The Paula Principle

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

GPG reporting

We're into Year 2 of mandatory reporting on Gender Pay Gaps, and there is a certain frisson of excitement around what progress has or has not been made since the first results were published last year.  Three data points are of course much better than two, so next year might be the first one to give us a true sense of trajectory, but there will be a lot of interest to see how far companies have moved.  And in what direction - it's not at all certain that they will all see a narrowing of the gap. I attended one meeting, organised jointly by London Business School and King's College…
Read More

Gloria’s crossover

I'm just back from a very invigorating couple of weeks in the US.  We found ourselves visiting a number of new museums, in Washington, Atlanta, Montgomery and New Orleans, all of them dealing more or less directly with the history or legacy of slavery.   American museums seem to me very well designed, and make good use of interactive technologies. I've listed them at the end in case you're interested. But this post is prompted by the final event in our holiday - a theatre visit in New York to a play dealing with Gloria Steinem's life.  I say a play, but in fact it was to our minds a…
Read More

Networks, twice over

You may or may not recall that the fourth factor underpinning the Paula Principle is lack of vertical networks. Men are more likely to know people working at levels above them.  As a result they get better access to those levels, either for specific reasons such as hearing about job opportunities or for much more general ones such as understanding how organisations or systems work, the vocabulary that gets used at senior level and so on.  Nepotism may play a part, but in a way that's the least interesting aspect of this somewhat vicious circle: men are more likely to know more senior people, and so to become more senior themselves.…
Read More

Working Like A Woman

Work Like A Woman is Mary Portas' manifesto for change in the way we look at how our places of work are run.  Mary and I swapped books a little before Xmas, and I've just emerged from her bracing account of what she's learnt from a somewhat unusual life.  I say 'bracing' but I did also feel as if I needed a short lie down after finishing it. The manifesto itself comes at the end and is tailored for different age groups.  Her proposals make eminent sense to me, and my daughters will be getting copies of the sections for their respective decades.  They are stuffed with challenging and yet…
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

GPG reporting

We're into Year 2 of mandatory reporting on Gender Pay Gaps, and there is a certain frisson of excitement around what progress has or has not been made since the first results were published last year.  Three data points are of course much better than two, so next year might be the first one to give us a true sense of trajectory, but there will be a lot of interest to see how far companies have moved.  And in what direction - it's not at all certain that they will all see a narrowing of the gap. I attended one meeting, organised jointly by London Business School and King's College…
Read More

Gloria’s crossover

I'm just back from a very invigorating couple of weeks in the US.  We found ourselves visiting a number of new museums, in Washington, Atlanta, Montgomery and New Orleans, all of them dealing more or less directly with the history or legacy of slavery.   American museums seem to me very well designed, and make good use of interactive technologies. I've listed them at the end in case you're interested. But this post is prompted by the final event in our holiday - a theatre visit in New York to a play dealing with Gloria Steinem's life.  I say a play, but in fact it was to our minds a…
Read More

Networks, twice over

You may or may not recall that the fourth factor underpinning the Paula Principle is lack of vertical networks. Men are more likely to know people working at levels above them.  As a result they get better access to those levels, either for specific reasons such as hearing about job opportunities or for much more general ones such as understanding how organisations or systems work, the vocabulary that gets used at senior level and so on.  Nepotism may play a part, but in a way that's the least interesting aspect of this somewhat vicious circle: men are more likely to know more senior people, and so to become more senior themselves.…
Read More

Working Like A Woman

Work Like A Woman is Mary Portas' manifesto for change in the way we look at how our places of work are run.  Mary and I swapped books a little before Xmas, and I've just emerged from her bracing account of what she's learnt from a somewhat unusual life.  I say 'bracing' but I did also feel as if I needed a short lie down after finishing it. The manifesto itself comes at the end and is tailored for different age groups.  Her proposals make eminent sense to me, and my daughters will be getting copies of the sections for their respective decades.  They are stuffed with challenging and yet…
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

