Ambassadors for women at work

I find myself in the unlikely company of Ivana Trump and Jim Yong Kim. The 'US first daughter' and the president of the WB wrote a joint piece yesterday in the Financial Times on the enormous dividends which would flow from greater  economic participation by women. They point to better board level decision making; higher productivity; and more household spending on food, education and health.   They identify blocks to realising these benefits:  lower access to finance; legislative constraints, for example on land ownership ; and narrower occupational options. I'll sign up to all of that.  A broad consensus is clearly emerging.... Two other PP-relevant newspaper items caught my eye.  A Sunday…
Read More

LRB’s power pieces

Two excellent PP-relevant pieces in a recent issue of the London Review of Books. One is a review by David Runciman of a book on Theresa May which sums up her trajectory to power in a way that really helped me get a fix on the PM's outlook and attitude.  Especially telling is the contrast he draws between May and David Cameron, at several points in their political careers.  Cameron is ...all posh-boy charm and insouciance, flying by the seat of his pants with the aid of his network of well-connected chums.  May is earnest and diligent, apparently less opportunistic and more willing to assess things on their merits. And…
Read More

Late Fragments and careers

I've just finished Kate Gross's intensively poignant Late Fragments.  Kate died of cancer in 2014, aged 36, and wrote the book as a memoir for her little twin boys.  She manages a wonderful balance between huge sadness for the life, and family, that she is leaving and affirmation that even the short spell she had left to live was something to appreciate and enjoy - not by doing a bucket list of activity but just in itself. Kate was highly ambitious.  She had been Private Secretary to Tony Blair in No 10 Downing St, and was running a high profile NGO called the Africa Government Initiative when the cancer struck.  She…
Read More

Gender pay – and careers – gap

The media are alive with the sound of commentary on the regulations that come into play today, requiring companies with over 250 employees to report on gender and pay.   Amongst the central requirements are information on mean and median pay and bonuses for men and women. But it's important that the requirements also include the duty to report on the proportions of  women and men at four different pay bands - quartiles - in the organisation.  This is at least a start on giving a profile to careers and progression, and not only to money.  It's this focus on careers - occupational progression over time, at whatever level and…
Read More

Cousin conversations

My Scottish grandmother had 8 grandchildren.  As kids we assembled annually in Auchenblae and enjoyed swimming in the North Sea south of Aberdeen.  I say 'enjoyed' , and I think we genuinely did, though a trip there last summer and a dipping of toe into  water makes me wonder how. Growing up we went our own ways, but Grannie's funeral - decades ago now - brought us together again as adults.  Ever since we've met from time to time, and last Sunday some of us had lunch together.  It was just after the PP's publication, and so there was a bit of backchat on the book.  Without breaching family confidentiality…
Read More

Comments: selections from a Guardian thread

Well, the PP was finally published last week, and we had a nice launch at Waterstone's in Gower St.  The Scribe PR team (i.e. Sarah) have been doing a great promotion job.  At the weekend we had a piece published on the Guardian/Observer website.  It provoked some excellent comments - of course the abusive ones were removed, but there was a good mixture of thoughtful and critical responses, including a number of relevant personal experiences.  A sample below: From FelonMarmer, on the Peter Principle: "one of the major aspects to incompetence is the failure to recognise competence in others - so once someone who is incompetent is put into a…
Read More

Queen of carbon

Mildred Dresselhaus died recently.  I'm afraid I'd never heard of her - a comment on my scientific literacy - but she was a great chemist, known among academics as the queen of carbon.  According to the Financial Times'  obituary, she helped to lay the foundations for nanotechnology, and published 1700 scientific papers as well as eight books.  That's some record for someone born into a poor Polish immigrant family, who went on to have four children herself. Dresselhaus received the $1million Kavli prize in nanoscience in 2012, and in 2014 the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the US. So, a remarkable women, who also worked hard to…
Read More

Going Dutch?

I've said before - many times - that we need to rethink our approach to part-time work.  This is increasingly obvious in the light of the changing nature of employment generally, and not only in relation to the PP.   Included in this rethinking should be proposals for new ways of classifying part-timers.  The simplistic binary division into full-time and part-time has to go if women's careers and competences are to get a fair shout. In the last chapter of the PP book I suggest that we might restrict 'part-time' to work that is 8 hours a week or less, i.e. that is genuinely marginal.  This may be a step…
Read More

Clara Zetkin and International Women’s Day

My PP book will be published on March 8 - International Women's Day.  So it was with particular interest that I read in Richard Evans' magisterial account of the C19, The Pursuit of Power, that IWD was founded in Copenhagen in 1910, by Clara Zetkin. Zetkin was obviously a powerhouse.  She was born in Saxony, daughter of a German schoolmaster and his highly educated French wife.  She travelled for a while around Europe with the Russian revolutionary Ossip Zetkin, and later married an artist 18 years younger than she.  Back in Germany she took over a feminist magazine, renamed it Die Gleichheit (Equality), and took its circulation up to 125,000 by 1914.  That's…
Read More

Convergence and difference: Brenda Barnes and cancer rates

My eye was caught recently by obituaries of Brenda Barnes.  She was obviously a remarkable woman: third of seven daughters of a pipe fitter who started as a nightshift mail sorter in Chicago and rose to be CEO of Pepsicola. In 1997 Barnes resigned, choosing to focus on her three children - sparking a major debate on worklife balance on the one hand, and whether she had 'betrayed' the cause on the other (just as Anne-Marie Slaughter did 15 or so years later). Barnes had cracked the glass ceiling once (and in this case the metaphor is apt;  though in general I prefer to focus on levels below these top…
Read More

Ambassadors for women at work

I find myself in the unlikely company of Ivana Trump and Jim Yong Kim. The 'US first daughter' and the president of the WB wrote a joint piece yesterday in the Financial Times on the enormous dividends which would flow from greater  economic participation by women. They point to better board level decision making; higher productivity; and more household spending on food, education and health.   They identify blocks to realising these benefits:  lower access to finance; legislative constraints, for example on land ownership ; and narrower occupational options. I'll sign up to all of that.  A broad consensus is clearly emerging.... Two other PP-relevant newspaper items caught my eye.  A Sunday…
Read More

LRB’s power pieces

Two excellent PP-relevant pieces in a recent issue of the London Review of Books. One is a review by David Runciman of a book on Theresa May which sums up her trajectory to power in a way that really helped me get a fix on the PM's outlook and attitude.  Especially telling is the contrast he draws between May and David Cameron, at several points in their political careers.  Cameron is ...all posh-boy charm and insouciance, flying by the seat of his pants with the aid of his network of well-connected chums.  May is earnest and diligent, apparently less opportunistic and more willing to assess things on their merits. And…
Read More

Late Fragments and careers

I've just finished Kate Gross's intensively poignant Late Fragments.  Kate died of cancer in 2014, aged 36, and wrote the book as a memoir for her little twin boys.  She manages a wonderful balance between huge sadness for the life, and family, that she is leaving and affirmation that even the short spell she had left to live was something to appreciate and enjoy - not by doing a bucket list of activity but just in itself. Kate was highly ambitious.  She had been Private Secretary to Tony Blair in No 10 Downing St, and was running a high profile NGO called the Africa Government Initiative when the cancer struck.  She…
Read More

