Women After All

Melvin Konner has written a highly original book, with an unusual message.  It pursues a similar theme to the Paula Principle, but much more broadly and with a completely different level of expertise. The subtitle of Women After All  is 'sex, evolution and the end of male supremacy'.  Konner predicts - and advocates - the future supremacy of women.  He opens with a quite striking proposition: This is a book with a very simple argument: women are not equal to men; they are superior in many ways, and in most ways that will count in the future.  It is not just a matter of culture of upbringing, although both play their…
Read More

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

Results for A levels were published yesterday in the UK.  This is the first year to show the outcomes of the reforms introduced by Michael Gove, and the coverage beforehand verged on the hysterical:  would the rushed through reforms lead to a drop in achievement? In the event, the results were something of a damp squib - for the commentators, not for the students, of course.  There was a tiny uplift overall in the top grades.  But since Ofqual had intervened to ensure there would be no dramatic drop in the results, this was hardly an objective improvement. Maybe as a result, the headline-writers fixed on something else:  "Boys outperform…
Read More

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

I've been interested for some time in our capacity for self-deception (including my own), and so was intrigued by a book title, Being Wrong.  Kathryn Schulz makes a lively case for being more relaxed about the errors we make, and argues positively that it's only by risking being wrong that we get to empathise with each other.  She has a lot of perceptive things to say about certainty, e.g. Our dislike of doubt is a kind of emotional agoraphobia.  Uncertainty leaves us stranded in a universe that is too big, too open, too ill-defined. Overall, I think she tries to do too much with the argument, and doesn't provide us with…
Read More

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

One of the odd things about writing the Paula Principle was how hard it was to find contemporary novels which made women and work anything like their central theme.  My better read friends put their heads together, but most of their examples of fiction that covered this were of books from earlier times.  So I was able to include Middlemarch from the C19 and Dorothy Whipple's High Wages from the 1930s, but later examples didn't come easily. One of my holiday books was Joanna Trollope's City of Friends.   I can't remember whether it was a friend or a reviewer who recommended it, but I had it down on my to-read list and spotted it in a…
Read More

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

The Scottish Parliament has a Committee on Economy, Jobs and Fair Work.  I like the normative character of the last bit in the title;  it goes along with the new emphasis on quality of work in the upcomingTaylor report (cf my previous post). The Committee has just produced an excellent report:  No Small Change: the economic potential of closing the gender pay gap.  (Minor declaration of interest: I submitted evidence to it.)   Many of the issues are very familiar, e.g. on recruiting more women into STEM subjects and the need to build in greater opportunities for flexible working, but none the less important for all that.  The report does a…
Read More

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

"Just because a man would do it doesn't make it the right thing to do." These are Jo Swindon's words in explaining why she has decided not to run for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats.  I think her decision is a brave and important one. I'm not a Lib Dem supporter, but my understanding is that Jo was the frontrunner for the leadership.  She has a strong track record of commitment to equalities, so in one sense it's sad that she won't be leading the party, on this as well as on other issues.  But I applaud her for coming to the decision, and for explaining it as she…
Read More

Progression and quality of work

The week got off to a brisk start with a Resolution Foundation/CBI conference on the future of the labour market.  Three panel sessions, packed with a mix of analysis and practitioner input (how I wish that academics would learn from think tanks about how to get information across effectively...). A central theme was about the quality of work.  Partly this was because Matthew Taylor was one of the contributors.  Extensively trailing his forthcoming report on the gig economy, he told us that the primary focus will be on this theme of the quality of work, recognising that measuring quality is much more difficult and contentious than measuring quantity.  So although…
Read More

Imag(in)ing career trajectories

There's been quite a lot of comment recently on the topic of older people working.  Several major businesses - Aviva, Boots, the Coop and others - have got together to see what they can do to increase the numbers of over-50s in the workforce, and to encourage people to carry on working beyond the official pension age.  Aviva's Andy Briggs is the government's business champion for older workers, and he wants to see UK companies increasing the numbers of over-50s in the workforce from 9m to over 10m in the next five years. The arguments are quite familiar, and have been made for some time.  On the defensive side, an…
Read More

Contender for PP champion

I sometimes speculate on which country exemplifies the Paula Principle at its most powerful.  The most obvious contenders are Japan and, especially, Korea.  In both countries, women are very highly educated, to degree level and beyond, and yet the gender pay gap remains very large. The case of Korea is particularly striking, as women are well represented in science and engineering, so their careers are not as constrained by subject choice as they are elsewhere.  (Role models may be a slightly tricky issue there, with their first female president having been removed on charges of corruption.) But now there's another possible champion.  Step forward Saudi Arabia.  The country now has…
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

Women After All

Melvin Konner has written a highly original book, with an unusual message.  It pursues a similar theme to the Paula Principle, but much more broadly and with a completely different level of expertise. The subtitle of Women After All  is 'sex, evolution and the end of male supremacy'.  Konner predicts - and advocates - the future supremacy of women.  He opens with a quite striking proposition: This is a book with a very simple argument: women are not equal to men; they are superior in many ways, and in most ways that will count in the future.  It is not just a matter of culture of upbringing, although both play their…
Read More

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

Results for A levels were published yesterday in the UK.  This is the first year to show the outcomes of the reforms introduced by Michael Gove, and the coverage beforehand verged on the hysterical:  would the rushed through reforms lead to a drop in achievement? In the event, the results were something of a damp squib - for the commentators, not for the students, of course.  There was a tiny uplift overall in the top grades.  But since Ofqual had intervened to ensure there would be no dramatic drop in the results, this was hardly an objective improvement. Maybe as a result, the headline-writers fixed on something else:  "Boys outperform…
Read More