GPG reporting

We're into Year 2 of mandatory reporting on Gender Pay Gaps, and there is a certain frisson of excitement around what progress has or has not been made since the first results were published last year.  Three data points are of course much better than two, so next year might be the first one to give us a true sense of trajectory, but there will be a lot of interest to see how far companies have moved.  And in what direction - it's not at all certain that they will all see a narrowing of the gap. I attended one meeting, organised jointly by London Business School and King's College…
Read More

Gloria’s crossover

I'm just back from a very invigorating couple of weeks in the US.  We found ourselves visiting a number of new museums, in Washington, Atlanta, Montgomery and New Orleans, all of them dealing more or less directly with the history or legacy of slavery.   American museums seem to me very well designed, and make good use of interactive technologies. I've listed them at the end in case you're interested. But this post is prompted by the final event in our holiday - a theatre visit in New York to a play dealing with Gloria Steinem's life.  I say a play, but in fact it was to our minds a…
Read More

Networks, twice over

You may or may not recall that the fourth factor underpinning the Paula Principle is lack of vertical networks. Men are more likely to know people working at levels above them.  As a result they get better access to those levels, either for specific reasons such as hearing about job opportunities or for much more general ones such as understanding how organisations or systems work, the vocabulary that gets used at senior level and so on.  Nepotism may play a part, but in a way that's the least interesting aspect of this somewhat vicious circle: men are more likely to know more senior people, and so to become more senior themselves.…
Read More

Working Like A Woman

Work Like A Woman is Mary Portas' manifesto for change in the way we look at how our places of work are run.  Mary and I swapped books a little before Xmas, and I've just emerged from her bracing account of what she's learnt from a somewhat unusual life.  I say 'bracing' but I did also feel as if I needed a short lie down after finishing it. The manifesto itself comes at the end and is tailored for different age groups.  Her proposals make eminent sense to me, and my daughters will be getting copies of the sections for their respective decades.  They are stuffed with challenging and yet…
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

GPG reporting

We're into Year 2 of mandatory reporting on Gender Pay Gaps, and there is a certain frisson of excitement around what progress has or has not been made since the first results were published last year.  Three data points are of course much better than two, so next year might be the first one to give us a true sense of trajectory, but there will be a lot of interest to see how far companies have moved.  And in what direction - it's not at all certain that they will all see a narrowing of the gap. I attended one meeting, organised jointly by London Business School and King's College…
Read More

Gloria’s crossover

I'm just back from a very invigorating couple of weeks in the US.  We found ourselves visiting a number of new museums, in Washington, Atlanta, Montgomery and New Orleans, all of them dealing more or less directly with the history or legacy of slavery.   American museums seem to me very well designed, and make good use of interactive technologies. I've listed them at the end in case you're interested. But this post is prompted by the final event in our holiday - a theatre visit in New York to a play dealing with Gloria Steinem's life.  I say a play, but in fact it was to our minds a…
Read More

Networks, twice over

You may or may not recall that the fourth factor underpinning the Paula Principle is lack of vertical networks. Men are more likely to know people working at levels above them.  As a result they get better access to those levels, either for specific reasons such as hearing about job opportunities or for much more general ones such as understanding how organisations or systems work, the vocabulary that gets used at senior level and so on.  Nepotism may play a part, but in a way that's the least interesting aspect of this somewhat vicious circle: men are more likely to know more senior people, and so to become more senior themselves.…
Read More

Working Like A Woman

Work Like A Woman is Mary Portas' manifesto for change in the way we look at how our places of work are run.  Mary and I swapped books a little before Xmas, and I've just emerged from her bracing account of what she's learnt from a somewhat unusual life.  I say 'bracing' but I did also feel as if I needed a short lie down after finishing it. The manifesto itself comes at the end and is tailored for different age groups.  Her proposals make eminent sense to me, and my daughters will be getting copies of the sections for their respective decades.  They are stuffed with challenging and yet…
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

