Extreme PP: the Korean case

When I wrote the PP book, now nearly five years ago, South Korea was already the extreme example of the Paula Principle. On the education side young Korean women had shot up the OECD table of tertiary level achievement; but at work their qualifications gained little recognition, and the gender pay gap remained one of the biggest. A startling article from the New York Times reports on a wave of anti-feminism. Young male Koreans are turning their anger on women, who they see as depriving them of their life chances - in spite of the evidence that in their country above almost every other young women are unable to convert…
Read More

It’s sooo slooow: IFS on closing the GPG

The Institute for Fiscal Studies is running a massive study on inequality, funded by the Nuffield Foundation under the guidance of Nobel prizewinner Angus Deaton. The review will run for some time; its scope is admirably ambitious, covering themes such as family, employment, attitudes to inequality, tax, trade and several others. It is already a huge source of policy-relevant information, and promises to be a landmark. Naturally gender figures widely in the review as a whole, and the latest report, by Alison Andrew and colleagues, deals with gender inequality at work. It is called 'The more things change the more they stay the same'. The title is suitably wry; it…
Read More

Claudia Goldin and greedy jobs

Writing the PP as a non-expert on gender and employment I was very impressed by the work of the American economist Claudia Goldin. Her extensive empirical analysis of the reasons for pay gaps illuminated issues such as the role of occupational segregation - including the very striking fact that countries known for getting closest to gender equality - the Scandinavians - showed high levels of segregation, with women piling into human-oriented services such as nursing. This surprised me, though it is of course partly due to the fact that in those egalitarian countries the financial penalty for nursing rather than banking is much lower. The choices seem sensible ones, if…
Read More

Flexibility and careers

In the PP I argue that one of the key changes - if not the key change - needed for a fairer recognition of women's competences is in the way we think about careers: getting away from the model of full-time continuous employment with progression along a linear ladder. Surely, you may say, this is disappearing out of the window - kept open to let the coronavirus out. Well, Timewise has just published its annual review of flexible working. In 2020 there was a big jump in the overall proportion of jobs offered on a flexible basis, from 17% to 24%. Progress has not been sustained at the same rate,…
Read More

Who participates in E&T: the F/M gap…

A recent piece by Petra Ahrens and Lise Rolandsen Agustin in Social Europe addressed gender equality in European institutions. They showed that there has quite strong progress towards numerical equality in the European Parliament; but this simple top-level statistic disguises how institutional mechanisms operate to sideline the issue. In particular: Gender equality is still habitually misunderstood as a ‘women’s issue’—often in a way which essentialises identity—or defensively restricted to its ‘business case’. Many MEPs continue to see gender equality as a niche with little to do with other policy domains and thus commitment to gender equality remains limited in a lot of committees and political groups. In addition, the growing…
Read More

International GPG scorecard

I'm something of a sucker for international comparisons. As it happens I'm also highly sceptical of many international ranking tables, which often court the publicity that comes from such ranking by overstretching the intrinsic validity of their measures. The Fawcett Society and Kings College's Global Institute for Women's Leadership have combined to produce Bridging the Gap an interesting set of case studies on gender pay gap reporting. The report centres round a score card which is used to rank the six participating countries. Happily it does so in a way which seems to me reasonable and helpful. The countries are Australia, South Africa, Spain, France, Sweden and the UK. I'll…
Read More

On not knowing: the arc of ignorance

"Saying 'I don't know' is becoming increasingly rare these days". That was Elif Shafak, the wonderful Turkish writer as she exchanged views with Bernard-Henri Lévy on the slightly-less-than-cheerful topic of Misery and Hope at a recent Kings Place event. (Chapeau to the KP for hosting these events as part of their distinctive programming.) I've just finished Shafak's latest novel, The Island of Missing Trees, an imaginative and genuinely moving account of a love affair that has to bridge Cyprus' bitter Greco-Turkish divide (and featuring a fig tree as one of the main characters...). Her simple phrase chimes with something I've been thinking about recently, often in relation to American political…
Read More

Peggy Seeger and crossovers

Forgive the self-indulgence, but I have to share a coincidence. Bear with me - there is more than one PP-related point to it. I was walking yesterday on Hampstead Heath, listening as I occasionally do to Michael Berkeley's programme of musical interviews, Private Passions. The guest this week was Peggy Seeger, the folk singer. At 86 she was sharp, full of humour and very open. Towards the end of the programme, Peggy talked about one of her most famous songs, "I want to be an engineer". She described its origins: she was doing the accounts when her partner Ewen MacColl came down and said they needed a song, urgently; Peggy…
Read More

Chinese women: linking PP and TH

"China's female professionals are fighting the world's lowest retirement age." The item in the FT caught my attention because it links my past and my present: the struggle for greater recognition for women's competences, across the full life course (Paula Principle, book done); and the changing definitions of where people stand in that life course (Triple Helix, book still very much to be done). I couldn't find trends on Chinese women's educational achievement in the OECD's comparative statistics. Gathering these will be a huge task. But I'd be willing to bet that in the metropolitan regions at least young Chinese women over outdoing their male contemporaries. However older women will…
Read More

GPG reporting internationally

Requiring companies to report on their gender pay gaps is becoming more common around the world. A 6-country analysis from the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at King's College London draws on 80 interviews with people well placed to judge what impact this is having, and what the main challenges are. The countries' scorecards are below. The report's conclusions are to some extent predictable (though none the less valid for all that): a need for greater transparency and accountability; stronger sanctions; measurable targets; and integration of policies to deal with GPGs at all levels. But the insights from the launch's widely experienced panel discussion were particularly valuable. More than one…
Read More

Extreme PP: the Korean case

When I wrote the PP book, now nearly five years ago, South Korea was already the extreme example of the Paula Principle. On the education side young Korean women had shot up the OECD table of tertiary level achievement; but at work their qualifications gained little recognition, and the gender pay gap remained one of the biggest. A startling article from the New York Times reports on a wave of anti-feminism. Young male Koreans are turning their anger on women, who they see as depriving them of their life chances - in spite of the evidence that in their country above almost every other young women are unable to convert…
Read More

It’s sooo slooow: IFS on closing the GPG

The Institute for Fiscal Studies is running a massive study on inequality, funded by the Nuffield Foundation under the guidance of Nobel prizewinner Angus Deaton. The review will run for some time; its scope is admirably ambitious, covering themes such as family, employment, attitudes to inequality, tax, trade and several others. It is already a huge source of policy-relevant information, and promises to be a landmark. Naturally gender figures widely in the review as a whole, and the latest report, by Alison Andrew and colleagues, deals with gender inequality at work. It is called 'The more things change the more they stay the same'. The title is suitably wry; it…
Read More

Claudia Goldin and greedy jobs

Writing the PP as a non-expert on gender and employment I was very impressed by the work of the American economist Claudia Goldin. Her extensive empirical analysis of the reasons for pay gaps illuminated issues such as the role of occupational segregation - including the very striking fact that countries known for getting closest to gender equality - the Scandinavians - showed high levels of segregation, with women piling into human-oriented services such as nursing. This surprised me, though it is of course partly due to the fact that in those egalitarian countries the financial penalty for nursing rather than banking is much lower. The choices seem sensible ones, if…
Read More