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

I've been interested for some time in our capacity for self-deception (including my own), and so was intrigued by a book title, Being Wrong.  Kathryn Schulz makes a lively case for being more relaxed about the errors we make, and argues positively that it's only by risking being wrong that we get to empathise with each other.  She has a lot of perceptive things to say about certainty, e.g. Our dislike of doubt is a kind of emotional agoraphobia.  Uncertainty leaves us stranded in a universe that is too big, too open, too ill-defined. Overall, I think she tries to do too much with the argument, and doesn't provide us with…
Read More

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

One of the odd things about writing the Paula Principle was how hard it was to find contemporary novels which made women and work anything like their central theme.  My better read friends put their heads together, but most of their examples of fiction that covered this were of books from earlier times.  So I was able to include Middlemarch from the C19 and Dorothy Whipple's High Wages from the 1930s, but later examples didn't come easily. One of my holiday books was Joanna Trollope's City of Friends.   I can't remember whether it was a friend or a reviewer who recommended it, but I had it down on my to-read list and spotted it in a…
Read More

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

The Scottish Parliament has a Committee on Economy, Jobs and Fair Work.  I like the normative character of the last bit in the title;  it goes along with the new emphasis on quality of work in the upcomingTaylor report (cf my previous post). The Committee has just produced an excellent report:  No Small Change: the economic potential of closing the gender pay gap.  (Minor declaration of interest: I submitted evidence to it.)   Many of the issues are very familiar, e.g. on recruiting more women into STEM subjects and the need to build in greater opportunities for flexible working, but none the less important for all that.  The report does a…
Read More

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

"Just because a man would do it doesn't make it the right thing to do." These are Jo Swindon's words in explaining why she has decided not to run for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats.  I think her decision is a brave and important one. I'm not a Lib Dem supporter, but my understanding is that Jo was the frontrunner for the leadership.  She has a strong track record of commitment to equalities, so in one sense it's sad that she won't be leading the party, on this as well as on other issues.  But I applaud her for coming to the decision, and for explaining it as she…
Read More

Progression and quality of work

The week got off to a brisk start with a Resolution Foundation/CBI conference on the future of the labour market.  Three panel sessions, packed with a mix of analysis and practitioner input (how I wish that academics would learn from think tanks about how to get information across effectively...). A central theme was about the quality of work.  Partly this was because Matthew Taylor was one of the contributors.  Extensively trailing his forthcoming report on the gig economy, he told us that the primary focus will be on this theme of the quality of work, recognising that measuring quality is much more difficult and contentious than measuring quantity.  So although…
Read More

Imag(in)ing career trajectories

There's been quite a lot of comment recently on the topic of older people working.  Several major businesses - Aviva, Boots, the Coop and others - have got together to see what they can do to increase the numbers of over-50s in the workforce, and to encourage people to carry on working beyond the official pension age.  Aviva's Andy Briggs is the government's business champion for older workers, and he wants to see UK companies increasing the numbers of over-50s in the workforce from 9m to over 10m in the next five years. The arguments are quite familiar, and have been made for some time.  On the defensive side, an…
Read More

Contender for PP champion

I sometimes speculate on which country exemplifies the Paula Principle at its most powerful.  The most obvious contenders are Japan and, especially, Korea.  In both countries, women are very highly educated, to degree level and beyond, and yet the gender pay gap remains very large. The case of Korea is particularly striking, as women are well represented in science and engineering, so their careers are not as constrained by subject choice as they are elsewhere.  (Role models may be a slightly tricky issue there, with their first female president having been removed on charges of corruption.) But now there's another possible champion.  Step forward Saudi Arabia.  The country now has…
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

Women After All

Melvin Konner has written a highly original book, with an unusual message.  It pursues a similar theme to the Paula Principle, but much more broadly and with a completely different level of expertise. The subtitle of Women After All  is 'sex, evolution and the end of male supremacy'.  Konner predicts - and advocates - the future supremacy of women.  He opens with a quite striking proposition: This is a book with a very simple argument: women are not equal to men; they are superior in many ways, and in most ways that will count in the future.  It is not just a matter of culture of upbringing, although both play their…
Read More

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

Results for A levels were published yesterday in the UK.  This is the first year to show the outcomes of the reforms introduced by Michael Gove, and the coverage beforehand verged on the hysterical:  would the rushed through reforms lead to a drop in achievement? In the event, the results were something of a damp squib - for the commentators, not for the students, of course.  There was a tiny uplift overall in the top grades.  But since Ofqual had intervened to ensure there would be no dramatic drop in the results, this was hardly an objective improvement. Maybe as a result, the headline-writers fixed on something else:  "Boys outperform…
Read More

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

I've been interested for some time in our capacity for self-deception (including my own), and so was intrigued by a book title, Being Wrong.  Kathryn Schulz makes a lively case for being more relaxed about the errors we make, and argues positively that it's only by risking being wrong that we get to empathise with each other.  She has a lot of perceptive things to say about certainty, e.g. Our dislike of doubt is a kind of emotional agoraphobia.  Uncertainty leaves us stranded in a universe that is too big, too open, too ill-defined. Overall, I think she tries to do too much with the argument, and doesn't provide us with…
Read More

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

One of the odd things about writing the Paula Principle was how hard it was to find contemporary novels which made women and work anything like their central theme.  My better read friends put their heads together, but most of their examples of fiction that covered this were of books from earlier times.  So I was able to include Middlemarch from the C19 and Dorothy Whipple's High Wages from the 1930s, but later examples didn't come easily. One of my holiday books was Joanna Trollope's City of Friends.   I can't remember whether it was a friend or a reviewer who recommended it, but I had it down on my to-read list and spotted it in a…
Read More

