.  Of course this doesn't accurately represent millions of men's working lives, but it's still the model that dominates our thinking, consciously or not.  It sidelines all those whose careers might be moving up a grade or three later in life. The most recent conversation was at ShareAction, which does excellent applied work influencing corporate behaviour across a range of issues - most prominently on environmental issues,…
Read More

Nancy Pelosi and later life career trajectories

An excellent piece by Anne-Marie Slaughter in the FT highlights how we need to change the way we visualise career trajectories.  I was greatly impressed by Slaughter's book Unfinished Business, in which she explores the reactions to her decision to leave a very high profile political job, as director of policy planning in Hilary Clinton's State Department, in order to return to a more 'normal' family life in New Jersey.  This was prompted by the difficulties in reconciling parenting of teenage children with an all-consuming job - in spite of having a husband who took major responsibility for the children. Slaughter's decision triggered a huge reaction, much of it bitterly critical.  I…
Read More

Home I’m Darling: a parable on choice

We went earlier this week to see Home I'm Darling, Laura Wade's sparky play about a woman who 'chooses' to stay home and recreate the role of a 1950s housewife - spot-free kitchen, husband-slippering and all.  It's a really original idea:  the recreation is Judy's own, and it mixes commitment to authenticity (clunky frig, relentlessly bright decor) with streaks of contemporary living.  So once husband Johnny is seen out of the door and off to his pedestrian estate agent job, sandwiches in briefcase,  Judy opens the kitchen drawer and pulls out - a laptop.  We are regularly tipped into uncertainty whether hers is a genuine if eccentric lifestyle choice or a delusional…
Read More

Enlightenment

I've just finished Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now.  It's a thoroughly bracing read - bracing in the sense that you sometimes feel that you're having buckets of cold water thrown over you, but also that you emerge as, well, a more enlightened person:  inevitably better informed but also better equipped to defend the values of inquiry, evidence and rationality that are so often missing in today's discussions (cf Brexit passim). Pinker's basic approach on any given issue is to beat you about the head with data, but to do it in such an accessible and stylishly written way that it's mostly a pleasure as well as a lesson.  He covers an implausibly wide…
Read More

Learning and caring

Just a couple of items, before I disappear for a couple of weeks, trekking in the Himalayas (yes, lucky me). First, here's a chart from the Learning & Work Institute's useful data on adult learning. LWI monitors what's going on every year or two; as well as measuring participation levels by all kinds of factor (age, class etc), they ask about the benefits of learning: to the person's job; to their health and wellbeing, and to gaining qualifications. The chart below shows the results on this last one: whether the learning that men and women engage in leads to qualifications, or to more learning. The final column shows a big…
Read More

‘Equal’ and Carrie Gracie

I went last week to a packed meeting of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at Kings College London, to hear Carrie Gracie talking about her book Equal: A Story of Women, Men and Money. Carrie was in conversation with Julia Gillard, ex-PM of Australia and leader of the GIWL. As Carrie pointed out, Julia was impressively well-prepared, with a postit-festooned copy of the book, and the two women's dialogue flowed along very well. The story is that of Carrie's discovery that as BBC's China Editor she was not being paid the same as her male BBC equivalents, in spite of explicit assurances that this would be the case, made…
Read More

Educational Glance: the divide increased

It's that time of year again. OECD has just published its annual Education at a Glance. I was actually working at the OECD in the 1970s (yes, I know...) when EAG was first developed, though I had no hand in it. In those days the title was descriptively accurate - EAG was a slim document you could flip through quickly. Today the title is richly ironic. Anyway, forsaking nostalgia for my youthful time in Paris I turned to the figures for female and male achievement. They confirm the basic trend: women continue to increase their educational lead over men, at every level and in almost every subject. The situation is…
Read More

Updates on gaps and crossovers

It's that time of year again: results, results and more results. So: For SATS taken by around 600,000 10- and 11-year-olds, I'll let the official DfE announcement speak: "Girls continue to outperform boys across all subjects at the expected standard. In 2019, 70% of girls reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths (combined) compared to 60% of boys, a gender gap of 10 percentage points, up from 8pp in 2018. This has been driven by an increase in the gender gap in reading, where both boys and girls saw a fall in the proportion reaching the expected standard between 2018 and 2019, but the fall was higher for boys…
Read More

Unpacking gender convergence

I’ve been having several discussions recently about reverse convergence.  This is the rather unwieldy term I used in the PP to refer to the need for more men to follow working/career patterns that have traditionally been seen as female, in order to balance the convergence that women are increasingly showing on male patterns–full-time employment, with assumptions that a ‘career’ must involve continuous upward movement. In another life I was secretary of the Association for the Social Study of Time, yet another of the myriad organisations set up by the prolific Michael Young.  Michael and I were interested in the ‘rhythms of society’ – what forms the daily, weekly, termly and annual cycles…
Read More

Universal Basic Income

John Lanchester has written an interesting piece in the latest London Review of Books on what he calls a Good New Idea - an unconditional payment to every citizen, usually called Universal Basic Income.  Lanchester is an excellent exponent of economic issues, and does a good job with UBI (though he fails to mention a more recent report from Guy Standing, and that the Labour Party has recently said it would include in its next manifesto a commitment to piloting UBI in some form). UBI, as Lanchester observes, appeals to both left and right on the political spectrum.  Its universality appeals to the form, with the power to raise poorer people's…
Read More

Career shapes, and leadership

I've been involved in several conversations recently about the shape of careers, and how there is still a lot of work to be done to move beyond the traditional male model of a continuously ascending line, peaking probably around 50 and then sliding downwards.  Of course this doesn't accurately represent millions of men's working lives, but it's still the model that dominates our thinking, consciously or not.  It sidelines all those whose careers might be moving up a grade or three later in life. The most recent conversation was at ShareAction, which does excellent applied work influencing corporate behaviour across a range of issues - most prominently on environmental issues,…
Read More