Gender pay – and careers – gap

The media are alive with the sound of commentary on the regulations that come into play today, requiring companies with over 250 employees to report on gender and pay.   Amongst the central requirements are information on mean and median pay and bonuses for men and women. But it's important that the requirements also include the duty to report on the proportions of  women and men at four different pay bands - quartiles - in the organisation.  This is at least a start on giving a profile to careers and progression, and not only to money.  It's this focus on careers - occupational progression over time, at whatever level and…
Read More

Cousin conversations

My Scottish grandmother had 8 grandchildren.  As kids we assembled annually in Auchenblae and enjoyed swimming in the North Sea south of Aberdeen.  I say 'enjoyed' , and I think we genuinely did, though a trip there last summer and a dipping of toe into  water makes me wonder how. Growing up we went our own ways, but Grannie's funeral - decades ago now - brought us together again as adults.  Ever since we've met from time to time, and last Sunday some of us had lunch together.  It was just after the PP's publication, and so there was a bit of backchat on the book.  Without breaching family confidentiality…
Read More

Comments: selections from a Guardian thread

Well, the PP was finally published last week, and we had a nice launch at Waterstone's in Gower St.  The Scribe PR team (i.e. Sarah) have been doing a great promotion job.  At the weekend we had a piece published on the Guardian/Observer website.  It provoked some excellent comments - of course the abusive ones were removed, but there was a good mixture of thoughtful and critical responses, including a number of relevant personal experiences.  A sample below: From FelonMarmer, on the Peter Principle: "one of the major aspects to incompetence is the failure to recognise competence in others - so once someone who is incompetent is put into a…
Read More

Queen of carbon

Mildred Dresselhaus died recently.  I'm afraid I'd never heard of her - a comment on my scientific literacy - but she was a great chemist, known among academics as the queen of carbon.  According to the Financial Times'  obituary, she helped to lay the foundations for nanotechnology, and published 1700 scientific papers as well as eight books.  That's some record for someone born into a poor Polish immigrant family, who went on to have four children herself. Dresselhaus received the $1million Kavli prize in nanoscience in 2012, and in 2014 the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the US. So, a remarkable women, who also worked hard to…
Read More

Going Dutch?

I've said before - many times - that we need to rethink our approach to part-time work.  This is increasingly obvious in the light of the changing nature of employment generally, and not only in relation to the PP.   Included in this rethinking should be proposals for new ways of classifying part-timers.  The simplistic binary division into full-time and part-time has to go if women's careers and competences are to get a fair shout. In the last chapter of the PP book I suggest that we might restrict 'part-time' to work that is 8 hours a week or less, i.e. that is genuinely marginal.  This may be a step…
Read More

Clara Zetkin and International Women’s Day

My PP book will be published on March 8 - International Women's Day.  So it was with particular interest that I read in Richard Evans' magisterial account of the C19, The Pursuit of Power, that IWD was founded in Copenhagen in 1910, by Clara Zetkin. Zetkin was obviously a powerhouse.  She was born in Saxony, daughter of a German schoolmaster and his highly educated French wife.  She travelled for a while around Europe with the Russian revolutionary Ossip Zetkin, and later married an artist 18 years younger than she.  Back in Germany she took over a feminist magazine, renamed it Die Gleichheit (Equality), and took its circulation up to 125,000 by 1914.  That's…
Read More

Convergence and difference: Brenda Barnes and cancer rates

My eye was caught recently by obituaries of Brenda Barnes.  She was obviously a remarkable woman: third of seven daughters of a pipe fitter who started as a nightshift mail sorter in Chicago and rose to be CEO of Pepsicola. In 1997 Barnes resigned, choosing to focus on her three children - sparking a major debate on worklife balance on the one hand, and whether she had 'betrayed' the cause on the other (just as Anne-Marie Slaughter did 15 or so years later). Barnes had cracked the glass ceiling once (and in this case the metaphor is apt;  though in general I prefer to focus on levels below these top…
Read More

Ambassadors for women at work

I find myself in the unlikely company of Ivana Trump and Jim Yong Kim. The 'US first daughter' and the president of the WB wrote a joint piece yesterday in the Financial Times on the enormous dividends which would flow from greater  economic participation by women. They point to better board level decision making; higher productivity; and more household spending on food, education and health.   They identify blocks to realising these benefits:  lower access to finance; legislative constraints, for example on land ownership ; and narrower occupational options. I'll sign up to all of that.  A broad consensus is clearly emerging.... Two other PP-relevant newspaper items caught my eye.  A Sunday…
Read More

LRB’s power pieces

Two excellent PP-relevant pieces in a recent issue of the London Review of Books. One is a review by David Runciman of a book on Theresa May which sums up her trajectory to power in a way that really helped me get a fix on the PM's outlook and attitude.  Especially telling is the contrast he draws between May and David Cameron, at several points in their political careers.  Cameron is ...all posh-boy charm and insouciance, flying by the seat of his pants with the aid of his network of well-connected chums.  May is earnest and diligent, apparently less opportunistic and more willing to assess things on their merits. And…
Read More

Late Fragments and careers

I've just finished Kate Gross's intensively poignant Late Fragments.  Kate died of cancer in 2014, aged 36, and wrote the book as a memoir for her little twin boys.  She manages a wonderful balance between huge sadness for the life, and family, that she is leaving and affirmation that even the short spell she had left to live was something to appreciate and enjoy - not by doing a bucket list of activity but just in itself. Kate was highly ambitious.  She had been Private Secretary to Tony Blair in No 10 Downing St, and was running a high profile NGO called the Africa Government Initiative when the cancer struck.  She…
Read More

Gender pay – and careers – gap

The media are alive with the sound of commentary on the regulations that come into play today, requiring companies with over 250 employees to report on gender and pay.   Amongst the central requirements are information on mean and median pay and bonuses for men and women. But it's important that the requirements also include the duty to report on the proportions of  women and men at four different pay bands - quartiles - in the organisation.  This is at least a start on giving a profile to careers and progression, and not only to money.  It's this focus on careers - occupational progression over time, at whatever level and…
Read More

Cousin conversations

My Scottish grandmother had 8 grandchildren.  As kids we assembled annually in Auchenblae and enjoyed swimming in the North Sea south of Aberdeen.  I say 'enjoyed' , and I think we genuinely did, though a trip there last summer and a dipping of toe into  water makes me wonder how. Growing up we went our own ways, but Grannie's funeral - decades ago now - brought us together again as adults.  Ever since we've met from time to time, and last Sunday some of us had lunch together.  It was just after the PP's publication, and so there was a bit of backchat on the book.  Without breaching family confidentiality…
Read More