Flexibility and careers

In the PP I argue that one of the key changes - if not the key change - needed for a fairer recognition of women's competences is in the way we think about careers: getting away from the model of full-time continuous employment with progression along a linear ladder. Surely, you may say, this is disappearing out of the window - kept open to let the coronavirus out. Well, Timewise has just published its annual review of flexible working. In 2020 there was a big jump in the overall proportion of jobs offered on a flexible basis, from 17% to 24%. Progress has not been sustained at the same rate,…
Read More

Who participates in E&T: the F/M gap…

A recent piece by Petra Ahrens and Lise Rolandsen Agustin in Social Europe addressed gender equality in European institutions. They showed that there has quite strong progress towards numerical equality in the European Parliament; but this simple top-level statistic disguises how institutional mechanisms operate to sideline the issue. In particular: Gender equality is still habitually misunderstood as a ‘women’s issue’—often in a way which essentialises identity—or defensively restricted to its ‘business case’. Many MEPs continue to see gender equality as a niche with little to do with other policy domains and thus commitment to gender equality remains limited in a lot of committees and political groups. In addition, the growing…
Read More

International GPG scorecard

I'm something of a sucker for international comparisons. As it happens I'm also highly sceptical of many international ranking tables, which often court the publicity that comes from such ranking by overstretching the intrinsic validity of their measures. The Fawcett Society and Kings College's Global Institute for Women's Leadership have combined to produce Bridging the Gap an interesting set of case studies on gender pay gap reporting. The report centres round a score card which is used to rank the six participating countries. Happily it does so in a way which seems to me reasonable and helpful. The countries are Australia, South Africa, Spain, France, Sweden and the UK. I'll…
Read More

On not knowing: the arc of ignorance

"Saying 'I don't know' is becoming increasingly rare these days". That was Elif Shafak, the wonderful Turkish writer as she exchanged views with Bernard-Henri Lévy on the slightly-less-than-cheerful topic of Misery and Hope at a recent Kings Place event. (Chapeau to the KP for hosting these events as part of their distinctive programming.) I've just finished Shafak's latest novel, The Island of Missing Trees, an imaginative and genuinely moving account of a love affair that has to bridge Cyprus' bitter Greco-Turkish divide (and featuring a fig tree as one of the main characters...). Her simple phrase chimes with something I've been thinking about recently, often in relation to American political…
Read More

Peggy Seeger and crossovers

Forgive the self-indulgence, but I have to share a coincidence. Bear with me - there is more than one PP-related point to it. I was walking yesterday on Hampstead Heath, listening as I occasionally do to Michael Berkeley's programme of musical interviews, Private Passions. The guest this week was Peggy Seeger, the folk singer. At 86 she was sharp, full of humour and very open. Towards the end of the programme, Peggy talked about one of her most famous songs, "I want to be an engineer". She described its origins: she was doing the accounts when her partner Ewen MacColl came down and said they needed a song, urgently; Peggy…
Read More

Chinese women: linking PP and TH

"China's female professionals are fighting the world's lowest retirement age." The item in the FT caught my attention because it links my past and my present: the struggle for greater recognition for women's competences, across the full life course (Paula Principle, book done); and the changing definitions of where people stand in that life course (Triple Helix, book still very much to be done). I couldn't find trends on Chinese women's educational achievement in the OECD's comparative statistics. Gathering these will be a huge task. But I'd be willing to bet that in the metropolitan regions at least young Chinese women over outdoing their male contemporaries. However older women will…
Read More

GPG reporting internationally

Requiring companies to report on their gender pay gaps is becoming more common around the world. A 6-country analysis from the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at King's College London draws on 80 interviews with people well placed to judge what impact this is having, and what the main challenges are. The countries' scorecards are below. The report's conclusions are to some extent predictable (though none the less valid for all that): a need for greater transparency and accountability; stronger sanctions; measurable targets; and integration of policies to deal with GPGs at all levels. But the insights from the launch's widely experienced panel discussion were particularly valuable. More than one…
Read More

Extreme PP: the Korean case

When I wrote the PP book, now nearly five years ago, South Korea was already the extreme example of the Paula Principle. On the education side young Korean women had shot up the OECD table of tertiary level achievement; but at work their qualifications gained little recognition, and the gender pay gap remained one of the biggest. A startling article from the New York Times reports on a wave of anti-feminism. Young male Koreans are turning their anger on women, who they see as depriving them of their life chances - in spite of the evidence that in their country above almost every other young women are unable to convert…
Read More

It’s sooo slooow: IFS on closing the GPG

The Institute for Fiscal Studies is running a massive study on inequality, funded by the Nuffield Foundation under the guidance of Nobel prizewinner Angus Deaton. The review will run for some time; its scope is admirably ambitious, covering themes such as family, employment, attitudes to inequality, tax, trade and several others. It is already a huge source of policy-relevant information, and promises to be a landmark. Naturally gender figures widely in the review as a whole, and the latest report, by Alison Andrew and colleagues, deals with gender inequality at work. It is called 'The more things change the more they stay the same'. The title is suitably wry; it…
Read More

Claudia Goldin and greedy jobs

Writing the PP as a non-expert on gender and employment I was very impressed by the work of the American economist Claudia Goldin. Her extensive empirical analysis of the reasons for pay gaps illuminated issues such as the role of occupational segregation - including the very striking fact that countries known for getting closest to gender equality - the Scandinavians - showed high levels of segregation, with women piling into human-oriented services such as nursing. This surprised me, though it is of course partly due to the fact that in those egalitarian countries the financial penalty for nursing rather than banking is much lower. The choices seem sensible ones, if…
Read More

Flexibility and careers

In the PP I argue that one of the key changes - if not the key change - needed for a fairer recognition of women's competences is in the way we think about careers: getting away from the model of full-time continuous employment with progression along a linear ladder. Surely, you may say, this is disappearing out of the window - kept open to let the coronavirus out. Well, Timewise has just published its annual review of flexible working. In 2020 there was a big jump in the overall proportion of jobs offered on a flexible basis, from 17% to 24%. Progress has not been sustained at the same rate,…
Read More

Who participates in E&T: the F/M gap…

A recent piece by Petra Ahrens and Lise Rolandsen Agustin in Social Europe addressed gender equality in European institutions. They showed that there has quite strong progress towards numerical equality in the European Parliament; but this simple top-level statistic disguises how institutional mechanisms operate to sideline the issue. In particular: Gender equality is still habitually misunderstood as a ‘women’s issue’—often in a way which essentialises identity—or defensively restricted to its ‘business case’. Many MEPs continue to see gender equality as a niche with little to do with other policy domains and thus commitment to gender equality remains limited in a lot of committees and political groups. In addition, the growing…
Read More