Nancy Pelosi and later life career trajectories

An excellent piece by Anne-Marie Slaughter in the FT highlights how we need to change the way we visualise career trajectories.  I was greatly impressed by Slaughter's book Unfinished Business, in which she explores the reactions to her decision to leave a very high profile political job, as director of policy planning in Hilary Clinton's State Department, in order to return to a more 'normal' family life in New Jersey.  This was prompted by the difficulties in reconciling parenting of teenage children with an all-consuming job - in spite of having a husband who took major responsibility for the children. Slaughter's decision triggered a huge reaction, much of it bitterly critical.  I…
Read More

Home I’m Darling: a parable on choice

We went earlier this week to see Home I'm Darling, Laura Wade's sparky play about a woman who 'chooses' to stay home and recreate the role of a 1950s housewife - spot-free kitchen, husband-slippering and all.  It's a really original idea:  the recreation is Judy's own, and it mixes commitment to authenticity (clunky frig, relentlessly bright decor) with streaks of contemporary living.  So once husband Johnny is seen out of the door and off to his pedestrian estate agent job, sandwiches in briefcase,  Judy opens the kitchen drawer and pulls out - a laptop.  We are regularly tipped into uncertainty whether hers is a genuine if eccentric lifestyle choice or a delusional…
Read More

Enlightenment

I've just finished Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now.  It's a thoroughly bracing read - bracing in the sense that you sometimes feel that you're having buckets of cold water thrown over you, but also that you emerge as, well, a more enlightened person:  inevitably better informed but also better equipped to defend the values of inquiry, evidence and rationality that are so often missing in today's discussions (cf Brexit passim). Pinker's basic approach on any given issue is to beat you about the head with data, but to do it in such an accessible and stylishly written way that it's mostly a pleasure as well as a lesson.  He covers an implausibly wide…
Read More

Learning and caring

Just a couple of items, before I disappear for a couple of weeks, trekking in the Himalayas (yes, lucky me). First, here's a chart from the Learning & Work Institute's useful data on adult learning. LWI monitors what's going on every year or two; as well as measuring participation levels by all kinds of factor (age, class etc), they ask about the benefits of learning: to the person's job; to their health and wellbeing, and to gaining qualifications. The chart below shows the results on this last one: whether the learning that men and women engage in leads to qualifications, or to more learning. The final column shows a big…
Read More

‘Equal’ and Carrie Gracie

I went last week to a packed meeting of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at Kings College London, to hear Carrie Gracie talking about her book Equal: A Story of Women, Men and Money. Carrie was in conversation with Julia Gillard, ex-PM of Australia and leader of the GIWL. As Carrie pointed out, Julia was impressively well-prepared, with a postit-festooned copy of the book, and the two women's dialogue flowed along very well. The story is that of Carrie's discovery that as BBC's China Editor she was not being paid the same as her male BBC equivalents, in spite of explicit assurances that this would be the case, made…
Read More

Educational Glance: the divide increased

It's that time of year again. OECD has just published its annual Education at a Glance. I was actually working at the OECD in the 1970s (yes, I know...) when EAG was first developed, though I had no hand in it. In those days the title was descriptively accurate - EAG was a slim document you could flip through quickly. Today the title is richly ironic. Anyway, forsaking nostalgia for my youthful time in Paris I turned to the figures for female and male achievement. They confirm the basic trend: women continue to increase their educational lead over men, at every level and in almost every subject. The situation is…
Read More

Updates on gaps and crossovers

It's that time of year again: results, results and more results. So: For SATS taken by around 600,000 10- and 11-year-olds, I'll let the official DfE announcement speak: "Girls continue to outperform boys across all subjects at the expected standard. In 2019, 70% of girls reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths (combined) compared to 60% of boys, a gender gap of 10 percentage points, up from 8pp in 2018. This has been driven by an increase in the gender gap in reading, where both boys and girls saw a fall in the proportion reaching the expected standard between 2018 and 2019, but the fall was higher for boys…
Read More

Unpacking gender convergence

I’ve been having several discussions recently about reverse convergence.  This is the rather unwieldy term I used in the PP to refer to the need for more men to follow working/career patterns that have traditionally been seen as female, in order to balance the convergence that women are increasingly showing on male patterns–full-time employment, with assumptions that a ‘career’ must involve continuous upward movement. In another life I was secretary of the Association for the Social Study of Time, yet another of the myriad organisations set up by the prolific Michael Young.  Michael and I were interested in the ‘rhythms of society’ – what forms the daily, weekly, termly and annual cycles…
Read More

Universal Basic Income

John Lanchester has written an interesting piece in the latest London Review of Books on what he calls a Good New Idea - an unconditional payment to every citizen, usually called Universal Basic Income.  Lanchester is an excellent exponent of economic issues, and does a good job with UBI (though he fails to mention a more recent report from Guy Standing, and that the Labour Party has recently said it would include in its next manifesto a commitment to piloting UBI in some form). UBI, as Lanchester observes, appeals to both left and right on the political spectrum.  Its universality appeals to the form, with the power to raise poorer people's…
Read More

Career shapes, and leadership

I've been involved in several conversations recently about the shape of careers, and how there is still a lot of work to be done to move beyond the traditional male model of a continuously ascending line, peaking probably around 50 and then sliding downwards.  Of course this doesn't accurately represent millions of men's working lives, but it's still the model that dominates our thinking, consciously or not.  It sidelines all those whose careers might be moving up a grade or three later in life. The most recent conversation was at ShareAction, which does excellent applied work influencing corporate behaviour across a range of issues - most prominently on environmental issues,…
Read More