Comments: selections from a Guardian thread

Well, the PP was finally published last week, and we had a nice launch at Waterstone's in Gower St.  The Scribe PR team (i.e. Sarah) have been doing a great promotion job.  At the weekend we had a piece published on the Guardian/Observer website.  It provoked some excellent comments - of course the abusive ones were removed, but there was a good mixture of thoughtful and critical responses, including a number of relevant personal experiences.  A sample below: From FelonMarmer, on the Peter Principle: "one of the major aspects to incompetence is the failure to recognise competence in others - so once someone who is incompetent is put into a…
Read More

Queen of carbon

Mildred Dresselhaus died recently.  I'm afraid I'd never heard of her - a comment on my scientific literacy - but she was a great chemist, known among academics as the queen of carbon.  According to the Financial Times'  obituary, she helped to lay the foundations for nanotechnology, and published 1700 scientific papers as well as eight books.  That's some record for someone born into a poor Polish immigrant family, who went on to have four children herself. Dresselhaus received the $1million Kavli prize in nanoscience in 2012, and in 2014 the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the US. So, a remarkable women, who also worked hard to…
Read More

Going Dutch?

I've said before - many times - that we need to rethink our approach to part-time work.  This is increasingly obvious in the light of the changing nature of employment generally, and not only in relation to the PP.   Included in this rethinking should be proposals for new ways of classifying part-timers.  The simplistic binary division into full-time and part-time has to go if women's careers and competences are to get a fair shout. In the last chapter of the PP book I suggest that we might restrict 'part-time' to work that is 8 hours a week or less, i.e. that is genuinely marginal.  This may be a step…
Read More

Clara Zetkin and International Women’s Day

My PP book will be published on March 8 - International Women's Day.  So it was with particular interest that I read in Richard Evans' magisterial account of the C19, The Pursuit of Power, that IWD was founded in Copenhagen in 1910, by Clara Zetkin. Zetkin was obviously a powerhouse.  She was born in Saxony, daughter of a German schoolmaster and his highly educated French wife.  She travelled for a while around Europe with the Russian revolutionary Ossip Zetkin, and later married an artist 18 years younger than she.  Back in Germany she took over a feminist magazine, renamed it Die Gleichheit (Equality), and took its circulation up to 125,000 by 1914.  That's…
Read More

Convergence and difference: Brenda Barnes and cancer rates

My eye was caught recently by obituaries of Brenda Barnes.  She was obviously a remarkable woman: third of seven daughters of a pipe fitter who started as a nightshift mail sorter in Chicago and rose to be CEO of Pepsicola. In 1997 Barnes resigned, choosing to focus on her three children - sparking a major debate on worklife balance on the one hand, and whether she had 'betrayed' the cause on the other (just as Anne-Marie Slaughter did 15 or so years later). Barnes had cracked the glass ceiling once (and in this case the metaphor is apt;  though in general I prefer to focus on levels below these top…
Read More

Ambassadors for women at work

I find myself in the unlikely company of Ivana Trump and Jim Yong Kim. The 'US first daughter' and the president of the WB wrote a joint piece yesterday in the Financial Times on the enormous dividends which would flow from greater  economic participation by women. They point to better board level decision making; higher productivity; and more household spending on food, education and health.   They identify blocks to realising these benefits:  lower access to finance; legislative constraints, for example on land ownership ; and narrower occupational options. I'll sign up to all of that.  A broad consensus is clearly emerging.... Two other PP-relevant newspaper items caught my eye.  A Sunday…
Read More

LRB’s power pieces

Two excellent PP-relevant pieces in a recent issue of the London Review of Books. One is a review by David Runciman of a book on Theresa May which sums up her trajectory to power in a way that really helped me get a fix on the PM's outlook and attitude.  Especially telling is the contrast he draws between May and David Cameron, at several points in their political careers.  Cameron is ...all posh-boy charm and insouciance, flying by the seat of his pants with the aid of his network of well-connected chums.  May is earnest and diligent, apparently less opportunistic and more willing to assess things on their merits. And…
Read More

Late Fragments and careers

I've just finished Kate Gross's intensively poignant Late Fragments.  Kate died of cancer in 2014, aged 36, and wrote the book as a memoir for her little twin boys.  She manages a wonderful balance between huge sadness for the life, and family, that she is leaving and affirmation that even the short spell she had left to live was something to appreciate and enjoy - not by doing a bucket list of activity but just in itself. Kate was highly ambitious.  She had been Private Secretary to Tony Blair in No 10 Downing St, and was running a high profile NGO called the Africa Government Initiative when the cancer struck.  She…
Read More

Gender pay – and careers – gap

The media are alive with the sound of commentary on the regulations that come into play today, requiring companies with over 250 employees to report on gender and pay.   Amongst the central requirements are information on mean and median pay and bonuses for men and women. But it's important that the requirements also include the duty to report on the proportions of  women and men at four different pay bands - quartiles - in the organisation.  This is at least a start on giving a profile to careers and progression, and not only to money.  It's this focus on careers - occupational progression over time, at whatever level and…
Read More

Cousin conversations

My Scottish grandmother had 8 grandchildren.  As kids we assembled annually in Auchenblae and enjoyed swimming in the North Sea south of Aberdeen.  I say 'enjoyed' , and I think we genuinely did, though a trip there last summer and a dipping of toe into  water makes me wonder how. Growing up we went our own ways, but Grannie's funeral - decades ago now - brought us together again as adults.  Ever since we've met from time to time, and last Sunday some of us had lunch together.  It was just after the PP's publication, and so there was a bit of backchat on the book.  Without breaching family confidentiality…
Read More

Comments: selections from a Guardian thread

Well, the PP was finally published last week, and we had a nice launch at Waterstone's in Gower St.  The Scribe PR team (i.e. Sarah) have been doing a great promotion job.  At the weekend we had a piece published on the Guardian/Observer website.  It provoked some excellent comments - of course the abusive ones were removed, but there was a good mixture of thoughtful and critical responses, including a number of relevant personal experiences.  A sample below: From FelonMarmer, on the Peter Principle: "one of the major aspects to incompetence is the failure to recognise competence in others - so once someone who is incompetent is put into a…
Read More

Queen of carbon

Mildred Dresselhaus died recently.  I'm afraid I'd never heard of her - a comment on my scientific literacy - but she was a great chemist, known among academics as the queen of carbon.  According to the Financial Times'  obituary, she helped to lay the foundations for nanotechnology, and published 1700 scientific papers as well as eight books.  That's some record for someone born into a poor Polish immigrant family, who went on to have four children herself. Dresselhaus received the $1million Kavli prize in nanoscience in 2012, and in 2014 the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the US. So, a remarkable women, who also worked hard to…
Read More

Going Dutch?