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

The Scottish Parliament has a Committee on Economy, Jobs and Fair Work.  I like the normative character of the last bit in the title;  it goes along with the new emphasis on quality of work in the upcomingTaylor report (cf my previous post). The Committee has just produced an excellent report:  No Small Change: the economic potential of closing the gender pay gap.  (Minor declaration of interest: I submitted evidence to it.)   Many of the issues are very familiar, e.g. on recruiting more women into STEM subjects and the need to build in greater opportunities for flexible working, but none the less important for all that.  The report does a…
Read More

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

"Just because a man would do it doesn't make it the right thing to do." These are Jo Swindon's words in explaining why she has decided not to run for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats.  I think her decision is a brave and important one. I'm not a Lib Dem supporter, but my understanding is that Jo was the frontrunner for the leadership.  She has a strong track record of commitment to equalities, so in one sense it's sad that she won't be leading the party, on this as well as on other issues.  But I applaud her for coming to the decision, and for explaining it as she…
Read More

Progression and quality of work

The week got off to a brisk start with a Resolution Foundation/CBI conference on the future of the labour market.  Three panel sessions, packed with a mix of analysis and practitioner input (how I wish that academics would learn from think tanks about how to get information across effectively...). A central theme was about the quality of work.  Partly this was because Matthew Taylor was one of the contributors.  Extensively trailing his forthcoming report on the gig economy, he told us that the primary focus will be on this theme of the quality of work, recognising that measuring quality is much more difficult and contentious than measuring quantity.  So although…
Read More

Imag(in)ing career trajectories

There's been quite a lot of comment recently on the topic of older people working.  Several major businesses - Aviva, Boots, the Coop and others - have got together to see what they can do to increase the numbers of over-50s in the workforce, and to encourage people to carry on working beyond the official pension age.  Aviva's Andy Briggs is the government's business champion for older workers, and he wants to see UK companies increasing the numbers of over-50s in the workforce from 9m to over 10m in the next five years. The arguments are quite familiar, and have been made for some time.  On the defensive side, an…
Read More

Contender for PP champion

I sometimes speculate on which country exemplifies the Paula Principle at its most powerful.  The most obvious contenders are Japan and, especially, Korea.  In both countries, women are very highly educated, to degree level and beyond, and yet the gender pay gap remains very large. The case of Korea is particularly striking, as women are well represented in science and engineering, so their careers are not as constrained by subject choice as they are elsewhere.  (Role models may be a slightly tricky issue there, with their first female president having been removed on charges of corruption.) But now there's another possible champion.  Step forward Saudi Arabia.  The country now has…
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

Women After All

Melvin Konner has written a highly original book, with an unusual message.  It pursues a similar theme to the Paula Principle, but much more broadly and with a completely different level of expertise. The subtitle of Women After All  is 'sex, evolution and the end of male supremacy'.  Konner predicts - and advocates - the future supremacy of women.  He opens with a quite striking proposition: This is a book with a very simple argument: women are not equal to men; they are superior in many ways, and in most ways that will count in the future.  It is not just a matter of culture of upbringing, although both play their…
Read More

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

Results for A levels were published yesterday in the UK.  This is the first year to show the outcomes of the reforms introduced by Michael Gove, and the coverage beforehand verged on the hysterical:  would the rushed through reforms lead to a drop in achievement? In the event, the results were something of a damp squib - for the commentators, not for the students, of course.  There was a tiny uplift overall in the top grades.  But since Ofqual had intervened to ensure there would be no dramatic drop in the results, this was hardly an objective improvement. Maybe as a result, the headline-writers fixed on something else:  "Boys outperform…
Read More

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

I've been interested for some time in our capacity for self-deception (including my own), and so was intrigued by a book title, Being Wrong.  Kathryn Schulz makes a lively case for being more relaxed about the errors we make, and argues positively that it's only by risking being wrong that we get to empathise with each other.  She has a lot of perceptive things to say about certainty, e.g. Our dislike of doubt is a kind of emotional agoraphobia.  Uncertainty leaves us stranded in a universe that is too big, too open, too ill-defined. Overall, I think she tries to do too much with the argument, and doesn't provide us with…
Read More

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

One of the odd things about writing the Paula Principle was how hard it was to find contemporary novels which made women and work anything like their central theme.  My better read friends put their heads together, but most of their examples of fiction that covered this were of books from earlier times.  So I was able to include Middlemarch from the C19 and Dorothy Whipple's High Wages from the 1930s, but later examples didn't come easily. One of my holiday books was Joanna Trollope's City of Friends.   I can't remember whether it was a friend or a reviewer who recommended it, but I had it down on my to-read list and spotted it in a…
Read More

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

The Scottish Parliament has a Committee on Economy, Jobs and Fair Work.  I like the normative character of the last bit in the title;  it goes along with the new emphasis on quality of work in the upcomingTaylor report (cf my previous post). The Committee has just produced an excellent report:  No Small Change: the economic potential of closing the gender pay gap.  (Minor declaration of interest: I submitted evidence to it.)   Many of the issues are very familiar, e.g. on recruiting more women into STEM subjects and the need to build in greater opportunities for flexible working, but none the less important for all that.  The report does a…
Read More

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

"Just because a man would do it doesn't make it the right thing to do." These are Jo Swindon's words in explaining why she has decided not to run for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats.  I think her decision is a brave and important one. I'm not a Lib Dem supporter, but my understanding is that Jo was the frontrunner for the leadership.  She has a strong track record of commitment to equalities, so in one sense it's sad that she won't be leading the party, on this as well as on other issues.  But I applaud her for coming to the decision, and for explaining it as she…
Read More

Progression and quality of work

The week got off to a brisk start with a Resolution Foundation/CBI conference on the future of the labour market.  Three panel sessions, packed with a mix of analysis and practitioner input (how I wish that academics would learn from think tanks about how to get information across effectively...). A central theme was about the quality of work.  Partly this was because Matthew Taylor was one of the contributors.  Extensively trailing his forthcoming report on the gig economy, he told us that the primary focus will be on this theme of the quality of work, recognising that measuring quality is much more difficult and contentious than measuring quantity.  So although…
Read More