Nancy Pelosi and later life career trajectories

An excellent piece by Anne-Marie Slaughter in the FT highlights how we need to change the way we visualise career trajectories.  I was greatly impressed by Slaughter's book Unfinished Business, in which she explores the reactions to her decision to leave a very high profile political job, as director of policy planning in Hilary Clinton's State Department, in order to return to a more 'normal' family life in New Jersey.  This was prompted by the difficulties in reconciling parenting of teenage children with an all-consuming job - in spite of having a husband who took major responsibility for the children. Slaughter's decision triggered a huge reaction, much of it bitterly critical.  I…
Read More

Home I’m Darling: a parable on choice

We went earlier this week to see Home I'm Darling, Laura Wade's sparky play about a woman who 'chooses' to stay home and recreate the role of a 1950s housewife - spot-free kitchen, husband-slippering and all.  It's a really original idea:  the recreation is Judy's own, and it mixes commitment to authenticity (clunky frig, relentlessly bright decor) with streaks of contemporary living.  So once husband Johnny is seen out of the door and off to his pedestrian estate agent job, sandwiches in briefcase,  Judy opens the kitchen drawer and pulls out - a laptop.  We are regularly tipped into uncertainty whether hers is a genuine if eccentric lifestyle choice or a delusional…
Read More

Enlightenment

I've just finished Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now.  It's a thoroughly bracing read - bracing in the sense that you sometimes feel that you're having buckets of cold water thrown over you, but also that you emerge as, well, a more enlightened person:  inevitably better informed but also better equipped to defend the values of inquiry, evidence and rationality that are so often missing in today's discussions (cf Brexit passim). Pinker's basic approach on any given issue is to beat you about the head with data, but to do it in such an accessible and stylishly written way that it's mostly a pleasure as well as a lesson.  He covers an implausibly wide…
Read More

Learning and caring

Just a couple of items, before I disappear for a couple of weeks, trekking in the Himalayas (yes, lucky me). First, here's a chart from the Learning & Work Institute's useful data on adult learning. LWI monitors what's going on every year or two; as well as measuring participation levels by all kinds of factor (age, class etc), they ask about the benefits of learning: to the person's job; to their health and wellbeing, and to gaining qualifications. The chart below shows the results on this last one: whether the learning that men and women engage in leads to qualifications, or to more learning. The final column shows a big…
Read More

‘Equal’ and Carrie Gracie

I went last week to a packed meeting of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at Kings College London, to hear Carrie Gracie talking about her book Equal: A Story of Women, Men and Money. Carrie was in conversation with Julia Gillard, ex-PM of Australia and leader of the GIWL. As Carrie pointed out, Julia was impressively well-prepared, with a postit-festooned copy of the book, and the two women's dialogue flowed along very well. The story is that of Carrie's discovery that as BBC's China Editor she was not being paid the same as her male BBC equivalents, in spite of explicit assurances that this would be the case, made…
Read More

Educational Glance: the divide increased

It's that time of year again. OECD has just published its annual Education at a Glance. I was actually working at the OECD in the 1970s (yes, I know...) when EAG was first developed, though I had no hand in it. In those days the title was descriptively accurate - EAG was a slim document you could flip through quickly. Today the title is richly ironic. Anyway, forsaking nostalgia for my youthful time in Paris I turned to the figures for female and male achievement. They confirm the basic trend: women continue to increase their educational lead over men, at every level and in almost every subject. The situation is…
Read More

Updates on gaps and crossovers

It's that time of year again: results, results and more results. So: For SATS taken by around 600,000 10- and 11-year-olds, I'll let the official DfE announcement speak: "Girls continue to outperform boys across all subjects at the expected standard. In 2019, 70% of girls reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths (combined) compared to 60% of boys, a gender gap of 10 percentage points, up from 8pp in 2018. This has been driven by an increase in the gender gap in reading, where both boys and girls saw a fall in the proportion reaching the expected standard between 2018 and 2019, but the fall was higher for boys…
Read More

Unpacking gender convergence

I’ve been having several discussions recently about reverse convergence.  This is the rather unwieldy term I used in the PP to refer to the need for more men to follow working/career patterns that have traditionally been seen as female, in order to balance the convergence that women are increasingly showing on male patterns–full-time employment, with assumptions that a ‘career’ must involve continuous upward movement. In another life I was secretary of the Association for the Social Study of Time, yet another of the myriad organisations set up by the prolific Michael Young.  Michael and I were interested in the ‘rhythms of society’ – what forms the daily, weekly, termly and annual cycles…
Read More

Universal Basic Income

John Lanchester has written an interesting piece in the latest London Review of Books on what he calls a Good New Idea - an unconditional payment to every citizen, usually called Universal Basic Income.  Lanchester is an excellent exponent of economic issues, and does a good job with UBI (though he fails to mention a more recent report from Guy Standing, and that the Labour Party has recently said it would include in its next manifesto a commitment to piloting UBI in some form). UBI, as Lanchester observes, appeals to both left and right on the political spectrum.  Its universality appeals to the form, with the power to raise poorer people's…
Read More

Career shapes, and leadership

I've been involved in several conversations recently about the shape of careers, and how there is still a lot of work to be done to move beyond the traditional male model of a continuously ascending line, peaking probably around 50 and then sliding downwards.  Of course this doesn't accurately represent millions of men's working lives, but it's still the model that dominates our thinking, consciously or not.  It sidelines all those whose careers might be moving up a grade or three later in life. The most recent conversation was at ShareAction, which does excellent applied work influencing corporate behaviour across a range of issues - most prominently on environmental issues,…
Read More

Nancy Pelosi and later life career trajectories

An excellent piece by Anne-Marie Slaughter in the FT highlights how we need to change the way we visualise career trajectories.  I was greatly impressed by Slaughter's book Unfinished Business, in which she explores the reactions to her decision to leave a very high profile political job, as director of policy planning in Hilary Clinton's State Department, in order to return to a more 'normal' family life in New Jersey.  This was prompted by the difficulties in reconciling parenting of teenage children with an all-consuming job - in spite of having a husband who took major responsibility for the children. Slaughter's decision triggered a huge reaction, much of it bitterly critical.  I…
Read More