I've said before - many times - that we need to rethink our approach to part-time work.  This is increasingly obvious in the light of the changing nature of employment generally, and not only in relation to the PP.   Included in this rethinking should be proposals for new ways of classifying part-timers.  The simplistic binary division into full-time and part-time has to go if women's careers and competences are to get a fair shout. In the last chapter of the PP book I suggest that we might restrict 'part-time' to work that is 8 hours a week or less, i.e. that is genuinely marginal.  This may be a step…
Read More

Clara Zetkin and International Women’s Day

My PP book will be published on March 8 - International Women's Day.  So it was with particular interest that I read in Richard Evans' magisterial account of the C19, The Pursuit of Power, that IWD was founded in Copenhagen in 1910, by Clara Zetkin. Zetkin was obviously a powerhouse.  She was born in Saxony, daughter of a German schoolmaster and his highly educated French wife.  She travelled for a while around Europe with the Russian revolutionary Ossip Zetkin, and later married an artist 18 years younger than she.  Back in Germany she took over a feminist magazine, renamed it Die Gleichheit (Equality), and took its circulation up to 125,000 by 1914.  That's…
Read More

Convergence and difference: Brenda Barnes and cancer rates

My eye was caught recently by obituaries of Brenda Barnes.  She was obviously a remarkable woman: third of seven daughters of a pipe fitter who started as a nightshift mail sorter in Chicago and rose to be CEO of Pepsicola. In 1997 Barnes resigned, choosing to focus on her three children - sparking a major debate on worklife balance on the one hand, and whether she had 'betrayed' the cause on the other (just as Anne-Marie Slaughter did 15 or so years later). Barnes had cracked the glass ceiling once (and in this case the metaphor is apt;  though in general I prefer to focus on levels below these top…
Read More

Ambassadors for women at work

I find myself in the unlikely company of Ivana Trump and Jim Yong Kim. The 'US first daughter' and the president of the WB wrote a joint piece yesterday in the Financial Times on the enormous dividends which would flow from greater  economic participation by women. They point to better board level decision making; higher productivity; and more household spending on food, education and health.   They identify blocks to realising these benefits:  lower access to finance; legislative constraints, for example on land ownership ; and narrower occupational options. I'll sign up to all of that.  A broad consensus is clearly emerging.... Two other PP-relevant newspaper items caught my eye.  A Sunday…
Read More

LRB’s power pieces

Two excellent PP-relevant pieces in a recent issue of the London Review of Books. One is a review by David Runciman of a book on Theresa May which sums up her trajectory to power in a way that really helped me get a fix on the PM's outlook and attitude.  Especially telling is the contrast he draws between May and David Cameron, at several points in their political careers.  Cameron is ...all posh-boy charm and insouciance, flying by the seat of his pants with the aid of his network of well-connected chums.  May is earnest and diligent, apparently less opportunistic and more willing to assess things on their merits. And…
Read More

Late Fragments and careers

I've just finished Kate Gross's intensively poignant Late Fragments.  Kate died of cancer in 2014, aged 36, and wrote the book as a memoir for her little twin boys.  She manages a wonderful balance between huge sadness for the life, and family, that she is leaving and affirmation that even the short spell she had left to live was something to appreciate and enjoy - not by doing a bucket list of activity but just in itself. Kate was highly ambitious.  She had been Private Secretary to Tony Blair in No 10 Downing St, and was running a high profile NGO called the Africa Government Initiative when the cancer struck.  She…
Read More

Gender pay – and careers – gap

The media are alive with the sound of commentary on the regulations that come into play today, requiring companies with over 250 employees to report on gender and pay.   Amongst the central requirements are information on mean and median pay and bonuses for men and women. But it's important that the requirements also include the duty to report on the proportions of  women and men at four different pay bands - quartiles - in the organisation.  This is at least a start on giving a profile to careers and progression, and not only to money.  It's this focus on careers - occupational progression over time, at whatever level and…
Read More

Cousin conversations

My Scottish grandmother had 8 grandchildren.  As kids we assembled annually in Auchenblae and enjoyed swimming in the North Sea south of Aberdeen.  I say 'enjoyed' , and I think we genuinely did, though a trip there last summer and a dipping of toe into  water makes me wonder how. Growing up we went our own ways, but Grannie's funeral - decades ago now - brought us together again as adults.  Ever since we've met from time to time, and last Sunday some of us had lunch together.  It was just after the PP's publication, and so there was a bit of backchat on the book.  Without breaching family confidentiality…
Read More

Comments: selections from a Guardian thread

Well, the PP was finally published last week, and we had a nice launch at Waterstone's in Gower St.  The Scribe PR team (i.e. Sarah) have been doing a great promotion job.  At the weekend we had a piece published on the Guardian/Observer website.  It provoked some excellent comments - of course the abusive ones were removed, but there was a good mixture of thoughtful and critical responses, including a number of relevant personal experiences.  A sample below: From FelonMarmer, on the Peter Principle: "one of the major aspects to incompetence is the failure to recognise competence in others - so once someone who is incompetent is put into a…
Read More

Queen of carbon

Mildred Dresselhaus died recently.  I'm afraid I'd never heard of her - a comment on my scientific literacy - but she was a great chemist, known among academics as the queen of carbon.  According to the Financial Times'  obituary, she helped to lay the foundations for nanotechnology, and published 1700 scientific papers as well as eight books.  That's some record for someone born into a poor Polish immigrant family, who went on to have four children herself. Dresselhaus received the $1million Kavli prize in nanoscience in 2012, and in 2014 the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the US. So, a remarkable women, who also worked hard to…
Read More

Going Dutch?

I've said before - many times - that we need to rethink our approach to part-time work.  This is increasingly obvious in the light of the changing nature of employment generally, and not only in relation to the PP.   Included in this rethinking should be proposals for new ways of classifying part-timers.  The simplistic binary division into full-time and part-time has to go if women's careers and competences are to get a fair shout. In the last chapter of the PP book I suggest that we might restrict 'part-time' to work that is 8 hours a week or less, i.e. that is genuinely marginal.  This may be a step…
Read More

Clara Zetkin and International Women’s Day

My PP book will be published on March 8 - International Women's Day.  So it was with particular interest that I read in Richard Evans' magisterial account of the C19, The Pursuit of Power, that IWD was founded in Copenhagen in 1910, by Clara Zetkin. Zetkin was obviously a powerhouse.  She was born in Saxony, daughter of a German schoolmaster and his highly educated French wife.  She travelled for a while around Europe with the Russian revolutionary Ossip Zetkin, and later married an artist 18 years younger than she.  Back in Germany she took over a feminist magazine, renamed it Die Gleichheit (Equality), and took its circulation up to 125,000 by 1914.  That's…
Read More

Convergence and difference: Brenda Barnes and cancer rates

My eye was caught recently by obituaries of Brenda Barnes.  She was obviously a remarkable woman: third of seven daughters of a pipe fitter who started as a nightshift mail sorter in Chicago and rose to be CEO of Pepsicola. In 1997 Barnes resigned, choosing to focus on her three children - sparking a major debate on worklife balance on the one hand, and whether she had 'betrayed' the cause on the other (just as Anne-Marie Slaughter did 15 or so years later). Barnes had cracked the glass ceiling once (and in this case the metaphor is apt;  though in general I prefer to focus on levels below these top…
Read More