Imag(in)ing career trajectories

There's been quite a lot of comment recently on the topic of older people working.  Several major businesses - Aviva, Boots, the Coop and others - have got together to see what they can do to increase the numbers of over-50s in the workforce, and to encourage people to carry on working beyond the official pension age.  Aviva's Andy Briggs is the government's business champion for older workers, and he wants to see UK companies increasing the numbers of over-50s in the workforce from 9m to over 10m in the next five years. The arguments are quite familiar, and have been made for some time.  On the defensive side, an…
Read More

Contender for PP champion

I sometimes speculate on which country exemplifies the Paula Principle at its most powerful.  The most obvious contenders are Japan and, especially, Korea.  In both countries, women are very highly educated, to degree level and beyond, and yet the gender pay gap remains very large. The case of Korea is particularly striking, as women are well represented in science and engineering, so their careers are not as constrained by subject choice as they are elsewhere.  (Role models may be a slightly tricky issue there, with their first female president having been removed on charges of corruption.) But now there's another possible champion.  Step forward Saudi Arabia.  The country now has…
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

Women After All

Melvin Konner has written a highly original book, with an unusual message.  It pursues a similar theme to the Paula Principle, but much more broadly and with a completely different level of expertise. The subtitle of Women After All  is 'sex, evolution and the end of male supremacy'.  Konner predicts - and advocates - the future supremacy of women.  He opens with a quite striking proposition: This is a book with a very simple argument: women are not equal to men; they are superior in many ways, and in most ways that will count in the future.  It is not just a matter of culture of upbringing, although both play their…
Read More

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

Results for A levels were published yesterday in the UK.  This is the first year to show the outcomes of the reforms introduced by Michael Gove, and the coverage beforehand verged on the hysterical:  would the rushed through reforms lead to a drop in achievement? In the event, the results were something of a damp squib - for the commentators, not for the students, of course.  There was a tiny uplift overall in the top grades.  But since Ofqual had intervened to ensure there would be no dramatic drop in the results, this was hardly an objective improvement. Maybe as a result, the headline-writers fixed on something else:  "Boys outperform…
Read More

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

I've been interested for some time in our capacity for self-deception (including my own), and so was intrigued by a book title, Being Wrong.  Kathryn Schulz makes a lively case for being more relaxed about the errors we make, and argues positively that it's only by risking being wrong that we get to empathise with each other.  She has a lot of perceptive things to say about certainty, e.g. Our dislike of doubt is a kind of emotional agoraphobia.  Uncertainty leaves us stranded in a universe that is too big, too open, too ill-defined. Overall, I think she tries to do too much with the argument, and doesn't provide us with…
Read More

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

One of the odd things about writing the Paula Principle was how hard it was to find contemporary novels which made women and work anything like their central theme.  My better read friends put their heads together, but most of their examples of fiction that covered this were of books from earlier times.  So I was able to include Middlemarch from the C19 and Dorothy Whipple's High Wages from the 1930s, but later examples didn't come easily. One of my holiday books was Joanna Trollope's City of Friends.   I can't remember whether it was a friend or a reviewer who recommended it, but I had it down on my to-read list and spotted it in a…
Read More

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

The Scottish Parliament has a Committee on Economy, Jobs and Fair Work.  I like the normative character of the last bit in the title;  it goes along with the new emphasis on quality of work in the upcomingTaylor report (cf my previous post). The Committee has just produced an excellent report:  No Small Change: the economic potential of closing the gender pay gap.  (Minor declaration of interest: I submitted evidence to it.)   Many of the issues are very familiar, e.g. on recruiting more women into STEM subjects and the need to build in greater opportunities for flexible working, but none the less important for all that.  The report does a…
Read More

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

"Just because a man would do it doesn't make it the right thing to do." These are Jo Swindon's words in explaining why she has decided not to run for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats.  I think her decision is a brave and important one. I'm not a Lib Dem supporter, but my understanding is that Jo was the frontrunner for the leadership.  She has a strong track record of commitment to equalities, so in one sense it's sad that she won't be leading the party, on this as well as on other issues.  But I applaud her for coming to the decision, and for explaining it as she…
Read More

Progression and quality of work

The week got off to a brisk start with a Resolution Foundation/CBI conference on the future of the labour market.  Three panel sessions, packed with a mix of analysis and practitioner input (how I wish that academics would learn from think tanks about how to get information across effectively...). A central theme was about the quality of work.  Partly this was because Matthew Taylor was one of the contributors.  Extensively trailing his forthcoming report on the gig economy, he told us that the primary focus will be on this theme of the quality of work, recognising that measuring quality is much more difficult and contentious than measuring quantity.  So although…
Read More

Imag(in)ing career trajectories

There's been quite a lot of comment recently on the topic of older people working.  Several major businesses - Aviva, Boots, the Coop and others - have got together to see what they can do to increase the numbers of over-50s in the workforce, and to encourage people to carry on working beyond the official pension age.  Aviva's Andy Briggs is the government's business champion for older workers, and he wants to see UK companies increasing the numbers of over-50s in the workforce from 9m to over 10m in the next five years. The arguments are quite familiar, and have been made for some time.  On the defensive side, an…
Read More

Contender for PP champion

I sometimes speculate on which country exemplifies the Paula Principle at its most powerful.  The most obvious contenders are Japan and, especially, Korea.  In both countries, women are very highly educated, to degree level and beyond, and yet the gender pay gap remains very large. The case of Korea is particularly striking, as women are well represented in science and engineering, so their careers are not as constrained by subject choice as they are elsewhere.  (Role models may be a slightly tricky issue there, with their first female president having been removed on charges of corruption.) But now there's another possible champion.  Step forward Saudi Arabia.  The country now has…
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