International GPG scorecard

I'm something of a sucker for international comparisons. As it happens I'm also highly sceptical of many international ranking tables, which often court the publicity that comes from such ranking by overstretching the intrinsic validity of their measures. The Fawcett Society and Kings College's Global Institute for Women's Leadership have combined to produce Bridging the Gap an interesting set of case studies on gender pay gap reporting. The report centres round a score card which is used to rank the six participating countries. Happily it does so in a way which seems to me reasonable and helpful. The countries are Australia, South Africa, Spain, France, Sweden and the UK. I'll…
Read More

On not knowing: the arc of ignorance

"Saying 'I don't know' is becoming increasingly rare these days". That was Elif Shafak, the wonderful Turkish writer as she exchanged views with Bernard-Henri Lévy on the slightly-less-than-cheerful topic of Misery and Hope at a recent Kings Place event. (Chapeau to the KP for hosting these events as part of their distinctive programming.) I've just finished Shafak's latest novel, The Island of Missing Trees, an imaginative and genuinely moving account of a love affair that has to bridge Cyprus' bitter Greco-Turkish divide (and featuring a fig tree as one of the main characters...). Her simple phrase chimes with something I've been thinking about recently, often in relation to American political…
Read More

Peggy Seeger and crossovers

Forgive the self-indulgence, but I have to share a coincidence. Bear with me - there is more than one PP-related point to it. I was walking yesterday on Hampstead Heath, listening as I occasionally do to Michael Berkeley's programme of musical interviews, Private Passions. The guest this week was Peggy Seeger, the folk singer. At 86 she was sharp, full of humour and very open. Towards the end of the programme, Peggy talked about one of her most famous songs, "I want to be an engineer". She described its origins: she was doing the accounts when her partner Ewen MacColl came down and said they needed a song, urgently; Peggy…
Read More

Chinese women: linking PP and TH

"China's female professionals are fighting the world's lowest retirement age." The item in the FT caught my attention because it links my past and my present: the struggle for greater recognition for women's competences, across the full life course (Paula Principle, book done); and the changing definitions of where people stand in that life course (Triple Helix, book still very much to be done). I couldn't find trends on Chinese women's educational achievement in the OECD's comparative statistics. Gathering these will be a huge task. But I'd be willing to bet that in the metropolitan regions at least young Chinese women over outdoing their male contemporaries. However older women will…
Read More

GPG reporting internationally

Requiring companies to report on their gender pay gaps is becoming more common around the world. A 6-country analysis from the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at King's College London draws on 80 interviews with people well placed to judge what impact this is having, and what the main challenges are. The countries' scorecards are below. The report's conclusions are to some extent predictable (though none the less valid for all that): a need for greater transparency and accountability; stronger sanctions; measurable targets; and integration of policies to deal with GPGs at all levels. But the insights from the launch's widely experienced panel discussion were particularly valuable. More than one…
Read More

Extreme PP: the Korean case

When I wrote the PP book, now nearly five years ago, South Korea was already the extreme example of the Paula Principle. On the education side young Korean women had shot up the OECD table of tertiary level achievement; but at work their qualifications gained little recognition, and the gender pay gap remained one of the biggest. A startling article from the New York Times reports on a wave of anti-feminism. Young male Koreans are turning their anger on women, who they see as depriving them of their life chances - in spite of the evidence that in their country above almost every other young women are unable to convert…
Read More

It’s sooo slooow: IFS on closing the GPG

The Institute for Fiscal Studies is running a massive study on inequality, funded by the Nuffield Foundation under the guidance of Nobel prizewinner Angus Deaton. The review will run for some time; its scope is admirably ambitious, covering themes such as family, employment, attitudes to inequality, tax, trade and several others. It is already a huge source of policy-relevant information, and promises to be a landmark. Naturally gender figures widely in the review as a whole, and the latest report, by Alison Andrew and colleagues, deals with gender inequality at work. It is called 'The more things change the more they stay the same'. The title is suitably wry; it…
Read More

Claudia Goldin and greedy jobs

Writing the PP as a non-expert on gender and employment I was very impressed by the work of the American economist Claudia Goldin. Her extensive empirical analysis of the reasons for pay gaps illuminated issues such as the role of occupational segregation - including the very striking fact that countries known for getting closest to gender equality - the Scandinavians - showed high levels of segregation, with women piling into human-oriented services such as nursing. This surprised me, though it is of course partly due to the fact that in those egalitarian countries the financial penalty for nursing rather than banking is much lower. The choices seem sensible ones, if…
Read More

Flexibility and careers

In the PP I argue that one of the key changes - if not the key change - needed for a fairer recognition of women's competences is in the way we think about careers: getting away from the model of full-time continuous employment with progression along a linear ladder. Surely, you may say, this is disappearing out of the window - kept open to let the coronavirus out. Well, Timewise has just published its annual review of flexible working. In 2020 there was a big jump in the overall proportion of jobs offered on a flexible basis, from 17% to 24%. Progress has not been sustained at the same rate,…
Read More

Who participates in E&T: the F/M gap…

A recent piece by Petra Ahrens and Lise Rolandsen Agustin in Social Europe addressed gender equality in European institutions. They showed that there has quite strong progress towards numerical equality in the European Parliament; but this simple top-level statistic disguises how institutional mechanisms operate to sideline the issue. In particular: Gender equality is still habitually misunderstood as a ‘women’s issue’—often in a way which essentialises identity—or defensively restricted to its ‘business case’. Many MEPs continue to see gender equality as a niche with little to do with other policy domains and thus commitment to gender equality remains limited in a lot of committees and political groups. In addition, the growing…
Read More

International GPG scorecard

I'm something of a sucker for international comparisons. As it happens I'm also highly sceptical of many international ranking tables, which often court the publicity that comes from such ranking by overstretching the intrinsic validity of their measures. The Fawcett Society and Kings College's Global Institute for Women's Leadership have combined to produce Bridging the Gap an interesting set of case studies on gender pay gap reporting. The report centres round a score card which is used to rank the six participating countries. Happily it does so in a way which seems to me reasonable and helpful. The countries are Australia, South Africa, Spain, France, Sweden and the UK. I'll…
Read More

On not knowing: the arc of ignorance

"Saying 'I don't know' is becoming increasingly rare these days". That was Elif Shafak, the wonderful Turkish writer as she exchanged views with Bernard-Henri Lévy on the slightly-less-than-cheerful topic of Misery and Hope at a recent Kings Place event. (Chapeau to the KP for hosting these events as part of their distinctive programming.) I've just finished Shafak's latest novel, The Island of Missing Trees, an imaginative and genuinely moving account of a love affair that has to bridge Cyprus' bitter Greco-Turkish divide (and featuring a fig tree as one of the main characters...). Her simple phrase chimes with something I've been thinking about recently, often in relation to American political…
Read More