Home I’m Darling: a parable on choice

We went earlier this week to see Home I'm Darling, Laura Wade's sparky play about a woman who 'chooses' to stay home and recreate the role of a 1950s housewife - spot-free kitchen, husband-slippering and all.  It's a really original idea:  the recreation is Judy's own, and it mixes commitment to authenticity (clunky frig, relentlessly bright decor) with streaks of contemporary living.  So once husband Johnny is seen out of the door and off to his pedestrian estate agent job, sandwiches in briefcase,  Judy opens the kitchen drawer and pulls out - a laptop.  We are regularly tipped into uncertainty whether hers is a genuine if eccentric lifestyle choice or a delusional…
Read More

Enlightenment

I've just finished Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now.  It's a thoroughly bracing read - bracing in the sense that you sometimes feel that you're having buckets of cold water thrown over you, but also that you emerge as, well, a more enlightened person:  inevitably better informed but also better equipped to defend the values of inquiry, evidence and rationality that are so often missing in today's discussions (cf Brexit passim). Pinker's basic approach on any given issue is to beat you about the head with data, but to do it in such an accessible and stylishly written way that it's mostly a pleasure as well as a lesson.  He covers an implausibly wide…
Read More

Learning and caring

Just a couple of items, before I disappear for a couple of weeks, trekking in the Himalayas (yes, lucky me). First, here's a chart from the Learning & Work Institute's useful data on adult learning. LWI monitors what's going on every year or two; as well as measuring participation levels by all kinds of factor (age, class etc), they ask about the benefits of learning: to the person's job; to their health and wellbeing, and to gaining qualifications. The chart below shows the results on this last one: whether the learning that men and women engage in leads to qualifications, or to more learning. The final column shows a big…
Read More

‘Equal’ and Carrie Gracie

I went last week to a packed meeting of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at Kings College London, to hear Carrie Gracie talking about her book Equal: A Story of Women, Men and Money. Carrie was in conversation with Julia Gillard, ex-PM of Australia and leader of the GIWL. As Carrie pointed out, Julia was impressively well-prepared, with a postit-festooned copy of the book, and the two women's dialogue flowed along very well. The story is that of Carrie's discovery that as BBC's China Editor she was not being paid the same as her male BBC equivalents, in spite of explicit assurances that this would be the case, made…
Read More

Educational Glance: the divide increased

It's that time of year again. OECD has just published its annual Education at a Glance. I was actually working at the OECD in the 1970s (yes, I know...) when EAG was first developed, though I had no hand in it. In those days the title was descriptively accurate - EAG was a slim document you could flip through quickly. Today the title is richly ironic. Anyway, forsaking nostalgia for my youthful time in Paris I turned to the figures for female and male achievement. They confirm the basic trend: women continue to increase their educational lead over men, at every level and in almost every subject. The situation is…
Read More

Updates on gaps and crossovers

It's that time of year again: results, results and more results. So: For SATS taken by around 600,000 10- and 11-year-olds, I'll let the official DfE announcement speak: "Girls continue to outperform boys across all subjects at the expected standard. In 2019, 70% of girls reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths (combined) compared to 60% of boys, a gender gap of 10 percentage points, up from 8pp in 2018. This has been driven by an increase in the gender gap in reading, where both boys and girls saw a fall in the proportion reaching the expected standard between 2018 and 2019, but the fall was higher for boys…
Read More

Unpacking gender convergence

I’ve been having several discussions recently about reverse convergence.  This is the rather unwieldy term I used in the PP to refer to the need for more men to follow working/career patterns that have traditionally been seen as female, in order to balance the convergence that women are increasingly showing on male patterns–full-time employment, with assumptions that a ‘career’ must involve continuous upward movement. In another life I was secretary of the Association for the Social Study of Time, yet another of the myriad organisations set up by the prolific Michael Young.  Michael and I were interested in the ‘rhythms of society’ – what forms the daily, weekly, termly and annual cycles…
Read More

Universal Basic Income

John Lanchester has written an interesting piece in the latest London Review of Books on what he calls a Good New Idea - an unconditional payment to every citizen, usually called Universal Basic Income.  Lanchester is an excellent exponent of economic issues, and does a good job with UBI (though he fails to mention a more recent report from Guy Standing, and that the Labour Party has recently said it would include in its next manifesto a commitment to piloting UBI in some form). UBI, as Lanchester observes, appeals to both left and right on the political spectrum.  Its universality appeals to the form, with the power to raise poorer people's…
Read More

Career shapes, and leadership

I've been involved in several conversations recently about the shape of careers, and how there is still a lot of work to be done to move beyond the traditional male model of a continuously ascending line, peaking probably around 50 and then sliding downwards.  Of course this doesn't accurately represent millions of men's working lives, but it's still the model that dominates our thinking, consciously or not.  It sidelines all those whose careers might be moving up a grade or three later in life. The most recent conversation was at ShareAction, which does excellent applied work influencing corporate behaviour across a range of issues - most prominently on environmental issues,…
Read More

Nancy Pelosi and later life career trajectories

An excellent piece by Anne-Marie Slaughter in the FT highlights how we need to change the way we visualise career trajectories.  I was greatly impressed by Slaughter's book Unfinished Business, in which she explores the reactions to her decision to leave a very high profile political job, as director of policy planning in Hilary Clinton's State Department, in order to return to a more 'normal' family life in New Jersey.  This was prompted by the difficulties in reconciling parenting of teenage children with an all-consuming job - in spite of having a husband who took major responsibility for the children. Slaughter's decision triggered a huge reaction, much of it bitterly critical.  I…
Read More