Women After All

Melvin Konner has written a highly original book, with an unusual message.  It pursues a similar theme to the Paula Principle, but much more broadly and with a completely different level of expertise. The subtitle of Women After All  is 'sex, evolution and the end of male supremacy'.  Konner predicts - and advocates - the future supremacy of women.  He opens with a quite striking proposition: This is a book with a very simple argument: women are not equal to men; they are superior in many ways, and in most ways that will count in the future.  It is not just a matter of culture of upbringing, although both play their…
Read More

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

Results for A levels were published yesterday in the UK.  This is the first year to show the outcomes of the reforms introduced by Michael Gove, and the coverage beforehand verged on the hysterical:  would the rushed through reforms lead to a drop in achievement? In the event, the results were something of a damp squib - for the commentators, not for the students, of course.  There was a tiny uplift overall in the top grades.  But since Ofqual had intervened to ensure there would be no dramatic drop in the results, this was hardly an objective improvement. Maybe as a result, the headline-writers fixed on something else:  "Boys outperform…
Read More

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

I've been interested for some time in our capacity for self-deception (including my own), and so was intrigued by a book title, Being Wrong.  Kathryn Schulz makes a lively case for being more relaxed about the errors we make, and argues positively that it's only by risking being wrong that we get to empathise with each other.  She has a lot of perceptive things to say about certainty, e.g. Our dislike of doubt is a kind of emotional agoraphobia.  Uncertainty leaves us stranded in a universe that is too big, too open, too ill-defined. Overall, I think she tries to do too much with the argument, and doesn't provide us with…
Read More

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

One of the odd things about writing the Paula Principle was how hard it was to find contemporary novels which made women and work anything like their central theme.  My better read friends put their heads together, but most of their examples of fiction that covered this were of books from earlier times.  So I was able to include Middlemarch from the C19 and Dorothy Whipple's High Wages from the 1930s, but later examples didn't come easily. One of my holiday books was Joanna Trollope's City of Friends.   I can't remember whether it was a friend or a reviewer who recommended it, but I had it down on my to-read list and spotted it in a…
Read More

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

The Scottish Parliament has a Committee on Economy, Jobs and Fair Work.  I like the normative character of the last bit in the title;  it goes along with the new emphasis on quality of work in the upcomingTaylor report (cf my previous post). The Committee has just produced an excellent report:  No Small Change: the economic potential of closing the gender pay gap.  (Minor declaration of interest: I submitted evidence to it.)   Many of the issues are very familiar, e.g. on recruiting more women into STEM subjects and the need to build in greater opportunities for flexible working, but none the less important for all that.  The report does a…
Read More

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

"Just because a man would do it doesn't make it the right thing to do." These are Jo Swindon's words in explaining why she has decided not to run for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats.  I think her decision is a brave and important one. I'm not a Lib Dem supporter, but my understanding is that Jo was the frontrunner for the leadership.  She has a strong track record of commitment to equalities, so in one sense it's sad that she won't be leading the party, on this as well as on other issues.  But I applaud her for coming to the decision, and for explaining it as she…
Read More

Progression and quality of work

The week got off to a brisk start with a Resolution Foundation/CBI conference on the future of the labour market.  Three panel sessions, packed with a mix of analysis and practitioner input (how I wish that academics would learn from think tanks about how to get information across effectively...). A central theme was about the quality of work.  Partly this was because Matthew Taylor was one of the contributors.  Extensively trailing his forthcoming report on the gig economy, he told us that the primary focus will be on this theme of the quality of work, recognising that measuring quality is much more difficult and contentious than measuring quantity.  So although…
Read More

Imag(in)ing career trajectories

There's been quite a lot of comment recently on the topic of older people working.  Several major businesses - Aviva, Boots, the Coop and others - have got together to see what they can do to increase the numbers of over-50s in the workforce, and to encourage people to carry on working beyond the official pension age.  Aviva's Andy Briggs is the government's business champion for older workers, and he wants to see UK companies increasing the numbers of over-50s in the workforce from 9m to over 10m in the next five years. The arguments are quite familiar, and have been made for some time.  On the defensive side, an…
Read More

Contender for PP champion

I sometimes speculate on which country exemplifies the Paula Principle at its most powerful.  The most obvious contenders are Japan and, especially, Korea.  In both countries, women are very highly educated, to degree level and beyond, and yet the gender pay gap remains very large. The case of Korea is particularly striking, as women are well represented in science and engineering, so their careers are not as constrained by subject choice as they are elsewhere.  (Role models may be a slightly tricky issue there, with their first female president having been removed on charges of corruption.) But now there's another possible champion.  Step forward Saudi Arabia.  The country now has…
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

Women After All

Melvin Konner has written a highly original book, with an unusual message.  It pursues a similar theme to the Paula Principle, but much more broadly and with a completely different level of expertise. The subtitle of Women After All  is 'sex, evolution and the end of male supremacy'.  Konner predicts - and advocates - the future supremacy of women.  He opens with a quite striking proposition: This is a book with a very simple argument: women are not equal to men; they are superior in many ways, and in most ways that will count in the future.  It is not just a matter of culture of upbringing, although both play their…
Read More

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

Results for A levels were published yesterday in the UK.  This is the first year to show the outcomes of the reforms introduced by Michael Gove, and the coverage beforehand verged on the hysterical:  would the rushed through reforms lead to a drop in achievement? In the event, the results were something of a damp squib - for the commentators, not for the students, of course.  There was a tiny uplift overall in the top grades.  But since Ofqual had intervened to ensure there would be no dramatic drop in the results, this was hardly an objective improvement. Maybe as a result, the headline-writers fixed on something else:  "Boys outperform…
Read More