Peggy Seeger and crossovers

Forgive the self-indulgence, but I have to share a coincidence. Bear with me - there is more than one PP-related point to it. I was walking yesterday on Hampstead Heath, listening as I occasionally do to Michael Berkeley's programme of musical interviews, Private Passions. The guest this week was Peggy Seeger, the folk singer. At 86 she was sharp, full of humour and very open. Towards the end of the programme, Peggy talked about one of her most famous songs, "I want to be an engineer". She described its origins: she was doing the accounts when her partner Ewen MacColl came down and said they needed a song, urgently; Peggy…
Read More

Chinese women: linking PP and TH

"China's female professionals are fighting the world's lowest retirement age." The item in the FT caught my attention because it links my past and my present: the struggle for greater recognition for women's competences, across the full life course (Paula Principle, book done); and the changing definitions of where people stand in that life course (Triple Helix, book still very much to be done). I couldn't find trends on Chinese women's educational achievement in the OECD's comparative statistics. Gathering these will be a huge task. But I'd be willing to bet that in the metropolitan regions at least young Chinese women over outdoing their male contemporaries. However older women will…
Read More

GPG reporting internationally

Requiring companies to report on their gender pay gaps is becoming more common around the world. A 6-country analysis from the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at King's College London draws on 80 interviews with people well placed to judge what impact this is having, and what the main challenges are. The countries' scorecards are below. The report's conclusions are to some extent predictable (though none the less valid for all that): a need for greater transparency and accountability; stronger sanctions; measurable targets; and integration of policies to deal with GPGs at all levels. But the insights from the launch's widely experienced panel discussion were particularly valuable. More than one…
Read More

Extreme PP: the Korean case

When I wrote the PP book, now nearly five years ago, South Korea was already the extreme example of the Paula Principle. On the education side young Korean women had shot up the OECD table of tertiary level achievement; but at work their qualifications gained little recognition, and the gender pay gap remained one of the biggest. A startling article from the New York Times reports on a wave of anti-feminism. Young male Koreans are turning their anger on women, who they see as depriving them of their life chances - in spite of the evidence that in their country above almost every other young women are unable to convert…
Read More

It’s sooo slooow: IFS on closing the GPG

The Institute for Fiscal Studies is running a massive study on inequality, funded by the Nuffield Foundation under the guidance of Nobel prizewinner Angus Deaton. The review will run for some time; its scope is admirably ambitious, covering themes such as family, employment, attitudes to inequality, tax, trade and several others. It is already a huge source of policy-relevant information, and promises to be a landmark. Naturally gender figures widely in the review as a whole, and the latest report, by Alison Andrew and colleagues, deals with gender inequality at work. It is called 'The more things change the more they stay the same'. The title is suitably wry; it…
Read More

Claudia Goldin and greedy jobs

Writing the PP as a non-expert on gender and employment I was very impressed by the work of the American economist Claudia Goldin. Her extensive empirical analysis of the reasons for pay gaps illuminated issues such as the role of occupational segregation - including the very striking fact that countries known for getting closest to gender equality - the Scandinavians - showed high levels of segregation, with women piling into human-oriented services such as nursing. This surprised me, though it is of course partly due to the fact that in those egalitarian countries the financial penalty for nursing rather than banking is much lower. The choices seem sensible ones, if…
Read More

Flexibility and careers

In the PP I argue that one of the key changes - if not the key change - needed for a fairer recognition of women's competences is in the way we think about careers: getting away from the model of full-time continuous employment with progression along a linear ladder. Surely, you may say, this is disappearing out of the window - kept open to let the coronavirus out. Well, Timewise has just published its annual review of flexible working. In 2020 there was a big jump in the overall proportion of jobs offered on a flexible basis, from 17% to 24%. Progress has not been sustained at the same rate,…
Read More

Who participates in E&T: the F/M gap…

A recent piece by Petra Ahrens and Lise Rolandsen Agustin in Social Europe addressed gender equality in European institutions. They showed that there has quite strong progress towards numerical equality in the European Parliament; but this simple top-level statistic disguises how institutional mechanisms operate to sideline the issue. In particular: Gender equality is still habitually misunderstood as a ‘women’s issue’—often in a way which essentialises identity—or defensively restricted to its ‘business case’. Many MEPs continue to see gender equality as a niche with little to do with other policy domains and thus commitment to gender equality remains limited in a lot of committees and political groups. In addition, the growing…
Read More

International GPG scorecard

I'm something of a sucker for international comparisons. As it happens I'm also highly sceptical of many international ranking tables, which often court the publicity that comes from such ranking by overstretching the intrinsic validity of their measures. The Fawcett Society and Kings College's Global Institute for Women's Leadership have combined to produce Bridging the Gap an interesting set of case studies on gender pay gap reporting. The report centres round a score card which is used to rank the six participating countries. Happily it does so in a way which seems to me reasonable and helpful. The countries are Australia, South Africa, Spain, France, Sweden and the UK. I'll…
Read More

On not knowing: the arc of ignorance

"Saying 'I don't know' is becoming increasingly rare these days". That was Elif Shafak, the wonderful Turkish writer as she exchanged views with Bernard-Henri Lévy on the slightly-less-than-cheerful topic of Misery and Hope at a recent Kings Place event. (Chapeau to the KP for hosting these events as part of their distinctive programming.) I've just finished Shafak's latest novel, The Island of Missing Trees, an imaginative and genuinely moving account of a love affair that has to bridge Cyprus' bitter Greco-Turkish divide (and featuring a fig tree as one of the main characters...). Her simple phrase chimes with something I've been thinking about recently, often in relation to American political…
Read More

Peggy Seeger and crossovers

Forgive the self-indulgence, but I have to share a coincidence. Bear with me - there is more than one PP-related point to it. I was walking yesterday on Hampstead Heath, listening as I occasionally do to Michael Berkeley's programme of musical interviews, Private Passions. The guest this week was Peggy Seeger, the folk singer. At 86 she was sharp, full of humour and very open. Towards the end of the programme, Peggy talked about one of her most famous songs, "I want to be an engineer". She described its origins: she was doing the accounts when her partner Ewen MacColl came down and said they needed a song, urgently; Peggy…
Read More

Chinese women: linking PP and TH

"China's female professionals are fighting the world's lowest retirement age." The item in the FT caught my attention because it links my past and my present: the struggle for greater recognition for women's competences, across the full life course (Paula Principle, book done); and the changing definitions of where people stand in that life course (Triple Helix, book still very much to be done). I couldn't find trends on Chinese women's educational achievement in the OECD's comparative statistics. Gathering these will be a huge task. But I'd be willing to bet that in the metropolitan regions at least young Chinese women over outdoing their male contemporaries. However older women will…
Read More

GPG reporting internationally

Requiring companies to report on their gender pay gaps is becoming more common around the world. A 6-country analysis from the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at King's College London draws on 80 interviews with people well placed to judge what impact this is having, and what the main challenges are. The countries' scorecards are below. The report's conclusions are to some extent predictable (though none the less valid for all that): a need for greater transparency and accountability; stronger sanctions; measurable targets; and integration of policies to deal with GPGs at all levels. But the insights from the launch's widely experienced panel discussion were particularly valuable. More than one…
Read More