Home I’m Darling: a parable on choice

We went earlier this week to see Home I'm Darling, Laura Wade's sparky play about a woman who 'chooses' to stay home and recreate the role of a 1950s housewife - spot-free kitchen, husband-slippering and all.  It's a really original idea:  the recreation is Judy's own, and it mixes commitment to authenticity (clunky frig, relentlessly bright decor) with streaks of contemporary living.  So once husband Johnny is seen out of the door and off to his pedestrian estate agent job, sandwiches in briefcase,  Judy opens the kitchen drawer and pulls out - a laptop.  We are regularly tipped into uncertainty whether hers is a genuine if eccentric lifestyle choice or a delusional…
Read More

Enlightenment

I've just finished Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now.  It's a thoroughly bracing read - bracing in the sense that you sometimes feel that you're having buckets of cold water thrown over you, but also that you emerge as, well, a more enlightened person:  inevitably better informed but also better equipped to defend the values of inquiry, evidence and rationality that are so often missing in today's discussions (cf Brexit passim). Pinker's basic approach on any given issue is to beat you about the head with data, but to do it in such an accessible and stylishly written way that it's mostly a pleasure as well as a lesson.  He covers an implausibly wide…
Read More

Learning and caring

Just a couple of items, before I disappear for a couple of weeks, trekking in the Himalayas (yes, lucky me). First, here's a chart from the Learning & Work Institute's useful data on adult learning. LWI monitors what's going on every year or two; as well as measuring participation levels by all kinds of factor (age, class etc), they ask about the benefits of learning: to the person's job; to their health and wellbeing, and to gaining qualifications. The chart below shows the results on this last one: whether the learning that men and women engage in leads to qualifications, or to more learning. The final column shows a big…
Read More

‘Equal’ and Carrie Gracie

I went last week to a packed meeting of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at Kings College London, to hear Carrie Gracie talking about her book Equal: A Story of Women, Men and Money. Carrie was in conversation with Julia Gillard, ex-PM of Australia and leader of the GIWL. As Carrie pointed out, Julia was impressively well-prepared, with a postit-festooned copy of the book, and the two women's dialogue flowed along very well. The story is that of Carrie's discovery that as BBC's China Editor she was not being paid the same as her male BBC equivalents, in spite of explicit assurances that this would be the case, made…
Read More

Educational Glance: the divide increased

It's that time of year again. OECD has just published its annual Education at a Glance. I was actually working at the OECD in the 1970s (yes, I know...) when EAG was first developed, though I had no hand in it. In those days the title was descriptively accurate - EAG was a slim document you could flip through quickly. Today the title is richly ironic. Anyway, forsaking nostalgia for my youthful time in Paris I turned to the figures for female and male achievement. They confirm the basic trend: women continue to increase their educational lead over men, at every level and in almost every subject. The situation is…
Read More

Updates on gaps and crossovers

It's that time of year again: results, results and more results. So: For SATS taken by around 600,000 10- and 11-year-olds, I'll let the official DfE announcement speak: "Girls continue to outperform boys across all subjects at the expected standard. In 2019, 70% of girls reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths (combined) compared to 60% of boys, a gender gap of 10 percentage points, up from 8pp in 2018. This has been driven by an increase in the gender gap in reading, where both boys and girls saw a fall in the proportion reaching the expected standard between 2018 and 2019, but the fall was higher for boys…
Read More

Unpacking gender convergence

I’ve been having several discussions recently about reverse convergence.  This is the rather unwieldy term I used in the PP to refer to the need for more men to follow working/career patterns that have traditionally been seen as female, in order to balance the convergence that women are increasingly showing on male patterns–full-time employment, with assumptions that a ‘career’ must involve continuous upward movement. In another life I was secretary of the Association for the Social Study of Time, yet another of the myriad organisations set up by the prolific Michael Young.  Michael and I were interested in the ‘rhythms of society’ – what forms the daily, weekly, termly and annual cycles…
Read More

Universal Basic Income

John Lanchester has written an interesting piece in the latest London Review of Books on what he calls a Good New Idea - an unconditional payment to every citizen, usually called Universal Basic Income.  Lanchester is an excellent exponent of economic issues, and does a good job with UBI (though he fails to mention a more recent report from Guy Standing, and that the Labour Party has recently said it would include in its next manifesto a commitment to piloting UBI in some form). UBI, as Lanchester observes, appeals to both left and right on the political spectrum.  Its universality appeals to the form, with the power to raise poorer people's…
Read More

Career shapes, and leadership

I've been involved in several conversations recently about the shape of careers, and how there is still a lot of work to be done to move beyond the traditional male model of a continuously ascending line, peaking probably around 50 and then sliding downwards.  Of course this doesn't accurately represent millions of men's working lives, but it's still the model that dominates our thinking, consciously or not.  It sidelines all those whose careers might be moving up a grade or three later in life. The most recent conversation was at ShareAction, which does excellent applied work influencing corporate behaviour across a range of issues - most prominently on environmental issues,…
Read More

Nancy Pelosi and later life career trajectories

An excellent piece by Anne-Marie Slaughter in the FT highlights how we need to change the way we visualise career trajectories.  I was greatly impressed by Slaughter's book Unfinished Business, in which she explores the reactions to her decision to leave a very high profile political job, as director of policy planning in Hilary Clinton's State Department, in order to return to a more 'normal' family life in New Jersey.  This was prompted by the difficulties in reconciling parenting of teenage children with an all-consuming job - in spite of having a husband who took major responsibility for the children. Slaughter's decision triggered a huge reaction, much of it bitterly critical.  I…
Read More

Home I’m Darling: a parable on choice

We went earlier this week to see Home I'm Darling, Laura Wade's sparky play about a woman who 'chooses' to stay home and recreate the role of a 1950s housewife - spot-free kitchen, husband-slippering and all.  It's a really original idea:  the recreation is Judy's own, and it mixes commitment to authenticity (clunky frig, relentlessly bright decor) with streaks of contemporary living.  So once husband Johnny is seen out of the door and off to his pedestrian estate agent job, sandwiches in briefcase,  Judy opens the kitchen drawer and pulls out - a laptop.  We are regularly tipped into uncertainty whether hers is a genuine if eccentric lifestyle choice or a delusional…
Read More