Ambassadors for women at work

I find myself in the unlikely company of Ivana Trump and Jim Yong Kim. The 'US first daughter' and the president of the WB wrote a joint piece yesterday in the Financial Times on the enormous dividends which would flow from greater  economic participation by women. They point to better board level decision making; higher productivity; and more household spending on food, education and health.   They identify blocks to realising these benefits:  lower access to finance; legislative constraints, for example on land ownership ; and narrower occupational options. I'll sign up to all of that.  A broad consensus is clearly emerging.... Two other PP-relevant newspaper items caught my eye.  A Sunday…
Read More

LRB’s power pieces

Two excellent PP-relevant pieces in a recent issue of the London Review of Books. One is a review by David Runciman of a book on Theresa May which sums up her trajectory to power in a way that really helped me get a fix on the PM's outlook and attitude.  Especially telling is the contrast he draws between May and David Cameron, at several points in their political careers.  Cameron is ...all posh-boy charm and insouciance, flying by the seat of his pants with the aid of his network of well-connected chums.  May is earnest and diligent, apparently less opportunistic and more willing to assess things on their merits. And…
Read More

Late Fragments and careers

I've just finished Kate Gross's intensively poignant Late Fragments.  Kate died of cancer in 2014, aged 36, and wrote the book as a memoir for her little twin boys.  She manages a wonderful balance between huge sadness for the life, and family, that she is leaving and affirmation that even the short spell she had left to live was something to appreciate and enjoy - not by doing a bucket list of activity but just in itself. Kate was highly ambitious.  She had been Private Secretary to Tony Blair in No 10 Downing St, and was running a high profile NGO called the Africa Government Initiative when the cancer struck.  She…
Read More

Gender pay – and careers – gap

The media are alive with the sound of commentary on the regulations that come into play today, requiring companies with over 250 employees to report on gender and pay.   Amongst the central requirements are information on mean and median pay and bonuses for men and women. But it's important that the requirements also include the duty to report on the proportions of  women and men at four different pay bands - quartiles - in the organisation.  This is at least a start on giving a profile to careers and progression, and not only to money.  It's this focus on careers - occupational progression over time, at whatever level and…
Read More

Cousin conversations

My Scottish grandmother had 8 grandchildren.  As kids we assembled annually in Auchenblae and enjoyed swimming in the North Sea south of Aberdeen.  I say 'enjoyed' , and I think we genuinely did, though a trip there last summer and a dipping of toe into  water makes me wonder how. Growing up we went our own ways, but Grannie's funeral - decades ago now - brought us together again as adults.  Ever since we've met from time to time, and last Sunday some of us had lunch together.  It was just after the PP's publication, and so there was a bit of backchat on the book.  Without breaching family confidentiality…
Read More

Comments: selections from a Guardian thread

Well, the PP was finally published last week, and we had a nice launch at Waterstone's in Gower St.  The Scribe PR team (i.e. Sarah) have been doing a great promotion job.  At the weekend we had a piece published on the Guardian/Observer website.  It provoked some excellent comments - of course the abusive ones were removed, but there was a good mixture of thoughtful and critical responses, including a number of relevant personal experiences.  A sample below: From FelonMarmer, on the Peter Principle: "one of the major aspects to incompetence is the failure to recognise competence in others - so once someone who is incompetent is put into a…
Read More

Queen of carbon

Mildred Dresselhaus died recently.  I'm afraid I'd never heard of her - a comment on my scientific literacy - but she was a great chemist, known among academics as the queen of carbon.  According to the Financial Times'  obituary, she helped to lay the foundations for nanotechnology, and published 1700 scientific papers as well as eight books.  That's some record for someone born into a poor Polish immigrant family, who went on to have four children herself. Dresselhaus received the $1million Kavli prize in nanoscience in 2012, and in 2014 the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the US. So, a remarkable women, who also worked hard to…
Read More

Going Dutch?

I've said before - many times - that we need to rethink our approach to part-time work.  This is increasingly obvious in the light of the changing nature of employment generally, and not only in relation to the PP.   Included in this rethinking should be proposals for new ways of classifying part-timers.  The simplistic binary division into full-time and part-time has to go if women's careers and competences are to get a fair shout. In the last chapter of the PP book I suggest that we might restrict 'part-time' to work that is 8 hours a week or less, i.e. that is genuinely marginal.  This may be a step…
Read More

Clara Zetkin and International Women’s Day

My PP book will be published on March 8 - International Women's Day.  So it was with particular interest that I read in Richard Evans' magisterial account of the C19, The Pursuit of Power, that IWD was founded in Copenhagen in 1910, by Clara Zetkin. Zetkin was obviously a powerhouse.  She was born in Saxony, daughter of a German schoolmaster and his highly educated French wife.  She travelled for a while around Europe with the Russian revolutionary Ossip Zetkin, and later married an artist 18 years younger than she.  Back in Germany she took over a feminist magazine, renamed it Die Gleichheit (Equality), and took its circulation up to 125,000 by 1914.  That's…
Read More

Convergence and difference: Brenda Barnes and cancer rates

My eye was caught recently by obituaries of Brenda Barnes.  She was obviously a remarkable woman: third of seven daughters of a pipe fitter who started as a nightshift mail sorter in Chicago and rose to be CEO of Pepsicola. In 1997 Barnes resigned, choosing to focus on her three children - sparking a major debate on worklife balance on the one hand, and whether she had 'betrayed' the cause on the other (just as Anne-Marie Slaughter did 15 or so years later). Barnes had cracked the glass ceiling once (and in this case the metaphor is apt;  though in general I prefer to focus on levels below these top…
Read More

Ambassadors for women at work

I find myself in the unlikely company of Ivana Trump and Jim Yong Kim. The 'US first daughter' and the president of the WB wrote a joint piece yesterday in the Financial Times on the enormous dividends which would flow from greater  economic participation by women. They point to better board level decision making; higher productivity; and more household spending on food, education and health.   They identify blocks to realising these benefits:  lower access to finance; legislative constraints, for example on land ownership ; and narrower occupational options. I'll sign up to all of that.  A broad consensus is clearly emerging.... Two other PP-relevant newspaper items caught my eye.  A Sunday…
Read More

LRB’s power pieces

Two excellent PP-relevant pieces in a recent issue of the London Review of Books. One is a review by David Runciman of a book on Theresa May which sums up her trajectory to power in a way that really helped me get a fix on the PM's outlook and attitude.  Especially telling is the contrast he draws between May and David Cameron, at several points in their political careers.  Cameron is ...all posh-boy charm and insouciance, flying by the seat of his pants with the aid of his network of well-connected chums.  May is earnest and diligent, apparently less opportunistic and more willing to assess things on their merits. And…
Read More

Late Fragments and careers

I've just finished Kate Gross's intensively poignant Late Fragments.  Kate died of cancer in 2014, aged 36, and wrote the book as a memoir for her little twin boys.  She manages a wonderful balance between huge sadness for the life, and family, that she is leaving and affirmation that even the short spell she had left to live was something to appreciate and enjoy - not by doing a bucket list of activity but just in itself. Kate was highly ambitious.  She had been Private Secretary to Tony Blair in No 10 Downing St, and was running a high profile NGO called the Africa Government Initiative when the cancer struck.  She…
Read More