Extreme PP: the Korean case

When I wrote the PP book, now nearly five years ago, South Korea was already the extreme example of the Paula Principle. On the education side young Korean women had shot up the OECD table of tertiary level achievement; but at work their qualifications gained little recognition, and the gender pay gap remained one of the biggest. A startling article from the New York Times reports on a wave of anti-feminism. Young male Koreans are turning their anger on women, who they see as depriving them of their life chances - in spite of the evidence that in their country above almost every other young women are unable to convert…
Read More

It’s sooo slooow: IFS on closing the GPG

The Institute for Fiscal Studies is running a massive study on inequality, funded by the Nuffield Foundation under the guidance of Nobel prizewinner Angus Deaton. The review will run for some time; its scope is admirably ambitious, covering themes such as family, employment, attitudes to inequality, tax, trade and several others. It is already a huge source of policy-relevant information, and promises to be a landmark. Naturally gender figures widely in the review as a whole, and the latest report, by Alison Andrew and colleagues, deals with gender inequality at work. It is called 'The more things change the more they stay the same'. The title is suitably wry; it…
Read More

Claudia Goldin and greedy jobs

Writing the PP as a non-expert on gender and employment I was very impressed by the work of the American economist Claudia Goldin. Her extensive empirical analysis of the reasons for pay gaps illuminated issues such as the role of occupational segregation - including the very striking fact that countries known for getting closest to gender equality - the Scandinavians - showed high levels of segregation, with women piling into human-oriented services such as nursing. This surprised me, though it is of course partly due to the fact that in those egalitarian countries the financial penalty for nursing rather than banking is much lower. The choices seem sensible ones, if…
Read More

Flexibility and careers

In the PP I argue that one of the key changes - if not the key change - needed for a fairer recognition of women's competences is in the way we think about careers: getting away from the model of full-time continuous employment with progression along a linear ladder. Surely, you may say, this is disappearing out of the window - kept open to let the coronavirus out. Well, Timewise has just published its annual review of flexible working. In 2020 there was a big jump in the overall proportion of jobs offered on a flexible basis, from 17% to 24%. Progress has not been sustained at the same rate,…
Read More

Who participates in E&T: the F/M gap…

A recent piece by Petra Ahrens and Lise Rolandsen Agustin in Social Europe addressed gender equality in European institutions. They showed that there has quite strong progress towards numerical equality in the European Parliament; but this simple top-level statistic disguises how institutional mechanisms operate to sideline the issue. In particular: Gender equality is still habitually misunderstood as a ‘women’s issue’—often in a way which essentialises identity—or defensively restricted to its ‘business case’. Many MEPs continue to see gender equality as a niche with little to do with other policy domains and thus commitment to gender equality remains limited in a lot of committees and political groups. In addition, the growing…
Read More

International GPG scorecard

I'm something of a sucker for international comparisons. As it happens I'm also highly sceptical of many international ranking tables, which often court the publicity that comes from such ranking by overstretching the intrinsic validity of their measures. The Fawcett Society and Kings College's Global Institute for Women's Leadership have combined to produce Bridging the Gap an interesting set of case studies on gender pay gap reporting. The report centres round a score card which is used to rank the six participating countries. Happily it does so in a way which seems to me reasonable and helpful. The countries are Australia, South Africa, Spain, France, Sweden and the UK. I'll…
Read More

On not knowing: the arc of ignorance

"Saying 'I don't know' is becoming increasingly rare these days". That was Elif Shafak, the wonderful Turkish writer as she exchanged views with Bernard-Henri Lévy on the slightly-less-than-cheerful topic of Misery and Hope at a recent Kings Place event. (Chapeau to the KP for hosting these events as part of their distinctive programming.) I've just finished Shafak's latest novel, The Island of Missing Trees, an imaginative and genuinely moving account of a love affair that has to bridge Cyprus' bitter Greco-Turkish divide (and featuring a fig tree as one of the main characters...). Her simple phrase chimes with something I've been thinking about recently, often in relation to American political…
Read More

Peggy Seeger and crossovers

Forgive the self-indulgence, but I have to share a coincidence. Bear with me - there is more than one PP-related point to it. I was walking yesterday on Hampstead Heath, listening as I occasionally do to Michael Berkeley's programme of musical interviews, Private Passions. The guest this week was Peggy Seeger, the folk singer. At 86 she was sharp, full of humour and very open. Towards the end of the programme, Peggy talked about one of her most famous songs, "I want to be an engineer". She described its origins: she was doing the accounts when her partner Ewen MacColl came down and said they needed a song, urgently; Peggy…
Read More

Chinese women: linking PP and TH

"China's female professionals are fighting the world's lowest retirement age." The item in the FT caught my attention because it links my past and my present: the struggle for greater recognition for women's competences, across the full life course (Paula Principle, book done); and the changing definitions of where people stand in that life course (Triple Helix, book still very much to be done). I couldn't find trends on Chinese women's educational achievement in the OECD's comparative statistics. Gathering these will be a huge task. But I'd be willing to bet that in the metropolitan regions at least young Chinese women over outdoing their male contemporaries. However older women will…
Read More

GPG reporting internationally

Requiring companies to report on their gender pay gaps is becoming more common around the world. A 6-country analysis from the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at King's College London draws on 80 interviews with people well placed to judge what impact this is having, and what the main challenges are. The countries' scorecards are below. The report's conclusions are to some extent predictable (though none the less valid for all that): a need for greater transparency and accountability; stronger sanctions; measurable targets; and integration of policies to deal with GPGs at all levels. But the insights from the launch's widely experienced panel discussion were particularly valuable. More than one…
Read More

Extreme PP: the Korean case

When I wrote the PP book, now nearly five years ago, South Korea was already the extreme example of the Paula Principle. On the education side young Korean women had shot up the OECD table of tertiary level achievement; but at work their qualifications gained little recognition, and the gender pay gap remained one of the biggest. A startling article from the New York Times reports on a wave of anti-feminism. Young male Koreans are turning their anger on women, who they see as depriving them of their life chances - in spite of the evidence that in their country above almost every other young women are unable to convert…
Read More

It’s sooo slooow: IFS on closing the GPG

The Institute for Fiscal Studies is running a massive study on inequality, funded by the Nuffield Foundation under the guidance of Nobel prizewinner Angus Deaton. The review will run for some time; its scope is admirably ambitious, covering themes such as family, employment, attitudes to inequality, tax, trade and several others. It is already a huge source of policy-relevant information, and promises to be a landmark. Naturally gender figures widely in the review as a whole, and the latest report, by Alison Andrew and colleagues, deals with gender inequality at work. It is called 'The more things change the more they stay the same'. The title is suitably wry; it…
Read More

Claudia Goldin and greedy jobs

Writing the PP as a non-expert on gender and employment I was very impressed by the work of the American economist Claudia Goldin. Her extensive empirical analysis of the reasons for pay gaps illuminated issues such as the role of occupational segregation - including the very striking fact that countries known for getting closest to gender equality - the Scandinavians - showed high levels of segregation, with women piling into human-oriented services such as nursing. This surprised me, though it is of course partly due to the fact that in those egalitarian countries the financial penalty for nursing rather than banking is much lower. The choices seem sensible ones, if…
Read More

