Great Gatsby curve

    Ever heard of the Great Gatsby curve?  Nor had I (or should that be, I hadn't)  until I went to a seminar yesterday, and was told that it has             been getting the attention of some important people, including the White House - though whether that includes the actual Person in the White House is not sure. Anyway, the GGC shows a relationship between growing inequality on the one hand and diminishing social mobility (SM) on the other.  This makes pretty good intuitive sense, and also appeals to me politically, ie it's another black mark against increasing inequality.  But the presenter at the…
Read More

Saudi drivers, and more on the WEF Gender Gap report

Women in Saudi Arabia want to be free to drive their cars.  There's a surprise.  From what I've read on the events of the last couple of days (which is not a lot), there has been a kind of Mexican stand-off, with the authorities not enforcing their ban on women drivers and the women not pushing it too far.  But this does look like some kind of crack opening up, which will be hard to paper over. This takes me back to the World Economic Forum's stimulating and rich Gender Gap report.  I posted on this yesterday, so you'll of course remember that it uses 4 dimensions - economics, education, health…
Read More

WEF Gender Index

From the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap  report comes some heavy duty and intriguing indicator work on progress towards gender equality in four areas:  the economy, health, education and politics.  I'm not a serious numbers person (more's the pity), but you can get the essence of the report quite easily, and then spend as long as your inclination or capacity allows you digging around in the detail, including in the 136 individual country reports.  Here's my go at extracting the overall picture, and then a few nuggets.  Maybe more in a later post. For each of the four 'pillars' the report uses a number of indicators to measure equality between…
Read More

Time on our Side

I have productive friends. My previous post drew on Melissa Benn's What Should We Tell Our Daughters?  This one draws on Time on Our Side, Anna Coote's broad-ranging and stimulating collection from the New Rconomics Foundation. It's subtitled 'a new economics of work and time', and brings together ideas about how we should measure well-being more adequately than via conventional GDP growth;   reconcile economic policy and practice with the imperatives of environmental change;  and arrive at fairer and more satisfying balance of  paid work, caring and other activities.  Sounds fairly challenging?  It is, but it's a thoroughly grounded and realistically argued set of essays. The book's key agenda item is the…
Read More

Telling Daughters, and high profile examples of the Peter Principle

Melissa Benn's new book What Should We Tell Our Daughters? dives into a heady mix of issues: body image, pornography and sex, self-esteem, motherhood, ambition and quite a few others.   The book has a lot of forthright argument, but is not as prescriptive as the title might suggest. One of the  book's many good and encouraging features is the way it expresses the ambivalences which parents feel - - about what lessons they should try to pass on to the next generation of young women to help them fulfil themselves in different ways.   It speaks more directly to mothers, but fathers are very much there in the picture.  (Declaration of interest: Melissa and…
Read More

The shrinking (part-time) student

"Part-time students, particularly mature undergraduates, seem to be an invisible and, in national policy terms, poorly understood cohort. "  This is Professor Sir Eric Thomas, introducing a recent UUK report on part-time HE.  The report makes grim reading, for the most part.  Over the past decade or so, whilst full-time undergraduates  have grown considerably (11%), the numbers of part-timers have shrunk, by about 17%. Much of my professional life has been spent promoting lifelong learning in one form or another, and especially part-time learning within universities, so this makes painful reading.  My last full-time job in the UK was with the country's oldest provider of such opportunities, Birkbeck, and I'm…
Read More

Ibsenning

I've been lucky enough to go to two Ibsen productions in the past week: Ghosts at the Almeida and The Doll's House at the Duke of York.  I enjoyed both, but for me the former was far the stronger, with tremendous power and a beautiful rhythm to the production.   The climax, with Helen Alving cradling her dying son Oswald, could be entirely depressing, but here we saw the sun rising as he slipped away, and although her future is hardly a bright one the visual effect was one  of some kind of redemption for them both.      I was again amazed at Ibsen's boldness.  In one play he…
Read More