Gender pay – and careers – gap

The media are alive with the sound of commentary on the regulations that come into play today, requiring companies with over 250 employees to report on gender and pay.   Amongst the central requirements are information on mean and median pay and bonuses for men and women. But it's important that the requirements also include the duty to report on the proportions of  women and men at four different pay bands - quartiles - in the organisation.  This is at least a start on giving a profile to careers and progression, and not only to money.  It's this focus on careers - occupational progression over time, at whatever level and…
Read More

Cousin conversations

My Scottish grandmother had 8 grandchildren.  As kids we assembled annually in Auchenblae and enjoyed swimming in the North Sea south of Aberdeen.  I say 'enjoyed' , and I think we genuinely did, though a trip there last summer and a dipping of toe into  water makes me wonder how. Growing up we went our own ways, but Grannie's funeral - decades ago now - brought us together again as adults.  Ever since we've met from time to time, and last Sunday some of us had lunch together.  It was just after the PP's publication, and so there was a bit of backchat on the book.  Without breaching family confidentiality…
Read More

Comments: selections from a Guardian thread

Well, the PP was finally published last week, and we had a nice launch at Waterstone's in Gower St.  The Scribe PR team (i.e. Sarah) have been doing a great promotion job.  At the weekend we had a piece published on the Guardian/Observer website.  It provoked some excellent comments - of course the abusive ones were removed, but there was a good mixture of thoughtful and critical responses, including a number of relevant personal experiences.  A sample below: From FelonMarmer, on the Peter Principle: "one of the major aspects to incompetence is the failure to recognise competence in others - so once someone who is incompetent is put into a…
Read More

Queen of carbon

Mildred Dresselhaus died recently.  I'm afraid I'd never heard of her - a comment on my scientific literacy - but she was a great chemist, known among academics as the queen of carbon.  According to the Financial Times'  obituary, she helped to lay the foundations for nanotechnology, and published 1700 scientific papers as well as eight books.  That's some record for someone born into a poor Polish immigrant family, who went on to have four children herself. Dresselhaus received the $1million Kavli prize in nanoscience in 2012, and in 2014 the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the US. So, a remarkable women, who also worked hard to…
Read More

Going Dutch?

I've said before - many times - that we need to rethink our approach to part-time work.  This is increasingly obvious in the light of the changing nature of employment generally, and not only in relation to the PP.   Included in this rethinking should be proposals for new ways of classifying part-timers.  The simplistic binary division into full-time and part-time has to go if women's careers and competences are to get a fair shout. In the last chapter of the PP book I suggest that we might restrict 'part-time' to work that is 8 hours a week or less, i.e. that is genuinely marginal.  This may be a step…
Read More

Clara Zetkin and International Women’s Day

My PP book will be published on March 8 - International Women's Day.  So it was with particular interest that I read in Richard Evans' magisterial account of the C19, The Pursuit of Power, that IWD was founded in Copenhagen in 1910, by Clara Zetkin. Zetkin was obviously a powerhouse.  She was born in Saxony, daughter of a German schoolmaster and his highly educated French wife.  She travelled for a while around Europe with the Russian revolutionary Ossip Zetkin, and later married an artist 18 years younger than she.  Back in Germany she took over a feminist magazine, renamed it Die Gleichheit (Equality), and took its circulation up to 125,000 by 1914.  That's…
Read More

Convergence and difference: Brenda Barnes and cancer rates

My eye was caught recently by obituaries of Brenda Barnes.  She was obviously a remarkable woman: third of seven daughters of a pipe fitter who started as a nightshift mail sorter in Chicago and rose to be CEO of Pepsicola. In 1997 Barnes resigned, choosing to focus on her three children - sparking a major debate on worklife balance on the one hand, and whether she had 'betrayed' the cause on the other (just as Anne-Marie Slaughter did 15 or so years later). Barnes had cracked the glass ceiling once (and in this case the metaphor is apt;  though in general I prefer to focus on levels below these top…
Read More

Ambassadors for women at work

I find myself in the unlikely company of Ivana Trump and Jim Yong Kim. The 'US first daughter' and the president of the WB wrote a joint piece yesterday in the Financial Times on the enormous dividends which would flow from greater  economic participation by women. They point to better board level decision making; higher productivity; and more household spending on food, education and health.   They identify blocks to realising these benefits:  lower access to finance; legislative constraints, for example on land ownership ; and narrower occupational options. I'll sign up to all of that.  A broad consensus is clearly emerging.... Two other PP-relevant newspaper items caught my eye.  A Sunday…
Read More

LRB’s power pieces

Two excellent PP-relevant pieces in a recent issue of the London Review of Books. One is a review by David Runciman of a book on Theresa May which sums up her trajectory to power in a way that really helped me get a fix on the PM's outlook and attitude.  Especially telling is the contrast he draws between May and David Cameron, at several points in their political careers.  Cameron is ...all posh-boy charm and insouciance, flying by the seat of his pants with the aid of his network of well-connected chums.  May is earnest and diligent, apparently less opportunistic and more willing to assess things on their merits. And…
Read More

Late Fragments and careers

I've just finished Kate Gross's intensively poignant Late Fragments.  Kate died of cancer in 2014, aged 36, and wrote the book as a memoir for her little twin boys.  She manages a wonderful balance between huge sadness for the life, and family, that she is leaving and affirmation that even the short spell she had left to live was something to appreciate and enjoy - not by doing a bucket list of activity but just in itself. Kate was highly ambitious.  She had been Private Secretary to Tony Blair in No 10 Downing St, and was running a high profile NGO called the Africa Government Initiative when the cancer struck.  She…
Read More

Gender pay – and careers – gap

The media are alive with the sound of commentary on the regulations that come into play today, requiring companies with over 250 employees to report on gender and pay.   Amongst the central requirements are information on mean and median pay and bonuses for men and women. But it's important that the requirements also include the duty to report on the proportions of  women and men at four different pay bands - quartiles - in the organisation.  This is at least a start on giving a profile to careers and progression, and not only to money.  It's this focus on careers - occupational progression over time, at whatever level and…
Read More

Cousin conversations

My Scottish grandmother had 8 grandchildren.  As kids we assembled annually in Auchenblae and enjoyed swimming in the North Sea south of Aberdeen.  I say 'enjoyed' , and I think we genuinely did, though a trip there last summer and a dipping of toe into  water makes me wonder how. Growing up we went our own ways, but Grannie's funeral - decades ago now - brought us together again as adults.  Ever since we've met from time to time, and last Sunday some of us had lunch together.  It was just after the PP's publication, and so there was a bit of backchat on the book.  Without breaching family confidentiality…
Read More