Flexibility and careers

In the PP I argue that one of the key changes - if not the key change - needed for a fairer recognition of women's competences is in the way we think about careers: getting away from the model of full-time continuous employment with progression along a linear ladder. Surely, you may say, this is disappearing out of the window - kept open to let the coronavirus out. Well, Timewise has just published its annual review of flexible working. In 2020 there was a big jump in the overall proportion of jobs offered on a flexible basis, from 17% to 24%. Progress has not been sustained at the same rate,…
Read More

Who participates in E&T: the F/M gap…

A recent piece by Petra Ahrens and Lise Rolandsen Agustin in Social Europe addressed gender equality in European institutions. They showed that there has quite strong progress towards numerical equality in the European Parliament; but this simple top-level statistic disguises how institutional mechanisms operate to sideline the issue. In particular: Gender equality is still habitually misunderstood as a ‘women’s issue’—often in a way which essentialises identity—or defensively restricted to its ‘business case’. Many MEPs continue to see gender equality as a niche with little to do with other policy domains and thus commitment to gender equality remains limited in a lot of committees and political groups. In addition, the growing…
Read More

International GPG scorecard

I'm something of a sucker for international comparisons. As it happens I'm also highly sceptical of many international ranking tables, which often court the publicity that comes from such ranking by overstretching the intrinsic validity of their measures. The Fawcett Society and Kings College's Global Institute for Women's Leadership have combined to produce Bridging the Gap an interesting set of case studies on gender pay gap reporting. The report centres round a score card which is used to rank the six participating countries. Happily it does so in a way which seems to me reasonable and helpful. The countries are Australia, South Africa, Spain, France, Sweden and the UK. I'll…
Read More

On not knowing: the arc of ignorance

"Saying 'I don't know' is becoming increasingly rare these days". That was Elif Shafak, the wonderful Turkish writer as she exchanged views with Bernard-Henri Lévy on the slightly-less-than-cheerful topic of Misery and Hope at a recent Kings Place event. (Chapeau to the KP for hosting these events as part of their distinctive programming.) I've just finished Shafak's latest novel, The Island of Missing Trees, an imaginative and genuinely moving account of a love affair that has to bridge Cyprus' bitter Greco-Turkish divide (and featuring a fig tree as one of the main characters...). Her simple phrase chimes with something I've been thinking about recently, often in relation to American political…
Read More

Peggy Seeger and crossovers

Forgive the self-indulgence, but I have to share a coincidence. Bear with me - there is more than one PP-related point to it. I was walking yesterday on Hampstead Heath, listening as I occasionally do to Michael Berkeley's programme of musical interviews, Private Passions. The guest this week was Peggy Seeger, the folk singer. At 86 she was sharp, full of humour and very open. Towards the end of the programme, Peggy talked about one of her most famous songs, "I want to be an engineer". She described its origins: she was doing the accounts when her partner Ewen MacColl came down and said they needed a song, urgently; Peggy…
Read More

Chinese women: linking PP and TH

"China's female professionals are fighting the world's lowest retirement age." The item in the FT caught my attention because it links my past and my present: the struggle for greater recognition for women's competences, across the full life course (Paula Principle, book done); and the changing definitions of where people stand in that life course (Triple Helix, book still very much to be done). I couldn't find trends on Chinese women's educational achievement in the OECD's comparative statistics. Gathering these will be a huge task. But I'd be willing to bet that in the metropolitan regions at least young Chinese women over outdoing their male contemporaries. However older women will…
Read More

GPG reporting internationally

Requiring companies to report on their gender pay gaps is becoming more common around the world. A 6-country analysis from the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at King's College London draws on 80 interviews with people well placed to judge what impact this is having, and what the main challenges are. The countries' scorecards are below. The report's conclusions are to some extent predictable (though none the less valid for all that): a need for greater transparency and accountability; stronger sanctions; measurable targets; and integration of policies to deal with GPGs at all levels. But the insights from the launch's widely experienced panel discussion were particularly valuable. More than one…
Read More

Extreme PP: the Korean case

When I wrote the PP book, now nearly five years ago, South Korea was already the extreme example of the Paula Principle. On the education side young Korean women had shot up the OECD table of tertiary level achievement; but at work their qualifications gained little recognition, and the gender pay gap remained one of the biggest. A startling article from the New York Times reports on a wave of anti-feminism. Young male Koreans are turning their anger on women, who they see as depriving them of their life chances - in spite of the evidence that in their country above almost every other young women are unable to convert…
Read More

It’s sooo slooow: IFS on closing the GPG

The Institute for Fiscal Studies is running a massive study on inequality, funded by the Nuffield Foundation under the guidance of Nobel prizewinner Angus Deaton. The review will run for some time; its scope is admirably ambitious, covering themes such as family, employment, attitudes to inequality, tax, trade and several others. It is already a huge source of policy-relevant information, and promises to be a landmark. Naturally gender figures widely in the review as a whole, and the latest report, by Alison Andrew and colleagues, deals with gender inequality at work. It is called 'The more things change the more they stay the same'. The title is suitably wry; it…
Read More

Claudia Goldin and greedy jobs

Writing the PP as a non-expert on gender and employment I was very impressed by the work of the American economist Claudia Goldin. Her extensive empirical analysis of the reasons for pay gaps illuminated issues such as the role of occupational segregation - including the very striking fact that countries known for getting closest to gender equality - the Scandinavians - showed high levels of segregation, with women piling into human-oriented services such as nursing. This surprised me, though it is of course partly due to the fact that in those egalitarian countries the financial penalty for nursing rather than banking is much lower. The choices seem sensible ones, if…
Read More

Flexibility and careers

In the PP I argue that one of the key changes - if not the key change - needed for a fairer recognition of women's competences is in the way we think about careers: getting away from the model of full-time continuous employment with progression along a linear ladder. Surely, you may say, this is disappearing out of the window - kept open to let the coronavirus out. Well, Timewise has just published its annual review of flexible working. In 2020 there was a big jump in the overall proportion of jobs offered on a flexible basis, from 17% to 24%. Progress has not been sustained at the same rate,…
Read More

Who participates in E&T: the F/M gap…

A recent piece by Petra Ahrens and Lise Rolandsen Agustin in Social Europe addressed gender equality in European institutions. They showed that there has quite strong progress towards numerical equality in the European Parliament; but this simple top-level statistic disguises how institutional mechanisms operate to sideline the issue. In particular: Gender equality is still habitually misunderstood as a ‘women’s issue’—often in a way which essentialises identity—or defensively restricted to its ‘business case’. Many MEPs continue to see gender equality as a niche with little to do with other policy domains and thus commitment to gender equality remains limited in a lot of committees and political groups. In addition, the growing…
Read More