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

I've been interested for some time in our capacity for self-deception (including my own), and so was intrigued by a book title, Being Wrong.  Kathryn Schulz makes a lively case for being more relaxed about the errors we make, and argues positively that it's only by risking being wrong that we get to empathise with each other.  She has a lot of perceptive things to say about certainty, e.g. Our dislike of doubt is a kind of emotional agoraphobia.  Uncertainty leaves us stranded in a universe that is too big, too open, too ill-defined. Overall, I think she tries to do too much with the argument, and doesn't provide us with…
Read More

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

One of the odd things about writing the Paula Principle was how hard it was to find contemporary novels which made women and work anything like their central theme.  My better read friends put their heads together, but most of their examples of fiction that covered this were of books from earlier times.  So I was able to include Middlemarch from the C19 and Dorothy Whipple's High Wages from the 1930s, but later examples didn't come easily. One of my holiday books was Joanna Trollope's City of Friends.   I can't remember whether it was a friend or a reviewer who recommended it, but I had it down on my to-read list and spotted it in a…
Read More

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

The Scottish Parliament has a Committee on Economy, Jobs and Fair Work.  I like the normative character of the last bit in the title;  it goes along with the new emphasis on quality of work in the upcomingTaylor report (cf my previous post). The Committee has just produced an excellent report:  No Small Change: the economic potential of closing the gender pay gap.  (Minor declaration of interest: I submitted evidence to it.)   Many of the issues are very familiar, e.g. on recruiting more women into STEM subjects and the need to build in greater opportunities for flexible working, but none the less important for all that.  The report does a…
Read More

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

"Just because a man would do it doesn't make it the right thing to do." These are Jo Swindon's words in explaining why she has decided not to run for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats.  I think her decision is a brave and important one. I'm not a Lib Dem supporter, but my understanding is that Jo was the frontrunner for the leadership.  She has a strong track record of commitment to equalities, so in one sense it's sad that she won't be leading the party, on this as well as on other issues.  But I applaud her for coming to the decision, and for explaining it as she…
Read More

Progression and quality of work

The week got off to a brisk start with a Resolution Foundation/CBI conference on the future of the labour market.  Three panel sessions, packed with a mix of analysis and practitioner input (how I wish that academics would learn from think tanks about how to get information across effectively...). A central theme was about the quality of work.  Partly this was because Matthew Taylor was one of the contributors.  Extensively trailing his forthcoming report on the gig economy, he told us that the primary focus will be on this theme of the quality of work, recognising that measuring quality is much more difficult and contentious than measuring quantity.  So although…
Read More

Imag(in)ing career trajectories

There's been quite a lot of comment recently on the topic of older people working.  Several major businesses - Aviva, Boots, the Coop and others - have got together to see what they can do to increase the numbers of over-50s in the workforce, and to encourage people to carry on working beyond the official pension age.  Aviva's Andy Briggs is the government's business champion for older workers, and he wants to see UK companies increasing the numbers of over-50s in the workforce from 9m to over 10m in the next five years. The arguments are quite familiar, and have been made for some time.  On the defensive side, an…
Read More

Contender for PP champion

I sometimes speculate on which country exemplifies the Paula Principle at its most powerful.  The most obvious contenders are Japan and, especially, Korea.  In both countries, women are very highly educated, to degree level and beyond, and yet the gender pay gap remains very large. The case of Korea is particularly striking, as women are well represented in science and engineering, so their careers are not as constrained by subject choice as they are elsewhere.  (Role models may be a slightly tricky issue there, with their first female president having been removed on charges of corruption.) But now there's another possible champion.  Step forward Saudi Arabia.  The country now has…
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

Women After All

Melvin Konner has written a highly original book, with an unusual message.  It pursues a similar theme to the Paula Principle, but much more broadly and with a completely different level of expertise. The subtitle of Women After All  is 'sex, evolution and the end of male supremacy'.  Konner predicts - and advocates - the future supremacy of women.  He opens with a quite striking proposition: This is a book with a very simple argument: women are not equal to men; they are superior in many ways, and in most ways that will count in the future.  It is not just a matter of culture of upbringing, although both play their…
Read More

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

Results for A levels were published yesterday in the UK.  This is the first year to show the outcomes of the reforms introduced by Michael Gove, and the coverage beforehand verged on the hysterical:  would the rushed through reforms lead to a drop in achievement? In the event, the results were something of a damp squib - for the commentators, not for the students, of course.  There was a tiny uplift overall in the top grades.  But since Ofqual had intervened to ensure there would be no dramatic drop in the results, this was hardly an objective improvement. Maybe as a result, the headline-writers fixed on something else:  "Boys outperform…
Read More

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

I've been interested for some time in our capacity for self-deception (including my own), and so was intrigued by a book title, Being Wrong.  Kathryn Schulz makes a lively case for being more relaxed about the errors we make, and argues positively that it's only by risking being wrong that we get to empathise with each other.  She has a lot of perceptive things to say about certainty, e.g. Our dislike of doubt is a kind of emotional agoraphobia.  Uncertainty leaves us stranded in a universe that is too big, too open, too ill-defined. Overall, I think she tries to do too much with the argument, and doesn't provide us with…
Read More

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

One of the odd things about writing the Paula Principle was how hard it was to find contemporary novels which made women and work anything like their central theme.  My better read friends put their heads together, but most of their examples of fiction that covered this were of books from earlier times.  So I was able to include Middlemarch from the C19 and Dorothy Whipple's High Wages from the 1930s, but later examples didn't come easily. One of my holiday books was Joanna Trollope's City of Friends.   I can't remember whether it was a friend or a reviewer who recommended it, but I had it down on my to-read list and spotted it in a…
Read More