GPG reporting

We're into Year 2 of mandatory reporting on Gender Pay Gaps, and there is a certain frisson of excitement around what progress has or has not been made since the first results were published last year.  Three data points are of course much better than two, so next year might be the first one to give us a true sense of trajectory, but there will be a lot of interest to see how far companies have moved.  And in what direction - it's not at all certain that they will all see a narrowing of the gap. I attended one meeting, organised jointly by London Business School and King's College…
Read More

Gloria’s crossover

I'm just back from a very invigorating couple of weeks in the US.  We found ourselves visiting a number of new museums, in Washington, Atlanta, Montgomery and New Orleans, all of them dealing more or less directly with the history or legacy of slavery.   American museums seem to me very well designed, and make good use of interactive technologies. I've listed them at the end in case you're interested. But this post is prompted by the final event in our holiday - a theatre visit in New York to a play dealing with Gloria Steinem's life.  I say a play, but in fact it was to our minds a…
Read More

Networks, twice over

You may or may not recall that the fourth factor underpinning the Paula Principle is lack of vertical networks. Men are more likely to know people working at levels above them.  As a result they get better access to those levels, either for specific reasons such as hearing about job opportunities or for much more general ones such as understanding how organisations or systems work, the vocabulary that gets used at senior level and so on.  Nepotism may play a part, but in a way that's the least interesting aspect of this somewhat vicious circle: men are more likely to know more senior people, and so to become more senior themselves.…
Read More

Working Like A Woman

Work Like A Woman is Mary Portas' manifesto for change in the way we look at how our places of work are run.  Mary and I swapped books a little before Xmas, and I've just emerged from her bracing account of what she's learnt from a somewhat unusual life.  I say 'bracing' but I did also feel as if I needed a short lie down after finishing it. The manifesto itself comes at the end and is tailored for different age groups.  Her proposals make eminent sense to me, and my daughters will be getting copies of the sections for their respective decades.  They are stuffed with challenging and yet…
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

GPG reporting

We're into Year 2 of mandatory reporting on Gender Pay Gaps, and there is a certain frisson of excitement around what progress has or has not been made since the first results were published last year.  Three data points are of course much better than two, so next year might be the first one to give us a true sense of trajectory, but there will be a lot of interest to see how far companies have moved.  And in what direction - it's not at all certain that they will all see a narrowing of the gap. I attended one meeting, organised jointly by London Business School and King's College…
Read More

Gloria’s crossover

I'm just back from a very invigorating couple of weeks in the US.  We found ourselves visiting a number of new museums, in Washington, Atlanta, Montgomery and New Orleans, all of them dealing more or less directly with the history or legacy of slavery.   American museums seem to me very well designed, and make good use of interactive technologies. I've listed them at the end in case you're interested. But this post is prompted by the final event in our holiday - a theatre visit in New York to a play dealing with Gloria Steinem's life.  I say a play, but in fact it was to our minds a…
Read More

Networks, twice over

You may or may not recall that the fourth factor underpinning the Paula Principle is lack of vertical networks. Men are more likely to know people working at levels above them.  As a result they get better access to those levels, either for specific reasons such as hearing about job opportunities or for much more general ones such as understanding how organisations or systems work, the vocabulary that gets used at senior level and so on.  Nepotism may play a part, but in a way that's the least interesting aspect of this somewhat vicious circle: men are more likely to know more senior people, and so to become more senior themselves.…
Read More

Working Like A Woman

Work Like A Woman is Mary Portas' manifesto for change in the way we look at how our places of work are run.  Mary and I swapped books a little before Xmas, and I've just emerged from her bracing account of what she's learnt from a somewhat unusual life.  I say 'bracing' but I did also feel as if I needed a short lie down after finishing it. The manifesto itself comes at the end and is tailored for different age groups.  Her proposals make eminent sense to me, and my daughters will be getting copies of the sections for their respective decades.  They are stuffed with challenging and yet…
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