International GPG scorecard

I'm something of a sucker for international comparisons. As it happens I'm also highly sceptical of many international ranking tables, which often court the publicity that comes from such ranking by overstretching the intrinsic validity of their measures. The Fawcett Society and Kings College's Global Institute for Women's Leadership have combined to produce Bridging the Gap an interesting set of case studies on gender pay gap reporting. The report centres round a score card which is used to rank the six participating countries. Happily it does so in a way which seems to me reasonable and helpful. The countries are Australia, South Africa, Spain, France, Sweden and the UK. I'll…
Read More

On not knowing: the arc of ignorance

"Saying 'I don't know' is becoming increasingly rare these days". That was Elif Shafak, the wonderful Turkish writer as she exchanged views with Bernard-Henri Lévy on the slightly-less-than-cheerful topic of Misery and Hope at a recent Kings Place event. (Chapeau to the KP for hosting these events as part of their distinctive programming.) I've just finished Shafak's latest novel, The Island of Missing Trees, an imaginative and genuinely moving account of a love affair that has to bridge Cyprus' bitter Greco-Turkish divide (and featuring a fig tree as one of the main characters...). Her simple phrase chimes with something I've been thinking about recently, often in relation to American political…
Read More

Peggy Seeger and crossovers

Forgive the self-indulgence, but I have to share a coincidence. Bear with me - there is more than one PP-related point to it. I was walking yesterday on Hampstead Heath, listening as I occasionally do to Michael Berkeley's programme of musical interviews, Private Passions. The guest this week was Peggy Seeger, the folk singer. At 86 she was sharp, full of humour and very open. Towards the end of the programme, Peggy talked about one of her most famous songs, "I want to be an engineer". She described its origins: she was doing the accounts when her partner Ewen MacColl came down and said they needed a song, urgently; Peggy…
Read More

Chinese women: linking PP and TH

"China's female professionals are fighting the world's lowest retirement age." The item in the FT caught my attention because it links my past and my present: the struggle for greater recognition for women's competences, across the full life course (Paula Principle, book done); and the changing definitions of where people stand in that life course (Triple Helix, book still very much to be done). I couldn't find trends on Chinese women's educational achievement in the OECD's comparative statistics. Gathering these will be a huge task. But I'd be willing to bet that in the metropolitan regions at least young Chinese women over outdoing their male contemporaries. However older women will…
Read More

GPG reporting internationally

Requiring companies to report on their gender pay gaps is becoming more common around the world. A 6-country analysis from the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at King's College London draws on 80 interviews with people well placed to judge what impact this is having, and what the main challenges are. The countries' scorecards are below. The report's conclusions are to some extent predictable (though none the less valid for all that): a need for greater transparency and accountability; stronger sanctions; measurable targets; and integration of policies to deal with GPGs at all levels. But the insights from the launch's widely experienced panel discussion were particularly valuable. More than one…
Read More

Extreme PP: the Korean case

When I wrote the PP book, now nearly five years ago, South Korea was already the extreme example of the Paula Principle. On the education side young Korean women had shot up the OECD table of tertiary level achievement; but at work their qualifications gained little recognition, and the gender pay gap remained one of the biggest. A startling article from the New York Times reports on a wave of anti-feminism. Young male Koreans are turning their anger on women, who they see as depriving them of their life chances - in spite of the evidence that in their country above almost every other young women are unable to convert…
Read More

It’s sooo slooow: IFS on closing the GPG

The Institute for Fiscal Studies is running a massive study on inequality, funded by the Nuffield Foundation under the guidance of Nobel prizewinner Angus Deaton. The review will run for some time; its scope is admirably ambitious, covering themes such as family, employment, attitudes to inequality, tax, trade and several others. It is already a huge source of policy-relevant information, and promises to be a landmark. Naturally gender figures widely in the review as a whole, and the latest report, by Alison Andrew and colleagues, deals with gender inequality at work. It is called 'The more things change the more they stay the same'. The title is suitably wry; it…
Read More

Claudia Goldin and greedy jobs

Writing the PP as a non-expert on gender and employment I was very impressed by the work of the American economist Claudia Goldin. Her extensive empirical analysis of the reasons for pay gaps illuminated issues such as the role of occupational segregation - including the very striking fact that countries known for getting closest to gender equality - the Scandinavians - showed high levels of segregation, with women piling into human-oriented services such as nursing. This surprised me, though it is of course partly due to the fact that in those egalitarian countries the financial penalty for nursing rather than banking is much lower. The choices seem sensible ones, if…
Read More

Flexibility and careers

In the PP I argue that one of the key changes - if not the key change - needed for a fairer recognition of women's competences is in the way we think about careers: getting away from the model of full-time continuous employment with progression along a linear ladder. Surely, you may say, this is disappearing out of the window - kept open to let the coronavirus out. Well, Timewise has just published its annual review of flexible working. In 2020 there was a big jump in the overall proportion of jobs offered on a flexible basis, from 17% to 24%. Progress has not been sustained at the same rate,…
Read More

Who participates in E&T: the F/M gap…

A recent piece by Petra Ahrens and Lise Rolandsen Agustin in Social Europe addressed gender equality in European institutions. They showed that there has quite strong progress towards numerical equality in the European Parliament; but this simple top-level statistic disguises how institutional mechanisms operate to sideline the issue. In particular: Gender equality is still habitually misunderstood as a ‘women’s issue’—often in a way which essentialises identity—or defensively restricted to its ‘business case’. Many MEPs continue to see gender equality as a niche with little to do with other policy domains and thus commitment to gender equality remains limited in a lot of committees and political groups. In addition, the growing…
Read More

International GPG scorecard

I'm something of a sucker for international comparisons. As it happens I'm also highly sceptical of many international ranking tables, which often court the publicity that comes from such ranking by overstretching the intrinsic validity of their measures. The Fawcett Society and Kings College's Global Institute for Women's Leadership have combined to produce Bridging the Gap an interesting set of case studies on gender pay gap reporting. The report centres round a score card which is used to rank the six participating countries. Happily it does so in a way which seems to me reasonable and helpful. The countries are Australia, South Africa, Spain, France, Sweden and the UK. I'll…
Read More

On not knowing: the arc of ignorance

"Saying 'I don't know' is becoming increasingly rare these days". That was Elif Shafak, the wonderful Turkish writer as she exchanged views with Bernard-Henri Lévy on the slightly-less-than-cheerful topic of Misery and Hope at a recent Kings Place event. (Chapeau to the KP for hosting these events as part of their distinctive programming.) I've just finished Shafak's latest novel, The Island of Missing Trees, an imaginative and genuinely moving account of a love affair that has to bridge Cyprus' bitter Greco-Turkish divide (and featuring a fig tree as one of the main characters...). Her simple phrase chimes with something I've been thinking about recently, often in relation to American political…
Read More