OECD Skills Survey: gender and the use of skills

The OECD survey of adult skills was published yesterday, and triggered a torrent of publicity. It's a massive piece of work - 166000 people aged 16-65 interviewed across 24 countries, and directly tested on a variety of information-processing (literacy, numeracy, ICT etc) and generic (cooperation, problem-solving etc) competences. I know a little of just how much work went into getting this off the ground. Most of the immediate attention in the UK was focussed on our poor ranking in literacy and numeracy. This is always the temptation when league table information is produced. It's the aspect that journalists can most quickly get their pens on to, and we shouldn't complain.…
Read More

Hubris and humility

In a recent piece in the Harvard Business Review Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic revives the Peter Principle (though he doesn't mention it), asking a number of questions about why more men rise to senior positions. The piece - and one of the academic papers linked to it - takes female 'humility' and opposes it to male hubris. Humility is a more positive way of expressing Paula Principle Factor 3 - lack of self-confidence - and the difference between the positive and negative expressions is worth discussing. But 'hubris' is an even more interesting term. TC-P argues that we are often unable to see the difference between competence and confidence. So people -…
Read More

great expectations, and household divisions

The recent excellent report from IPPR on gender issues has immediate attractions for me. It's great to see a thinktank using longitudinal data, as Tess Lanning and her colleagues do. They compare the experiences of women born in 1958 with those of the 1970 generation, and this gives us a powerful take on trends. They rightly warn against seeing any tidy linear progression towards greater equality. In particular, we can see major divisions opening up between top and bottom, amongst women as more generally. One illustration of this is the changes in the amount of domestic work done by men; this has increased over time - but mainly amongst men with more education.…
Read More

Great Gatsby curve

    Ever heard of the Great Gatsby curve?  Nor had I (or should that be, I hadn't)  until I went to a seminar yesterday, and was told that it has             been getting the attention of some important people, including the White House - though whether that includes the actual Person in the White House is not sure. Anyway, the GGC shows a relationship between growing inequality on the one hand and diminishing social mobility (SM) on the other.  This makes pretty good intuitive sense, and also appeals to me politically, ie it's another black mark against increasing inequality.  But the presenter at the…
Read More

Saudi drivers, and more on the WEF Gender Gap report

Women in Saudi Arabia want to be free to drive their cars.  There's a surprise.  From what I've read on the events of the last couple of days (which is not a lot), there has been a kind of Mexican stand-off, with the authorities not enforcing their ban on women drivers and the women not pushing it too far.  But this does look like some kind of crack opening up, which will be hard to paper over. This takes me back to the World Economic Forum's stimulating and rich Gender Gap report.  I posted on this yesterday, so you'll of course remember that it uses 4 dimensions - economics, education, health…
Read More

WEF Gender Index

From the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap  report comes some heavy duty and intriguing indicator work on progress towards gender equality in four areas:  the economy, health, education and politics.  I'm not a serious numbers person (more's the pity), but you can get the essence of the report quite easily, and then spend as long as your inclination or capacity allows you digging around in the detail, including in the 136 individual country reports.  Here's my go at extracting the overall picture, and then a few nuggets.  Maybe more in a later post. For each of the four 'pillars' the report uses a number of indicators to measure equality between…
Read More

Time on our Side

I have productive friends. My previous post drew on Melissa Benn's What Should We Tell Our Daughters?  This one draws on Time on Our Side, Anna Coote's broad-ranging and stimulating collection from the New Rconomics Foundation. It's subtitled 'a new economics of work and time', and brings together ideas about how we should measure well-being more adequately than via conventional GDP growth;   reconcile economic policy and practice with the imperatives of environmental change;  and arrive at fairer and more satisfying balance of  paid work, caring and other activities.  Sounds fairly challenging?  It is, but it's a thoroughly grounded and realistically argued set of essays. The book's key agenda item is the…
Read More

Telling Daughters, and high profile examples of the Peter Principle

Melissa Benn's new book What Should We Tell Our Daughters? dives into a heady mix of issues: body image, pornography and sex, self-esteem, motherhood, ambition and quite a few others.   The book has a lot of forthright argument, but is not as prescriptive as the title might suggest. One of the  book's many good and encouraging features is the way it expresses the ambivalences which parents feel - - about what lessons they should try to pass on to the next generation of young women to help them fulfil themselves in different ways.   It speaks more directly to mothers, but fathers are very much there in the picture.  (Declaration of interest: Melissa and…
Read More