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

The Scottish Parliament has a Committee on Economy, Jobs and Fair Work.  I like the normative character of the last bit in the title;  it goes along with the new emphasis on quality of work in the upcomingTaylor report (cf my previous post). The Committee has just produced an excellent report:  No Small Change: the economic potential of closing the gender pay gap.  (Minor declaration of interest: I submitted evidence to it.)   Many of the issues are very familiar, e.g. on recruiting more women into STEM subjects and the need to build in greater opportunities for flexible working, but none the less important for all that.  The report does a…
Read More

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

"Just because a man would do it doesn't make it the right thing to do." These are Jo Swindon's words in explaining why she has decided not to run for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats.  I think her decision is a brave and important one. I'm not a Lib Dem supporter, but my understanding is that Jo was the frontrunner for the leadership.  She has a strong track record of commitment to equalities, so in one sense it's sad that she won't be leading the party, on this as well as on other issues.  But I applaud her for coming to the decision, and for explaining it as she…
Read More

Progression and quality of work

The week got off to a brisk start with a Resolution Foundation/CBI conference on the future of the labour market.  Three panel sessions, packed with a mix of analysis and practitioner input (how I wish that academics would learn from think tanks about how to get information across effectively...). A central theme was about the quality of work.  Partly this was because Matthew Taylor was one of the contributors.  Extensively trailing his forthcoming report on the gig economy, he told us that the primary focus will be on this theme of the quality of work, recognising that measuring quality is much more difficult and contentious than measuring quantity.  So although…
Read More

Imag(in)ing career trajectories

There's been quite a lot of comment recently on the topic of older people working.  Several major businesses - Aviva, Boots, the Coop and others - have got together to see what they can do to increase the numbers of over-50s in the workforce, and to encourage people to carry on working beyond the official pension age.  Aviva's Andy Briggs is the government's business champion for older workers, and he wants to see UK companies increasing the numbers of over-50s in the workforce from 9m to over 10m in the next five years. The arguments are quite familiar, and have been made for some time.  On the defensive side, an…
Read More

Contender for PP champion

I sometimes speculate on which country exemplifies the Paula Principle at its most powerful.  The most obvious contenders are Japan and, especially, Korea.  In both countries, women are very highly educated, to degree level and beyond, and yet the gender pay gap remains very large. The case of Korea is particularly striking, as women are well represented in science and engineering, so their careers are not as constrained by subject choice as they are elsewhere.  (Role models may be a slightly tricky issue there, with their first female president having been removed on charges of corruption.) But now there's another possible champion.  Step forward Saudi Arabia.  The country now has…
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

Women After All

Melvin Konner has written a highly original book, with an unusual message.  It pursues a similar theme to the Paula Principle, but much more broadly and with a completely different level of expertise. The subtitle of Women After All  is 'sex, evolution and the end of male supremacy'.  Konner predicts - and advocates - the future supremacy of women.  He opens with a quite striking proposition: This is a book with a very simple argument: women are not equal to men; they are superior in many ways, and in most ways that will count in the future.  It is not just a matter of culture of upbringing, although both play their…
Read More

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

Results for A levels were published yesterday in the UK.  This is the first year to show the outcomes of the reforms introduced by Michael Gove, and the coverage beforehand verged on the hysterical:  would the rushed through reforms lead to a drop in achievement? In the event, the results were something of a damp squib - for the commentators, not for the students, of course.  There was a tiny uplift overall in the top grades.  But since Ofqual had intervened to ensure there would be no dramatic drop in the results, this was hardly an objective improvement. Maybe as a result, the headline-writers fixed on something else:  "Boys outperform…
Read More

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

I've been interested for some time in our capacity for self-deception (including my own), and so was intrigued by a book title, Being Wrong.  Kathryn Schulz makes a lively case for being more relaxed about the errors we make, and argues positively that it's only by risking being wrong that we get to empathise with each other.  She has a lot of perceptive things to say about certainty, e.g. Our dislike of doubt is a kind of emotional agoraphobia.  Uncertainty leaves us stranded in a universe that is too big, too open, too ill-defined. Overall, I think she tries to do too much with the argument, and doesn't provide us with…
Read More

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

One of the odd things about writing the Paula Principle was how hard it was to find contemporary novels which made women and work anything like their central theme.  My better read friends put their heads together, but most of their examples of fiction that covered this were of books from earlier times.  So I was able to include Middlemarch from the C19 and Dorothy Whipple's High Wages from the 1930s, but later examples didn't come easily. One of my holiday books was Joanna Trollope's City of Friends.   I can't remember whether it was a friend or a reviewer who recommended it, but I had it down on my to-read list and spotted it in a…
Read More

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

The Scottish Parliament has a Committee on Economy, Jobs and Fair Work.  I like the normative character of the last bit in the title;  it goes along with the new emphasis on quality of work in the upcomingTaylor report (cf my previous post). The Committee has just produced an excellent report:  No Small Change: the economic potential of closing the gender pay gap.  (Minor declaration of interest: I submitted evidence to it.)   Many of the issues are very familiar, e.g. on recruiting more women into STEM subjects and the need to build in greater opportunities for flexible working, but none the less important for all that.  The report does a…
Read More

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

"Just because a man would do it doesn't make it the right thing to do." These are Jo Swindon's words in explaining why she has decided not to run for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats.  I think her decision is a brave and important one. I'm not a Lib Dem supporter, but my understanding is that Jo was the frontrunner for the leadership.  She has a strong track record of commitment to equalities, so in one sense it's sad that she won't be leading the party, on this as well as on other issues.  But I applaud her for coming to the decision, and for explaining it as she…
Read More

Progression and quality of work

The week got off to a brisk start with a Resolution Foundation/CBI conference on the future of the labour market.  Three panel sessions, packed with a mix of analysis and practitioner input (how I wish that academics would learn from think tanks about how to get information across effectively...). A central theme was about the quality of work.  Partly this was because Matthew Taylor was one of the contributors.  Extensively trailing his forthcoming report on the gig economy, he told us that the primary focus will be on this theme of the quality of work, recognising that measuring quality is much more difficult and contentious than measuring quantity.  So although…
Read More