Peggy Seeger and crossovers

Forgive the self-indulgence, but I have to share a coincidence. Bear with me - there is more than one PP-related point to it. I was walking yesterday on Hampstead Heath, listening as I occasionally do to Michael Berkeley's programme of musical interviews, Private Passions. The guest this week was Peggy Seeger, the folk singer. At 86 she was sharp, full of humour and very open. Towards the end of the programme, Peggy talked about one of her most famous songs, "I want to be an engineer". She described its origins: she was doing the accounts when her partner Ewen MacColl came down and said they needed a song, urgently; Peggy…
Read More

Chinese women: linking PP and TH

"China's female professionals are fighting the world's lowest retirement age." The item in the FT caught my attention because it links my past and my present: the struggle for greater recognition for women's competences, across the full life course (Paula Principle, book done); and the changing definitions of where people stand in that life course (Triple Helix, book still very much to be done). I couldn't find trends on Chinese women's educational achievement in the OECD's comparative statistics. Gathering these will be a huge task. But I'd be willing to bet that in the metropolitan regions at least young Chinese women over outdoing their male contemporaries. However older women will…
Read More

GPG reporting internationally

Requiring companies to report on their gender pay gaps is becoming more common around the world. A 6-country analysis from the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at King's College London draws on 80 interviews with people well placed to judge what impact this is having, and what the main challenges are. The countries' scorecards are below. The report's conclusions are to some extent predictable (though none the less valid for all that): a need for greater transparency and accountability; stronger sanctions; measurable targets; and integration of policies to deal with GPGs at all levels. But the insights from the launch's widely experienced panel discussion were particularly valuable. More than one…
Read More

Extreme PP: the Korean case

When I wrote the PP book, now nearly five years ago, South Korea was already the extreme example of the Paula Principle. On the education side young Korean women had shot up the OECD table of tertiary level achievement; but at work their qualifications gained little recognition, and the gender pay gap remained one of the biggest. A startling article from the New York Times reports on a wave of anti-feminism. Young male Koreans are turning their anger on women, who they see as depriving them of their life chances - in spite of the evidence that in their country above almost every other young women are unable to convert…
Read More

It’s sooo slooow: IFS on closing the GPG

The Institute for Fiscal Studies is running a massive study on inequality, funded by the Nuffield Foundation under the guidance of Nobel prizewinner Angus Deaton. The review will run for some time; its scope is admirably ambitious, covering themes such as family, employment, attitudes to inequality, tax, trade and several others. It is already a huge source of policy-relevant information, and promises to be a landmark. Naturally gender figures widely in the review as a whole, and the latest report, by Alison Andrew and colleagues, deals with gender inequality at work. It is called 'The more things change the more they stay the same'. The title is suitably wry; it…
Read More

Claudia Goldin and greedy jobs

Writing the PP as a non-expert on gender and employment I was very impressed by the work of the American economist Claudia Goldin. Her extensive empirical analysis of the reasons for pay gaps illuminated issues such as the role of occupational segregation - including the very striking fact that countries known for getting closest to gender equality - the Scandinavians - showed high levels of segregation, with women piling into human-oriented services such as nursing. This surprised me, though it is of course partly due to the fact that in those egalitarian countries the financial penalty for nursing rather than banking is much lower. The choices seem sensible ones, if…
Read More

Flexibility and careers

In the PP I argue that one of the key changes - if not the key change - needed for a fairer recognition of women's competences is in the way we think about careers: getting away from the model of full-time continuous employment with progression along a linear ladder. Surely, you may say, this is disappearing out of the window - kept open to let the coronavirus out. Well, Timewise has just published its annual review of flexible working. In 2020 there was a big jump in the overall proportion of jobs offered on a flexible basis, from 17% to 24%. Progress has not been sustained at the same rate,…
Read More

Who participates in E&T: the F/M gap…

A recent piece by Petra Ahrens and Lise Rolandsen Agustin in Social Europe addressed gender equality in European institutions. They showed that there has quite strong progress towards numerical equality in the European Parliament; but this simple top-level statistic disguises how institutional mechanisms operate to sideline the issue. In particular: Gender equality is still habitually misunderstood as a ‘women’s issue’—often in a way which essentialises identity—or defensively restricted to its ‘business case’. Many MEPs continue to see gender equality as a niche with little to do with other policy domains and thus commitment to gender equality remains limited in a lot of committees and political groups. In addition, the growing…
Read More

International GPG scorecard

I'm something of a sucker for international comparisons. As it happens I'm also highly sceptical of many international ranking tables, which often court the publicity that comes from such ranking by overstretching the intrinsic validity of their measures. The Fawcett Society and Kings College's Global Institute for Women's Leadership have combined to produce Bridging the Gap an interesting set of case studies on gender pay gap reporting. The report centres round a score card which is used to rank the six participating countries. Happily it does so in a way which seems to me reasonable and helpful. The countries are Australia, South Africa, Spain, France, Sweden and the UK. I'll…
Read More

On not knowing: the arc of ignorance

"Saying 'I don't know' is becoming increasingly rare these days". That was Elif Shafak, the wonderful Turkish writer as she exchanged views with Bernard-Henri Lévy on the slightly-less-than-cheerful topic of Misery and Hope at a recent Kings Place event. (Chapeau to the KP for hosting these events as part of their distinctive programming.) I've just finished Shafak's latest novel, The Island of Missing Trees, an imaginative and genuinely moving account of a love affair that has to bridge Cyprus' bitter Greco-Turkish divide (and featuring a fig tree as one of the main characters...). Her simple phrase chimes with something I've been thinking about recently, often in relation to American political…
Read More

Peggy Seeger and crossovers

Forgive the self-indulgence, but I have to share a coincidence. Bear with me - there is more than one PP-related point to it. I was walking yesterday on Hampstead Heath, listening as I occasionally do to Michael Berkeley's programme of musical interviews, Private Passions. The guest this week was Peggy Seeger, the folk singer. At 86 she was sharp, full of humour and very open. Towards the end of the programme, Peggy talked about one of her most famous songs, "I want to be an engineer". She described its origins: she was doing the accounts when her partner Ewen MacColl came down and said they needed a song, urgently; Peggy…
Read More

Chinese women: linking PP and TH

"China's female professionals are fighting the world's lowest retirement age." The item in the FT caught my attention because it links my past and my present: the struggle for greater recognition for women's competences, across the full life course (Paula Principle, book done); and the changing definitions of where people stand in that life course (Triple Helix, book still very much to be done). I couldn't find trends on Chinese women's educational achievement in the OECD's comparative statistics. Gathering these will be a huge task. But I'd be willing to bet that in the metropolitan regions at least young Chinese women over outdoing their male contemporaries. However older women will…
Read More

GPG reporting internationally

Requiring companies to report on their gender pay gaps is becoming more common around the world. A 6-country analysis from the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at King's College London draws on 80 interviews with people well placed to judge what impact this is having, and what the main challenges are. The countries' scorecards are below. The report's conclusions are to some extent predictable (though none the less valid for all that): a need for greater transparency and accountability; stronger sanctions; measurable targets; and integration of policies to deal with GPGs at all levels. But the insights from the launch's widely experienced panel discussion were particularly valuable. More than one…
Read More