The shrinking (part-time) student

"Part-time students, particularly mature undergraduates, seem to be an invisible and, in national policy terms, poorly understood cohort. "  This is Professor Sir Eric Thomas, introducing a recent UUK report on part-time HE.  The report makes grim reading, for the most part.  Over the past decade or so, whilst full-time undergraduates  have grown considerably (11%), the numbers of part-timers have shrunk, by about 17%. Much of my professional life has been spent promoting lifelong learning in one form or another, and especially part-time learning within universities, so this makes painful reading.  My last full-time job in the UK was with the country's oldest provider of such opportunities, Birkbeck, and I'm…
Read More

Ibsenning

I've been lucky enough to go to two Ibsen productions in the past week: Ghosts at the Almeida and The Doll's House at the Duke of York.  I enjoyed both, but for me the former was far the stronger, with tremendous power and a beautiful rhythm to the production.   The climax, with Helen Alving cradling her dying son Oswald, could be entirely depressing, but here we saw the sun rising as he slipped away, and although her future is hardly a bright one the visual effect was one  of some kind of redemption for them both.      I was again amazed at Ibsen's boldness.  In one play he…
Read More

OECD Skills Survey: gender and the use of skills

The OECD survey of adult skills was published yesterday, and triggered a torrent of publicity. It's a massive piece of work - 166000 people aged 16-65 interviewed across 24 countries, and directly tested on a variety of information-processing (literacy, numeracy, ICT etc) and generic (cooperation, problem-solving etc) competences. I know a little of just how much work went into getting this off the ground. Most of the immediate attention in the UK was focussed on our poor ranking in literacy and numeracy. This is always the temptation when league table information is produced. It's the aspect that journalists can most quickly get their pens on to, and we shouldn't complain.…
Read More

Hubris and humility

In a recent piece in the Harvard Business Review Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic revives the Peter Principle (though he doesn't mention it), asking a number of questions about why more men rise to senior positions. The piece - and one of the academic papers linked to it - takes female 'humility' and opposes it to male hubris. Humility is a more positive way of expressing Paula Principle Factor 3 - lack of self-confidence - and the difference between the positive and negative expressions is worth discussing. But 'hubris' is an even more interesting term. TC-P argues that we are often unable to see the difference between competence and confidence. So people -…
Read More

great expectations, and household divisions

The recent excellent report from IPPR on gender issues has immediate attractions for me. It's great to see a thinktank using longitudinal data, as Tess Lanning and her colleagues do. They compare the experiences of women born in 1958 with those of the 1970 generation, and this gives us a powerful take on trends. They rightly warn against seeing any tidy linear progression towards greater equality. In particular, we can see major divisions opening up between top and bottom, amongst women as more generally. One illustration of this is the changes in the amount of domestic work done by men; this has increased over time - but mainly amongst men with more education.…
Read More

Great Gatsby curve

    Ever heard of the Great Gatsby curve?  Nor had I (or should that be, I hadn't)  until I went to a seminar yesterday, and was told that it has             been getting the attention of some important people, including the White House - though whether that includes the actual Person in the White House is not sure. Anyway, the GGC shows a relationship between growing inequality on the one hand and diminishing social mobility (SM) on the other.  This makes pretty good intuitive sense, and also appeals to me politically, ie it's another black mark against increasing inequality.  But the presenter at the…
Read More

Saudi drivers, and more on the WEF Gender Gap report

Women in Saudi Arabia want to be free to drive their cars.  There's a surprise.  From what I've read on the events of the last couple of days (which is not a lot), there has been a kind of Mexican stand-off, with the authorities not enforcing their ban on women drivers and the women not pushing it too far.  But this does look like some kind of crack opening up, which will be hard to paper over. This takes me back to the World Economic Forum's stimulating and rich Gender Gap report.  I posted on this yesterday, so you'll of course remember that it uses 4 dimensions - economics, education, health…
Read More