GPG reporting

We're into Year 2 of mandatory reporting on Gender Pay Gaps, and there is a certain frisson of excitement around what progress has or has not been made since the first results were published last year.  Three data points are of course much better than two, so next year might be the first one to give us a true sense of trajectory, but there will be a lot of interest to see how far companies have moved.  And in what direction - it's not at all certain that they will all see a narrowing of the gap. I attended one meeting, organised jointly by London Business School and King's College…
Read More

Gloria’s crossover

I'm just back from a very invigorating couple of weeks in the US.  We found ourselves visiting a number of new museums, in Washington, Atlanta, Montgomery and New Orleans, all of them dealing more or less directly with the history or legacy of slavery.   American museums seem to me very well designed, and make good use of interactive technologies. I've listed them at the end in case you're interested. But this post is prompted by the final event in our holiday - a theatre visit in New York to a play dealing with Gloria Steinem's life.  I say a play, but in fact it was to our minds a…
Read More

Networks, twice over

You may or may not recall that the fourth factor underpinning the Paula Principle is lack of vertical networks. Men are more likely to know people working at levels above them.  As a result they get better access to those levels, either for specific reasons such as hearing about job opportunities or for much more general ones such as understanding how organisations or systems work, the vocabulary that gets used at senior level and so on.  Nepotism may play a part, but in a way that's the least interesting aspect of this somewhat vicious circle: men are more likely to know more senior people, and so to become more senior themselves.…
Read More

Working Like A Woman

Work Like A Woman is Mary Portas' manifesto for change in the way we look at how our places of work are run.  Mary and I swapped books a little before Xmas, and I've just emerged from her bracing account of what she's learnt from a somewhat unusual life.  I say 'bracing' but I did also feel as if I needed a short lie down after finishing it. The manifesto itself comes at the end and is tailored for different age groups.  Her proposals make eminent sense to me, and my daughters will be getting copies of the sections for their respective decades.  They are stuffed with challenging and yet…
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

GPG reporting

We're into Year 2 of mandatory reporting on Gender Pay Gaps, and there is a certain frisson of excitement around what progress has or has not been made since the first results were published last year.  Three data points are of course much better than two, so next year might be the first one to give us a true sense of trajectory, but there will be a lot of interest to see how far companies have moved.  And in what direction - it's not at all certain that they will all see a narrowing of the gap. I attended one meeting, organised jointly by London Business School and King's College…
Read More

Gloria’s crossover

I'm just back from a very invigorating couple of weeks in the US.  We found ourselves visiting a number of new museums, in Washington, Atlanta, Montgomery and New Orleans, all of them dealing more or less directly with the history or legacy of slavery.   American museums seem to me very well designed, and make good use of interactive technologies. I've listed them at the end in case you're interested. But this post is prompted by the final event in our holiday - a theatre visit in New York to a play dealing with Gloria Steinem's life.  I say a play, but in fact it was to our minds a…
Read More

Networks, twice over

You may or may not recall that the fourth factor underpinning the Paula Principle is lack of vertical networks. Men are more likely to know people working at levels above them.  As a result they get better access to those levels, either for specific reasons such as hearing about job opportunities or for much more general ones such as understanding how organisations or systems work, the vocabulary that gets used at senior level and so on.  Nepotism may play a part, but in a way that's the least interesting aspect of this somewhat vicious circle: men are more likely to know more senior people, and so to become more senior themselves.…
Read More

Working Like A Woman

Work Like A Woman is Mary Portas' manifesto for change in the way we look at how our places of work are run.  Mary and I swapped books a little before Xmas, and I've just emerged from her bracing account of what she's learnt from a somewhat unusual life.  I say 'bracing' but I did also feel as if I needed a short lie down after finishing it. The manifesto itself comes at the end and is tailored for different age groups.  Her proposals make eminent sense to me, and my daughters will be getting copies of the sections for their respective decades.  They are stuffed with challenging and yet…
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