Comments: selections from a Guardian thread

Well, the PP was finally published last week, and we had a nice launch at Waterstone's in Gower St.  The Scribe PR team (i.e. Sarah) have been doing a great promotion job.  At the weekend we had a piece published on the Guardian/Observer website.  It provoked some excellent comments - of course the abusive ones were removed, but there was a good mixture of thoughtful and critical responses, including a number of relevant personal experiences.  A sample below: From FelonMarmer, on the Peter Principle: "one of the major aspects to incompetence is the failure to recognise competence in others - so once someone who is incompetent is put into a…
Read More

Queen of carbon

Mildred Dresselhaus died recently.  I'm afraid I'd never heard of her - a comment on my scientific literacy - but she was a great chemist, known among academics as the queen of carbon.  According to the Financial Times'  obituary, she helped to lay the foundations for nanotechnology, and published 1700 scientific papers as well as eight books.  That's some record for someone born into a poor Polish immigrant family, who went on to have four children herself. Dresselhaus received the $1million Kavli prize in nanoscience in 2012, and in 2014 the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the US. So, a remarkable women, who also worked hard to…
Read More

Going Dutch?

I've said before - many times - that we need to rethink our approach to part-time work.  This is increasingly obvious in the light of the changing nature of employment generally, and not only in relation to the PP.   Included in this rethinking should be proposals for new ways of classifying part-timers.  The simplistic binary division into full-time and part-time has to go if women's careers and competences are to get a fair shout. In the last chapter of the PP book I suggest that we might restrict 'part-time' to work that is 8 hours a week or less, i.e. that is genuinely marginal.  This may be a step…
Read More

Clara Zetkin and International Women’s Day

My PP book will be published on March 8 - International Women's Day.  So it was with particular interest that I read in Richard Evans' magisterial account of the C19, The Pursuit of Power, that IWD was founded in Copenhagen in 1910, by Clara Zetkin. Zetkin was obviously a powerhouse.  She was born in Saxony, daughter of a German schoolmaster and his highly educated French wife.  She travelled for a while around Europe with the Russian revolutionary Ossip Zetkin, and later married an artist 18 years younger than she.  Back in Germany she took over a feminist magazine, renamed it Die Gleichheit (Equality), and took its circulation up to 125,000 by 1914.  That's…
Read More

Convergence and difference: Brenda Barnes and cancer rates

My eye was caught recently by obituaries of Brenda Barnes.  She was obviously a remarkable woman: third of seven daughters of a pipe fitter who started as a nightshift mail sorter in Chicago and rose to be CEO of Pepsicola. In 1997 Barnes resigned, choosing to focus on her three children - sparking a major debate on worklife balance on the one hand, and whether she had 'betrayed' the cause on the other (just as Anne-Marie Slaughter did 15 or so years later). Barnes had cracked the glass ceiling once (and in this case the metaphor is apt;  though in general I prefer to focus on levels below these top…
Read More

Ambassadors for women at work

I find myself in the unlikely company of Ivana Trump and Jim Yong Kim. The 'US first daughter' and the president of the WB wrote a joint piece yesterday in the Financial Times on the enormous dividends which would flow from greater  economic participation by women. They point to better board level decision making; higher productivity; and more household spending on food, education and health.   They identify blocks to realising these benefits:  lower access to finance; legislative constraints, for example on land ownership ; and narrower occupational options. I'll sign up to all of that.  A broad consensus is clearly emerging.... Two other PP-relevant newspaper items caught my eye.  A Sunday…
Read More

LRB’s power pieces

Two excellent PP-relevant pieces in a recent issue of the London Review of Books. One is a review by David Runciman of a book on Theresa May which sums up her trajectory to power in a way that really helped me get a fix on the PM's outlook and attitude.  Especially telling is the contrast he draws between May and David Cameron, at several points in their political careers.  Cameron is ...all posh-boy charm and insouciance, flying by the seat of his pants with the aid of his network of well-connected chums.  May is earnest and diligent, apparently less opportunistic and more willing to assess things on their merits. And…
Read More

Late Fragments and careers

I've just finished Kate Gross's intensively poignant Late Fragments.  Kate died of cancer in 2014, aged 36, and wrote the book as a memoir for her little twin boys.  She manages a wonderful balance between huge sadness for the life, and family, that she is leaving and affirmation that even the short spell she had left to live was something to appreciate and enjoy - not by doing a bucket list of activity but just in itself. Kate was highly ambitious.  She had been Private Secretary to Tony Blair in No 10 Downing St, and was running a high profile NGO called the Africa Government Initiative when the cancer struck.  She…
Read More

Gender pay – and careers – gap

The media are alive with the sound of commentary on the regulations that come into play today, requiring companies with over 250 employees to report on gender and pay.   Amongst the central requirements are information on mean and median pay and bonuses for men and women. But it's important that the requirements also include the duty to report on the proportions of  women and men at four different pay bands - quartiles - in the organisation.  This is at least a start on giving a profile to careers and progression, and not only to money.  It's this focus on careers - occupational progression over time, at whatever level and…
Read More

Cousin conversations

My Scottish grandmother had 8 grandchildren.  As kids we assembled annually in Auchenblae and enjoyed swimming in the North Sea south of Aberdeen.  I say 'enjoyed' , and I think we genuinely did, though a trip there last summer and a dipping of toe into  water makes me wonder how. Growing up we went our own ways, but Grannie's funeral - decades ago now - brought us together again as adults.  Ever since we've met from time to time, and last Sunday some of us had lunch together.  It was just after the PP's publication, and so there was a bit of backchat on the book.  Without breaching family confidentiality…
Read More

Comments: selections from a Guardian thread

Well, the PP was finally published last week, and we had a nice launch at Waterstone's in Gower St.  The Scribe PR team (i.e. Sarah) have been doing a great promotion job.  At the weekend we had a piece published on the Guardian/Observer website.  It provoked some excellent comments - of course the abusive ones were removed, but there was a good mixture of thoughtful and critical responses, including a number of relevant personal experiences.  A sample below: From FelonMarmer, on the Peter Principle: "one of the major aspects to incompetence is the failure to recognise competence in others - so once someone who is incompetent is put into a…
Read More

Queen of carbon

Mildred Dresselhaus died recently.  I'm afraid I'd never heard of her - a comment on my scientific literacy - but she was a great chemist, known among academics as the queen of carbon.  According to the Financial Times'  obituary, she helped to lay the foundations for nanotechnology, and published 1700 scientific papers as well as eight books.  That's some record for someone born into a poor Polish immigrant family, who went on to have four children herself. Dresselhaus received the $1million Kavli prize in nanoscience in 2012, and in 2014 the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the US. So, a remarkable women, who also worked hard to…
Read More

Going Dutch?