WEF Gender Index

From the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap  report comes some heavy duty and intriguing indicator work on progress towards gender equality in four areas:  the economy, health, education and politics.  I'm not a serious numbers person (more's the pity), but you can get the essence of the report quite easily, and then spend as long as your inclination or capacity allows you digging around in the detail, including in the 136 individual country reports.  Here's my go at extracting the overall picture, and then a few nuggets.  Maybe more in a later post. For each of the four 'pillars' the report uses a number of indicators to measure equality between…
Read More

Time on our Side

I have productive friends. My previous post drew on Melissa Benn's What Should We Tell Our Daughters?  This one draws on Time on Our Side, Anna Coote's broad-ranging and stimulating collection from the New Rconomics Foundation. It's subtitled 'a new economics of work and time', and brings together ideas about how we should measure well-being more adequately than via conventional GDP growth;   reconcile economic policy and practice with the imperatives of environmental change;  and arrive at fairer and more satisfying balance of  paid work, caring and other activities.  Sounds fairly challenging?  It is, but it's a thoroughly grounded and realistically argued set of essays. The book's key agenda item is the…
Read More

Telling Daughters, and high profile examples of the Peter Principle

Melissa Benn's new book What Should We Tell Our Daughters? dives into a heady mix of issues: body image, pornography and sex, self-esteem, motherhood, ambition and quite a few others.   The book has a lot of forthright argument, but is not as prescriptive as the title might suggest. One of the  book's many good and encouraging features is the way it expresses the ambivalences which parents feel - - about what lessons they should try to pass on to the next generation of young women to help them fulfil themselves in different ways.   It speaks more directly to mothers, but fathers are very much there in the picture.  (Declaration of interest: Melissa and…
Read More

The shrinking (part-time) student

"Part-time students, particularly mature undergraduates, seem to be an invisible and, in national policy terms, poorly understood cohort. "  This is Professor Sir Eric Thomas, introducing a recent UUK report on part-time HE.  The report makes grim reading, for the most part.  Over the past decade or so, whilst full-time undergraduates  have grown considerably (11%), the numbers of part-timers have shrunk, by about 17%. Much of my professional life has been spent promoting lifelong learning in one form or another, and especially part-time learning within universities, so this makes painful reading.  My last full-time job in the UK was with the country's oldest provider of such opportunities, Birkbeck, and I'm…
Read More

Ibsenning

I've been lucky enough to go to two Ibsen productions in the past week: Ghosts at the Almeida and The Doll's House at the Duke of York.  I enjoyed both, but for me the former was far the stronger, with tremendous power and a beautiful rhythm to the production.   The climax, with Helen Alving cradling her dying son Oswald, could be entirely depressing, but here we saw the sun rising as he slipped away, and although her future is hardly a bright one the visual effect was one  of some kind of redemption for them both.      I was again amazed at Ibsen's boldness.  In one play he…
Read More

OECD Skills Survey: gender and the use of skills

The OECD survey of adult skills was published yesterday, and triggered a torrent of publicity. It's a massive piece of work - 166000 people aged 16-65 interviewed across 24 countries, and directly tested on a variety of information-processing (literacy, numeracy, ICT etc) and generic (cooperation, problem-solving etc) competences. I know a little of just how much work went into getting this off the ground. Most of the immediate attention in the UK was focussed on our poor ranking in literacy and numeracy. This is always the temptation when league table information is produced. It's the aspect that journalists can most quickly get their pens on to, and we shouldn't complain.…
Read More

Hubris and humility

In a recent piece in the Harvard Business Review Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic revives the Peter Principle (though he doesn't mention it), asking a number of questions about why more men rise to senior positions. The piece - and one of the academic papers linked to it - takes female 'humility' and opposes it to male hubris. Humility is a more positive way of expressing Paula Principle Factor 3 - lack of self-confidence - and the difference between the positive and negative expressions is worth discussing. But 'hubris' is an even more interesting term. TC-P argues that we are often unable to see the difference between competence and confidence. So people -…
Read More

great expectations, and household divisions

The recent excellent report from IPPR on gender issues has immediate attractions for me. It's great to see a thinktank using longitudinal data, as Tess Lanning and her colleagues do. They compare the experiences of women born in 1958 with those of the 1970 generation, and this gives us a powerful take on trends. They rightly warn against seeing any tidy linear progression towards greater equality. In particular, we can see major divisions opening up between top and bottom, amongst women as more generally. One illustration of this is the changes in the amount of domestic work done by men; this has increased over time - but mainly amongst men with more education.…
Read More