GPG reporting

We're into Year 2 of mandatory reporting on Gender Pay Gaps, and there is a certain frisson of excitement around what progress has or has not been made since the first results were published last year.  Three data points are of course much better than two, so next year might be the first one to give us a true sense of trajectory, but there will be a lot of interest to see how far companies have moved.  And in what direction - it's not at all certain that they will all see a narrowing of the gap. I attended one meeting, organised jointly by London Business School and King's College…
Read More

Gloria’s crossover

I'm just back from a very invigorating couple of weeks in the US.  We found ourselves visiting a number of new museums, in Washington, Atlanta, Montgomery and New Orleans, all of them dealing more or less directly with the history or legacy of slavery.   American museums seem to me very well designed, and make good use of interactive technologies. I've listed them at the end in case you're interested. But this post is prompted by the final event in our holiday - a theatre visit in New York to a play dealing with Gloria Steinem's life.  I say a play, but in fact it was to our minds a…
Read More

Networks, twice over

You may or may not recall that the fourth factor underpinning the Paula Principle is lack of vertical networks. Men are more likely to know people working at levels above them.  As a result they get better access to those levels, either for specific reasons such as hearing about job opportunities or for much more general ones such as understanding how organisations or systems work, the vocabulary that gets used at senior level and so on.  Nepotism may play a part, but in a way that's the least interesting aspect of this somewhat vicious circle: men are more likely to know more senior people, and so to become more senior themselves.…
Read More

Working Like A Woman

Work Like A Woman is Mary Portas' manifesto for change in the way we look at how our places of work are run.  Mary and I swapped books a little before Xmas, and I've just emerged from her bracing account of what she's learnt from a somewhat unusual life.  I say 'bracing' but I did also feel as if I needed a short lie down after finishing it. The manifesto itself comes at the end and is tailored for different age groups.  Her proposals make eminent sense to me, and my daughters will be getting copies of the sections for their respective decades.  They are stuffed with challenging and yet…
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

GPG reporting

We're into Year 2 of mandatory reporting on Gender Pay Gaps, and there is a certain frisson of excitement around what progress has or has not been made since the first results were published last year.  Three data points are of course much better than two, so next year might be the first one to give us a true sense of trajectory, but there will be a lot of interest to see how far companies have moved.  And in what direction - it's not at all certain that they will all see a narrowing of the gap. I attended one meeting, organised jointly by London Business School and King's College…
Read More

Gloria’s crossover

I'm just back from a very invigorating couple of weeks in the US.  We found ourselves visiting a number of new museums, in Washington, Atlanta, Montgomery and New Orleans, all of them dealing more or less directly with the history or legacy of slavery.   American museums seem to me very well designed, and make good use of interactive technologies. I've listed them at the end in case you're interested. But this post is prompted by the final event in our holiday - a theatre visit in New York to a play dealing with Gloria Steinem's life.  I say a play, but in fact it was to our minds a…
Read More

Networks, twice over

You may or may not recall that the fourth factor underpinning the Paula Principle is lack of vertical networks. Men are more likely to know people working at levels above them.  As a result they get better access to those levels, either for specific reasons such as hearing about job opportunities or for much more general ones such as understanding how organisations or systems work, the vocabulary that gets used at senior level and so on.  Nepotism may play a part, but in a way that's the least interesting aspect of this somewhat vicious circle: men are more likely to know more senior people, and so to become more senior themselves.…
Read More

Working Like A Woman

Work Like A Woman is Mary Portas' manifesto for change in the way we look at how our places of work are run.  Mary and I swapped books a little before Xmas, and I've just emerged from her bracing account of what she's learnt from a somewhat unusual life.  I say 'bracing' but I did also feel as if I needed a short lie down after finishing it. The manifesto itself comes at the end and is tailored for different age groups.  Her proposals make eminent sense to me, and my daughters will be getting copies of the sections for their respective decades.  They are stuffed with challenging and yet…
Read More