Enlightenment

I've just finished Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now.  It's a thoroughly bracing read - bracing in the sense that you sometimes feel that you're having buckets of cold water thrown over you, but also that you emerge as, well, a more enlightened person:  inevitably better informed but also better equipped to defend the values of inquiry, evidence and rationality that are so often missing in today's discussions (cf Brexit passim). Pinker's basic approach on any given issue is to beat you about the head with data, but to do it in such an accessible and stylishly written way that it's mostly a pleasure as well as a lesson.  He covers an implausibly wide…
Read More

Learning and caring

Just a couple of items, before I disappear for a couple of weeks, trekking in the Himalayas (yes, lucky me). First, here's a chart from the Learning & Work Institute's useful data on adult learning. LWI monitors what's going on every year or two; as well as measuring participation levels by all kinds of factor (age, class etc), they ask about the benefits of learning: to the person's job; to their health and wellbeing, and to gaining qualifications. The chart below shows the results on this last one: whether the learning that men and women engage in leads to qualifications, or to more learning. The final column shows a big…
Read More

‘Equal’ and Carrie Gracie

I went last week to a packed meeting of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at Kings College London, to hear Carrie Gracie talking about her book Equal: A Story of Women, Men and Money. Carrie was in conversation with Julia Gillard, ex-PM of Australia and leader of the GIWL. As Carrie pointed out, Julia was impressively well-prepared, with a postit-festooned copy of the book, and the two women's dialogue flowed along very well. The story is that of Carrie's discovery that as BBC's China Editor she was not being paid the same as her male BBC equivalents, in spite of explicit assurances that this would be the case, made…
Read More

Educational Glance: the divide increased

It's that time of year again. OECD has just published its annual Education at a Glance. I was actually working at the OECD in the 1970s (yes, I know...) when EAG was first developed, though I had no hand in it. In those days the title was descriptively accurate - EAG was a slim document you could flip through quickly. Today the title is richly ironic. Anyway, forsaking nostalgia for my youthful time in Paris I turned to the figures for female and male achievement. They confirm the basic trend: women continue to increase their educational lead over men, at every level and in almost every subject. The situation is…
Read More

Updates on gaps and crossovers

It's that time of year again: results, results and more results. So: For SATS taken by around 600,000 10- and 11-year-olds, I'll let the official DfE announcement speak: "Girls continue to outperform boys across all subjects at the expected standard. In 2019, 70% of girls reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths (combined) compared to 60% of boys, a gender gap of 10 percentage points, up from 8pp in 2018. This has been driven by an increase in the gender gap in reading, where both boys and girls saw a fall in the proportion reaching the expected standard between 2018 and 2019, but the fall was higher for boys…
Read More

Unpacking gender convergence

I’ve been having several discussions recently about reverse convergence.  This is the rather unwieldy term I used in the PP to refer to the need for more men to follow working/career patterns that have traditionally been seen as female, in order to balance the convergence that women are increasingly showing on male patterns–full-time employment, with assumptions that a ‘career’ must involve continuous upward movement. In another life I was secretary of the Association for the Social Study of Time, yet another of the myriad organisations set up by the prolific Michael Young.  Michael and I were interested in the ‘rhythms of society’ – what forms the daily, weekly, termly and annual cycles…
Read More

Universal Basic Income

John Lanchester has written an interesting piece in the latest London Review of Books on what he calls a Good New Idea - an unconditional payment to every citizen, usually called Universal Basic Income.  Lanchester is an excellent exponent of economic issues, and does a good job with UBI (though he fails to mention a more recent report from Guy Standing, and that the Labour Party has recently said it would include in its next manifesto a commitment to piloting UBI in some form). UBI, as Lanchester observes, appeals to both left and right on the political spectrum.  Its universality appeals to the form, with the power to raise poorer people's…
Read More

Career shapes, and leadership

I've been involved in several conversations recently about the shape of careers, and how there is still a lot of work to be done to move beyond the traditional male model of a continuously ascending line, peaking probably around 50 and then sliding downwards.  Of course this doesn't accurately represent millions of men's working lives, but it's still the model that dominates our thinking, consciously or not.  It sidelines all those whose careers might be moving up a grade or three later in life. The most recent conversation was at ShareAction, which does excellent applied work influencing corporate behaviour across a range of issues - most prominently on environmental issues,…
Read More

Nancy Pelosi and later life career trajectories

An excellent piece by Anne-Marie Slaughter in the FT highlights how we need to change the way we visualise career trajectories.  I was greatly impressed by Slaughter's book Unfinished Business, in which she explores the reactions to her decision to leave a very high profile political job, as director of policy planning in Hilary Clinton's State Department, in order to return to a more 'normal' family life in New Jersey.  This was prompted by the difficulties in reconciling parenting of teenage children with an all-consuming job - in spite of having a husband who took major responsibility for the children. Slaughter's decision triggered a huge reaction, much of it bitterly critical.  I…
Read More

Home I’m Darling: a parable on choice

We went earlier this week to see Home I'm Darling, Laura Wade's sparky play about a woman who 'chooses' to stay home and recreate the role of a 1950s housewife - spot-free kitchen, husband-slippering and all.  It's a really original idea:  the recreation is Judy's own, and it mixes commitment to authenticity (clunky frig, relentlessly bright decor) with streaks of contemporary living.  So once husband Johnny is seen out of the door and off to his pedestrian estate agent job, sandwiches in briefcase,  Judy opens the kitchen drawer and pulls out - a laptop.  We are regularly tipped into uncertainty whether hers is a genuine if eccentric lifestyle choice or a delusional…
Read More