Great Gatsby curve

    Ever heard of the Great Gatsby curve?  Nor had I (or should that be, I hadn't)  until I went to a seminar yesterday, and was told that it has             been getting the attention of some important people, including the White House - though whether that includes the actual Person in the White House is not sure. Anyway, the GGC shows a relationship between growing inequality on the one hand and diminishing social mobility (SM) on the other.  This makes pretty good intuitive sense, and also appeals to me politically, ie it's another black mark against increasing inequality.  But the presenter at the…
Read More

Saudi drivers, and more on the WEF Gender Gap report

Women in Saudi Arabia want to be free to drive their cars.  There's a surprise.  From what I've read on the events of the last couple of days (which is not a lot), there has been a kind of Mexican stand-off, with the authorities not enforcing their ban on women drivers and the women not pushing it too far.  But this does look like some kind of crack opening up, which will be hard to paper over. This takes me back to the World Economic Forum's stimulating and rich Gender Gap report.  I posted on this yesterday, so you'll of course remember that it uses 4 dimensions - economics, education, health…
Read More

WEF Gender Index

From the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap  report comes some heavy duty and intriguing indicator work on progress towards gender equality in four areas:  the economy, health, education and politics.  I'm not a serious numbers person (more's the pity), but you can get the essence of the report quite easily, and then spend as long as your inclination or capacity allows you digging around in the detail, including in the 136 individual country reports.  Here's my go at extracting the overall picture, and then a few nuggets.  Maybe more in a later post. For each of the four 'pillars' the report uses a number of indicators to measure equality between…
Read More

Time on our Side

I have productive friends. My previous post drew on Melissa Benn's What Should We Tell Our Daughters?  This one draws on Time on Our Side, Anna Coote's broad-ranging and stimulating collection from the New Rconomics Foundation. It's subtitled 'a new economics of work and time', and brings together ideas about how we should measure well-being more adequately than via conventional GDP growth;   reconcile economic policy and practice with the imperatives of environmental change;  and arrive at fairer and more satisfying balance of  paid work, caring and other activities.  Sounds fairly challenging?  It is, but it's a thoroughly grounded and realistically argued set of essays. The book's key agenda item is the…
Read More

Telling Daughters, and high profile examples of the Peter Principle

Melissa Benn's new book What Should We Tell Our Daughters? dives into a heady mix of issues: body image, pornography and sex, self-esteem, motherhood, ambition and quite a few others.   The book has a lot of forthright argument, but is not as prescriptive as the title might suggest. One of the  book's many good and encouraging features is the way it expresses the ambivalences which parents feel - - about what lessons they should try to pass on to the next generation of young women to help them fulfil themselves in different ways.   It speaks more directly to mothers, but fathers are very much there in the picture.  (Declaration of interest: Melissa and…
Read More

The shrinking (part-time) student

"Part-time students, particularly mature undergraduates, seem to be an invisible and, in national policy terms, poorly understood cohort. "  This is Professor Sir Eric Thomas, introducing a recent UUK report on part-time HE.  The report makes grim reading, for the most part.  Over the past decade or so, whilst full-time undergraduates  have grown considerably (11%), the numbers of part-timers have shrunk, by about 17%. Much of my professional life has been spent promoting lifelong learning in one form or another, and especially part-time learning within universities, so this makes painful reading.  My last full-time job in the UK was with the country's oldest provider of such opportunities, Birkbeck, and I'm…
Read More

Ibsenning

I've been lucky enough to go to two Ibsen productions in the past week: Ghosts at the Almeida and The Doll's House at the Duke of York.  I enjoyed both, but for me the former was far the stronger, with tremendous power and a beautiful rhythm to the production.   The climax, with Helen Alving cradling her dying son Oswald, could be entirely depressing, but here we saw the sun rising as he slipped away, and although her future is hardly a bright one the visual effect was one  of some kind of redemption for them both.      I was again amazed at Ibsen's boldness.  In one play he…
Read More