I've said before - many times - that we need to rethink our approach to part-time work.  This is increasingly obvious in the light of the changing nature of employment generally, and not only in relation to the PP.   Included in this rethinking should be proposals for new ways of classifying part-timers.  The simplistic binary division into full-time and part-time has to go if women's careers and competences are to get a fair shout. In the last chapter of the PP book I suggest that we might restrict 'part-time' to work that is 8 hours a week or less, i.e. that is genuinely marginal.  This may be a step…
Read More

Clara Zetkin and International Women’s Day

My PP book will be published on March 8 - International Women's Day.  So it was with particular interest that I read in Richard Evans' magisterial account of the C19, The Pursuit of Power, that IWD was founded in Copenhagen in 1910, by Clara Zetkin. Zetkin was obviously a powerhouse.  She was born in Saxony, daughter of a German schoolmaster and his highly educated French wife.  She travelled for a while around Europe with the Russian revolutionary Ossip Zetkin, and later married an artist 18 years younger than she.  Back in Germany she took over a feminist magazine, renamed it Die Gleichheit (Equality), and took its circulation up to 125,000 by 1914.  That's…
Read More

Convergence and difference: Brenda Barnes and cancer rates

My eye was caught recently by obituaries of Brenda Barnes.  She was obviously a remarkable woman: third of seven daughters of a pipe fitter who started as a nightshift mail sorter in Chicago and rose to be CEO of Pepsicola. In 1997 Barnes resigned, choosing to focus on her three children - sparking a major debate on worklife balance on the one hand, and whether she had 'betrayed' the cause on the other (just as Anne-Marie Slaughter did 15 or so years later). Barnes had cracked the glass ceiling once (and in this case the metaphor is apt;  though in general I prefer to focus on levels below these top…
Read More

Ambassadors for women at work

I find myself in the unlikely company of Ivana Trump and Jim Yong Kim. The 'US first daughter' and the president of the WB wrote a joint piece yesterday in the Financial Times on the enormous dividends which would flow from greater  economic participation by women. They point to better board level decision making; higher productivity; and more household spending on food, education and health.   They identify blocks to realising these benefits:  lower access to finance; legislative constraints, for example on land ownership ; and narrower occupational options. I'll sign up to all of that.  A broad consensus is clearly emerging.... Two other PP-relevant newspaper items caught my eye.  A Sunday…
Read More

LRB’s power pieces

Two excellent PP-relevant pieces in a recent issue of the London Review of Books. One is a review by David Runciman of a book on Theresa May which sums up her trajectory to power in a way that really helped me get a fix on the PM's outlook and attitude.  Especially telling is the contrast he draws between May and David Cameron, at several points in their political careers.  Cameron is ...all posh-boy charm and insouciance, flying by the seat of his pants with the aid of his network of well-connected chums.  May is earnest and diligent, apparently less opportunistic and more willing to assess things on their merits. And…
Read More

Late Fragments and careers

I've just finished Kate Gross's intensively poignant Late Fragments.  Kate died of cancer in 2014, aged 36, and wrote the book as a memoir for her little twin boys.  She manages a wonderful balance between huge sadness for the life, and family, that she is leaving and affirmation that even the short spell she had left to live was something to appreciate and enjoy - not by doing a bucket list of activity but just in itself. Kate was highly ambitious.  She had been Private Secretary to Tony Blair in No 10 Downing St, and was running a high profile NGO called the Africa Government Initiative when the cancer struck.  She…
Read More

Gender pay – and careers – gap

The media are alive with the sound of commentary on the regulations that come into play today, requiring companies with over 250 employees to report on gender and pay.   Amongst the central requirements are information on mean and median pay and bonuses for men and women. But it's important that the requirements also include the duty to report on the proportions of  women and men at four different pay bands - quartiles - in the organisation.  This is at least a start on giving a profile to careers and progression, and not only to money.  It's this focus on careers - occupational progression over time, at whatever level and…
Read More

Cousin conversations

My Scottish grandmother had 8 grandchildren.  As kids we assembled annually in Auchenblae and enjoyed swimming in the North Sea south of Aberdeen.  I say 'enjoyed' , and I think we genuinely did, though a trip there last summer and a dipping of toe into  water makes me wonder how. Growing up we went our own ways, but Grannie's funeral - decades ago now - brought us together again as adults.  Ever since we've met from time to time, and last Sunday some of us had lunch together.  It was just after the PP's publication, and so there was a bit of backchat on the book.  Without breaching family confidentiality…
Read More

Comments: selections from a Guardian thread

Well, the PP was finally published last week, and we had a nice launch at Waterstone's in Gower St.  The Scribe PR team (i.e. Sarah) have been doing a great promotion job.  At the weekend we had a piece published on the Guardian/Observer website.  It provoked some excellent comments - of course the abusive ones were removed, but there was a good mixture of thoughtful and critical responses, including a number of relevant personal experiences.  A sample below: From FelonMarmer, on the Peter Principle: "one of the major aspects to incompetence is the failure to recognise competence in others - so once someone who is incompetent is put into a…
Read More

Queen of carbon

Mildred Dresselhaus died recently.  I'm afraid I'd never heard of her - a comment on my scientific literacy - but she was a great chemist, known among academics as the queen of carbon.  According to the Financial Times'  obituary, she helped to lay the foundations for nanotechnology, and published 1700 scientific papers as well as eight books.  That's some record for someone born into a poor Polish immigrant family, who went on to have four children herself. Dresselhaus received the $1million Kavli prize in nanoscience in 2012, and in 2014 the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the US. So, a remarkable women, who also worked hard to…
Read More

Going Dutch?

I've said before - many times - that we need to rethink our approach to part-time work.  This is increasingly obvious in the light of the changing nature of employment generally, and not only in relation to the PP.   Included in this rethinking should be proposals for new ways of classifying part-timers.  The simplistic binary division into full-time and part-time has to go if women's careers and competences are to get a fair shout. In the last chapter of the PP book I suggest that we might restrict 'part-time' to work that is 8 hours a week or less, i.e. that is genuinely marginal.  This may be a step…
Read More

Clara Zetkin and International Women’s Day

My PP book will be published on March 8 - International Women's Day.  So it was with particular interest that I read in Richard Evans' magisterial account of the C19, The Pursuit of Power, that IWD was founded in Copenhagen in 1910, by Clara Zetkin. Zetkin was obviously a powerhouse.  She was born in Saxony, daughter of a German schoolmaster and his highly educated French wife.  She travelled for a while around Europe with the Russian revolutionary Ossip Zetkin, and later married an artist 18 years younger than she.  Back in Germany she took over a feminist magazine, renamed it Die Gleichheit (Equality), and took its circulation up to 125,000 by 1914.  That's…
Read More

Convergence and difference: Brenda Barnes and cancer rates

My eye was caught recently by obituaries of Brenda Barnes.  She was obviously a remarkable woman: third of seven daughters of a pipe fitter who started as a nightshift mail sorter in Chicago and rose to be CEO of Pepsicola. In 1997 Barnes resigned, choosing to focus on her three children - sparking a major debate on worklife balance on the one hand, and whether she had 'betrayed' the cause on the other (just as Anne-Marie Slaughter did 15 or so years later). Barnes had cracked the glass ceiling once (and in this case the metaphor is apt;  though in general I prefer to focus on levels below these top…
Read More