Enlightenment

I've just finished Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now.  It's a thoroughly bracing read - bracing in the sense that you sometimes feel that you're having buckets of cold water thrown over you, but also that you emerge as, well, a more enlightened person:  inevitably better informed but also better equipped to defend the values of inquiry, evidence and rationality that are so often missing in today's discussions (cf Brexit passim). Pinker's basic approach on any given issue is to beat you about the head with data, but to do it in such an accessible and stylishly written way that it's mostly a pleasure as well as a lesson.  He covers an implausibly wide…
Read More

Learning and caring

Just a couple of items, before I disappear for a couple of weeks, trekking in the Himalayas (yes, lucky me). First, here's a chart from the Learning & Work Institute's useful data on adult learning. LWI monitors what's going on every year or two; as well as measuring participation levels by all kinds of factor (age, class etc), they ask about the benefits of learning: to the person's job; to their health and wellbeing, and to gaining qualifications. The chart below shows the results on this last one: whether the learning that men and women engage in leads to qualifications, or to more learning. The final column shows a big…
Read More

‘Equal’ and Carrie Gracie

I went last week to a packed meeting of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at Kings College London, to hear Carrie Gracie talking about her book Equal: A Story of Women, Men and Money. Carrie was in conversation with Julia Gillard, ex-PM of Australia and leader of the GIWL. As Carrie pointed out, Julia was impressively well-prepared, with a postit-festooned copy of the book, and the two women's dialogue flowed along very well. The story is that of Carrie's discovery that as BBC's China Editor she was not being paid the same as her male BBC equivalents, in spite of explicit assurances that this would be the case, made…
Read More

Educational Glance: the divide increased

It's that time of year again. OECD has just published its annual Education at a Glance. I was actually working at the OECD in the 1970s (yes, I know...) when EAG was first developed, though I had no hand in it. In those days the title was descriptively accurate - EAG was a slim document you could flip through quickly. Today the title is richly ironic. Anyway, forsaking nostalgia for my youthful time in Paris I turned to the figures for female and male achievement. They confirm the basic trend: women continue to increase their educational lead over men, at every level and in almost every subject. The situation is…
Read More

Updates on gaps and crossovers

It's that time of year again: results, results and more results. So: For SATS taken by around 600,000 10- and 11-year-olds, I'll let the official DfE announcement speak: "Girls continue to outperform boys across all subjects at the expected standard. In 2019, 70% of girls reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths (combined) compared to 60% of boys, a gender gap of 10 percentage points, up from 8pp in 2018. This has been driven by an increase in the gender gap in reading, where both boys and girls saw a fall in the proportion reaching the expected standard between 2018 and 2019, but the fall was higher for boys…
Read More

Unpacking gender convergence

I’ve been having several discussions recently about reverse convergence.  This is the rather unwieldy term I used in the PP to refer to the need for more men to follow working/career patterns that have traditionally been seen as female, in order to balance the convergence that women are increasingly showing on male patterns–full-time employment, with assumptions that a ‘career’ must involve continuous upward movement. In another life I was secretary of the Association for the Social Study of Time, yet another of the myriad organisations set up by the prolific Michael Young.  Michael and I were interested in the ‘rhythms of society’ – what forms the daily, weekly, termly and annual cycles…
Read More

Universal Basic Income

John Lanchester has written an interesting piece in the latest London Review of Books on what he calls a Good New Idea - an unconditional payment to every citizen, usually called Universal Basic Income.  Lanchester is an excellent exponent of economic issues, and does a good job with UBI (though he fails to mention a more recent report from Guy Standing, and that the Labour Party has recently said it would include in its next manifesto a commitment to piloting UBI in some form). UBI, as Lanchester observes, appeals to both left and right on the political spectrum.  Its universality appeals to the form, with the power to raise poorer people's…
Read More

Career shapes, and leadership

I've been involved in several conversations recently about the shape of careers, and how there is still a lot of work to be done to move beyond the traditional male model of a continuously ascending line, peaking probably around 50 and then sliding downwards.  Of course this doesn't accurately represent millions of men's working lives, but it's still the model that dominates our thinking, consciously or not.  It sidelines all those whose careers might be moving up a grade or three later in life. The most recent conversation was at ShareAction, which does excellent applied work influencing corporate behaviour across a range of issues - most prominently on environmental issues,…
Read More

Nancy Pelosi and later life career trajectories

An excellent piece by Anne-Marie Slaughter in the FT highlights how we need to change the way we visualise career trajectories.  I was greatly impressed by Slaughter's book Unfinished Business, in which she explores the reactions to her decision to leave a very high profile political job, as director of policy planning in Hilary Clinton's State Department, in order to return to a more 'normal' family life in New Jersey.  This was prompted by the difficulties in reconciling parenting of teenage children with an all-consuming job - in spite of having a husband who took major responsibility for the children. Slaughter's decision triggered a huge reaction, much of it bitterly critical.  I…
Read More

Home I’m Darling: a parable on choice

We went earlier this week to see Home I'm Darling, Laura Wade's sparky play about a woman who 'chooses' to stay home and recreate the role of a 1950s housewife - spot-free kitchen, husband-slippering and all.  It's a really original idea:  the recreation is Judy's own, and it mixes commitment to authenticity (clunky frig, relentlessly bright decor) with streaks of contemporary living.  So once husband Johnny is seen out of the door and off to his pedestrian estate agent job, sandwiches in briefcase,  Judy opens the kitchen drawer and pulls out - a laptop.  We are regularly tipped into uncertainty whether hers is a genuine if eccentric lifestyle choice or a delusional…
Read More