Imag(in)ing career trajectories

There's been quite a lot of comment recently on the topic of older people working.  Several major businesses - Aviva, Boots, the Coop and others - have got together to see what they can do to increase the numbers of over-50s in the workforce, and to encourage people to carry on working beyond the official pension age.  Aviva's Andy Briggs is the government's business champion for older workers, and he wants to see UK companies increasing the numbers of over-50s in the workforce from 9m to over 10m in the next five years. The arguments are quite familiar, and have been made for some time.  On the defensive side, an…
Read More

Contender for PP champion

I sometimes speculate on which country exemplifies the Paula Principle at its most powerful.  The most obvious contenders are Japan and, especially, Korea.  In both countries, women are very highly educated, to degree level and beyond, and yet the gender pay gap remains very large. The case of Korea is particularly striking, as women are well represented in science and engineering, so their careers are not as constrained by subject choice as they are elsewhere.  (Role models may be a slightly tricky issue there, with their first female president having been removed on charges of corruption.) But now there's another possible champion.  Step forward Saudi Arabia.  The country now has…
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

Women After All

Melvin Konner has written a highly original book, with an unusual message.  It pursues a similar theme to the Paula Principle, but much more broadly and with a completely different level of expertise. The subtitle of Women After All  is 'sex, evolution and the end of male supremacy'.  Konner predicts - and advocates - the future supremacy of women.  He opens with a quite striking proposition: This is a book with a very simple argument: women are not equal to men; they are superior in many ways, and in most ways that will count in the future.  It is not just a matter of culture of upbringing, although both play their…
Read More

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

Results for A levels were published yesterday in the UK.  This is the first year to show the outcomes of the reforms introduced by Michael Gove, and the coverage beforehand verged on the hysterical:  would the rushed through reforms lead to a drop in achievement? In the event, the results were something of a damp squib - for the commentators, not for the students, of course.  There was a tiny uplift overall in the top grades.  But since Ofqual had intervened to ensure there would be no dramatic drop in the results, this was hardly an objective improvement. Maybe as a result, the headline-writers fixed on something else:  "Boys outperform…
Read More

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

I've been interested for some time in our capacity for self-deception (including my own), and so was intrigued by a book title, Being Wrong.  Kathryn Schulz makes a lively case for being more relaxed about the errors we make, and argues positively that it's only by risking being wrong that we get to empathise with each other.  She has a lot of perceptive things to say about certainty, e.g. Our dislike of doubt is a kind of emotional agoraphobia.  Uncertainty leaves us stranded in a universe that is too big, too open, too ill-defined. Overall, I think she tries to do too much with the argument, and doesn't provide us with…
Read More

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

One of the odd things about writing the Paula Principle was how hard it was to find contemporary novels which made women and work anything like their central theme.  My better read friends put their heads together, but most of their examples of fiction that covered this were of books from earlier times.  So I was able to include Middlemarch from the C19 and Dorothy Whipple's High Wages from the 1930s, but later examples didn't come easily. One of my holiday books was Joanna Trollope's City of Friends.   I can't remember whether it was a friend or a reviewer who recommended it, but I had it down on my to-read list and spotted it in a…
Read More

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

The Scottish Parliament has a Committee on Economy, Jobs and Fair Work.  I like the normative character of the last bit in the title;  it goes along with the new emphasis on quality of work in the upcomingTaylor report (cf my previous post). The Committee has just produced an excellent report:  No Small Change: the economic potential of closing the gender pay gap.  (Minor declaration of interest: I submitted evidence to it.)   Many of the issues are very familiar, e.g. on recruiting more women into STEM subjects and the need to build in greater opportunities for flexible working, but none the less important for all that.  The report does a…
Read More

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

"Just because a man would do it doesn't make it the right thing to do." These are Jo Swindon's words in explaining why she has decided not to run for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats.  I think her decision is a brave and important one. I'm not a Lib Dem supporter, but my understanding is that Jo was the frontrunner for the leadership.  She has a strong track record of commitment to equalities, so in one sense it's sad that she won't be leading the party, on this as well as on other issues.  But I applaud her for coming to the decision, and for explaining it as she…
Read More

Progression and quality of work

The week got off to a brisk start with a Resolution Foundation/CBI conference on the future of the labour market.  Three panel sessions, packed with a mix of analysis and practitioner input (how I wish that academics would learn from think tanks about how to get information across effectively...). A central theme was about the quality of work.  Partly this was because Matthew Taylor was one of the contributors.  Extensively trailing his forthcoming report on the gig economy, he told us that the primary focus will be on this theme of the quality of work, recognising that measuring quality is much more difficult and contentious than measuring quantity.  So although…
Read More

Imag(in)ing career trajectories

There's been quite a lot of comment recently on the topic of older people working.  Several major businesses - Aviva, Boots, the Coop and others - have got together to see what they can do to increase the numbers of over-50s in the workforce, and to encourage people to carry on working beyond the official pension age.  Aviva's Andy Briggs is the government's business champion for older workers, and he wants to see UK companies increasing the numbers of over-50s in the workforce from 9m to over 10m in the next five years. The arguments are quite familiar, and have been made for some time.  On the defensive side, an…
Read More

Contender for PP champion

I sometimes speculate on which country exemplifies the Paula Principle at its most powerful.  The most obvious contenders are Japan and, especially, Korea.  In both countries, women are very highly educated, to degree level and beyond, and yet the gender pay gap remains very large. The case of Korea is particularly striking, as women are well represented in science and engineering, so their careers are not as constrained by subject choice as they are elsewhere.  (Role models may be a slightly tricky issue there, with their first female president having been removed on charges of corruption.) But now there's another possible champion.  Step forward Saudi Arabia.  The country now has…
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