Enlightenment

I've just finished Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now.  It's a thoroughly bracing read - bracing in the sense that you sometimes feel that you're having buckets of cold water thrown over you, but also that you emerge as, well, a more enlightened person:  inevitably better informed but also better equipped to defend the values of inquiry, evidence and rationality that are so often missing in today's discussions (cf Brexit passim). Pinker's basic approach on any given issue is to beat you about the head with data, but to do it in such an accessible and stylishly written way that it's mostly a pleasure as well as a lesson.  He covers an implausibly wide…
Read More

Learning and caring

Just a couple of items, before I disappear for a couple of weeks, trekking in the Himalayas (yes, lucky me). First, here's a chart from the Learning & Work Institute's useful data on adult learning. LWI monitors what's going on every year or two; as well as measuring participation levels by all kinds of factor (age, class etc), they ask about the benefits of learning: to the person's job; to their health and wellbeing, and to gaining qualifications. The chart below shows the results on this last one: whether the learning that men and women engage in leads to qualifications, or to more learning. The final column shows a big…
Read More

‘Equal’ and Carrie Gracie

I went last week to a packed meeting of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at Kings College London, to hear Carrie Gracie talking about her book Equal: A Story of Women, Men and Money. Carrie was in conversation with Julia Gillard, ex-PM of Australia and leader of the GIWL. As Carrie pointed out, Julia was impressively well-prepared, with a postit-festooned copy of the book, and the two women's dialogue flowed along very well. The story is that of Carrie's discovery that as BBC's China Editor she was not being paid the same as her male BBC equivalents, in spite of explicit assurances that this would be the case, made…
Read More

Educational Glance: the divide increased

It's that time of year again. OECD has just published its annual Education at a Glance. I was actually working at the OECD in the 1970s (yes, I know...) when EAG was first developed, though I had no hand in it. In those days the title was descriptively accurate - EAG was a slim document you could flip through quickly. Today the title is richly ironic. Anyway, forsaking nostalgia for my youthful time in Paris I turned to the figures for female and male achievement. They confirm the basic trend: women continue to increase their educational lead over men, at every level and in almost every subject. The situation is…
Read More

Updates on gaps and crossovers

It's that time of year again: results, results and more results. So: For SATS taken by around 600,000 10- and 11-year-olds, I'll let the official DfE announcement speak: "Girls continue to outperform boys across all subjects at the expected standard. In 2019, 70% of girls reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths (combined) compared to 60% of boys, a gender gap of 10 percentage points, up from 8pp in 2018. This has been driven by an increase in the gender gap in reading, where both boys and girls saw a fall in the proportion reaching the expected standard between 2018 and 2019, but the fall was higher for boys…
Read More

Unpacking gender convergence

I’ve been having several discussions recently about reverse convergence.  This is the rather unwieldy term I used in the PP to refer to the need for more men to follow working/career patterns that have traditionally been seen as female, in order to balance the convergence that women are increasingly showing on male patterns–full-time employment, with assumptions that a ‘career’ must involve continuous upward movement. In another life I was secretary of the Association for the Social Study of Time, yet another of the myriad organisations set up by the prolific Michael Young.  Michael and I were interested in the ‘rhythms of society’ – what forms the daily, weekly, termly and annual cycles…
Read More

Universal Basic Income

John Lanchester has written an interesting piece in the latest London Review of Books on what he calls a Good New Idea - an unconditional payment to every citizen, usually called Universal Basic Income.  Lanchester is an excellent exponent of economic issues, and does a good job with UBI (though he fails to mention a more recent report from Guy Standing, and that the Labour Party has recently said it would include in its next manifesto a commitment to piloting UBI in some form). UBI, as Lanchester observes, appeals to both left and right on the political spectrum.  Its universality appeals to the form, with the power to raise poorer people's…
Read More

Career shapes, and leadership

I've been involved in several conversations recently about the shape of careers, and how there is still a lot of work to be done to move beyond the traditional male model of a continuously ascending line, peaking probably around 50 and then sliding downwards.  Of course this doesn't accurately represent millions of men's working lives, but it's still the model that dominates our thinking, consciously or not.  It sidelines all those whose careers might be moving up a grade or three later in life. The most recent conversation was at ShareAction, which does excellent applied work influencing corporate behaviour across a range of issues - most prominently on environmental issues,…
Read More

Nancy Pelosi and later life career trajectories

An excellent piece by Anne-Marie Slaughter in the FT highlights how we need to change the way we visualise career trajectories.  I was greatly impressed by Slaughter's book Unfinished Business, in which she explores the reactions to her decision to leave a very high profile political job, as director of policy planning in Hilary Clinton's State Department, in order to return to a more 'normal' family life in New Jersey.  This was prompted by the difficulties in reconciling parenting of teenage children with an all-consuming job - in spite of having a husband who took major responsibility for the children. Slaughter's decision triggered a huge reaction, much of it bitterly critical.  I…
Read More

Home I’m Darling: a parable on choice

We went earlier this week to see Home I'm Darling, Laura Wade's sparky play about a woman who 'chooses' to stay home and recreate the role of a 1950s housewife - spot-free kitchen, husband-slippering and all.  It's a really original idea:  the recreation is Judy's own, and it mixes commitment to authenticity (clunky frig, relentlessly bright decor) with streaks of contemporary living.  So once husband Johnny is seen out of the door and off to his pedestrian estate agent job, sandwiches in briefcase,  Judy opens the kitchen drawer and pulls out - a laptop.  We are regularly tipped into uncertainty whether hers is a genuine if eccentric lifestyle choice or a delusional…
Read More

Enlightenment

I've just finished Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now.  It's a thoroughly bracing read - bracing in the sense that you sometimes feel that you're having buckets of cold water thrown over you, but also that you emerge as, well, a more enlightened person:  inevitably better informed but also better equipped to defend the values of inquiry, evidence and rationality that are so often missing in today's discussions (cf Brexit passim). Pinker's basic approach on any given issue is to beat you about the head with data, but to do it in such an accessible and stylishly written way that it's mostly a pleasure as well as a lesson.  He covers an implausibly wide…
Read More