OECD Skills Survey: gender and the use of skills

The OECD survey of adult skills was published yesterday, and triggered a torrent of publicity. It's a massive piece of work - 166000 people aged 16-65 interviewed across 24 countries, and directly tested on a variety of information-processing (literacy, numeracy, ICT etc) and generic (cooperation, problem-solving etc) competences. I know a little of just how much work went into getting this off the ground. Most of the immediate attention in the UK was focussed on our poor ranking in literacy and numeracy. This is always the temptation when league table information is produced. It's the aspect that journalists can most quickly get their pens on to, and we shouldn't complain.…
Read More

Hubris and humility

In a recent piece in the Harvard Business Review Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic revives the Peter Principle (though he doesn't mention it), asking a number of questions about why more men rise to senior positions. The piece - and one of the academic papers linked to it - takes female 'humility' and opposes it to male hubris. Humility is a more positive way of expressing Paula Principle Factor 3 - lack of self-confidence - and the difference between the positive and negative expressions is worth discussing. But 'hubris' is an even more interesting term. TC-P argues that we are often unable to see the difference between competence and confidence. So people -…
Read More

great expectations, and household divisions

The recent excellent report from IPPR on gender issues has immediate attractions for me. It's great to see a thinktank using longitudinal data, as Tess Lanning and her colleagues do. They compare the experiences of women born in 1958 with those of the 1970 generation, and this gives us a powerful take on trends. They rightly warn against seeing any tidy linear progression towards greater equality. In particular, we can see major divisions opening up between top and bottom, amongst women as more generally. One illustration of this is the changes in the amount of domestic work done by men; this has increased over time - but mainly amongst men with more education.…
Read More

Great Gatsby curve

    Ever heard of the Great Gatsby curve?  Nor had I (or should that be, I hadn't)  until I went to a seminar yesterday, and was told that it has             been getting the attention of some important people, including the White House - though whether that includes the actual Person in the White House is not sure. Anyway, the GGC shows a relationship between growing inequality on the one hand and diminishing social mobility (SM) on the other.  This makes pretty good intuitive sense, and also appeals to me politically, ie it's another black mark against increasing inequality.  But the presenter at the…
Read More

Saudi drivers, and more on the WEF Gender Gap report

Women in Saudi Arabia want to be free to drive their cars.  There's a surprise.  From what I've read on the events of the last couple of days (which is not a lot), there has been a kind of Mexican stand-off, with the authorities not enforcing their ban on women drivers and the women not pushing it too far.  But this does look like some kind of crack opening up, which will be hard to paper over. This takes me back to the World Economic Forum's stimulating and rich Gender Gap report.  I posted on this yesterday, so you'll of course remember that it uses 4 dimensions - economics, education, health…
Read More

WEF Gender Index

From the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap  report comes some heavy duty and intriguing indicator work on progress towards gender equality in four areas:  the economy, health, education and politics.  I'm not a serious numbers person (more's the pity), but you can get the essence of the report quite easily, and then spend as long as your inclination or capacity allows you digging around in the detail, including in the 136 individual country reports.  Here's my go at extracting the overall picture, and then a few nuggets.  Maybe more in a later post. For each of the four 'pillars' the report uses a number of indicators to measure equality between…
Read More

Time on our Side

I have productive friends. My previous post drew on Melissa Benn's What Should We Tell Our Daughters?  This one draws on Time on Our Side, Anna Coote's broad-ranging and stimulating collection from the New Rconomics Foundation. It's subtitled 'a new economics of work and time', and brings together ideas about how we should measure well-being more adequately than via conventional GDP growth;   reconcile economic policy and practice with the imperatives of environmental change;  and arrive at fairer and more satisfying balance of  paid work, caring and other activities.  Sounds fairly challenging?  It is, but it's a thoroughly grounded and realistically argued set of essays. The book's key agenda item is the…
Read More

Telling Daughters, and high profile examples of the Peter Principle

Melissa Benn's new book What Should We Tell Our Daughters? dives into a heady mix of issues: body image, pornography and sex, self-esteem, motherhood, ambition and quite a few others.   The book has a lot of forthright argument, but is not as prescriptive as the title might suggest. One of the  book's many good and encouraging features is the way it expresses the ambivalences which parents feel - - about what lessons they should try to pass on to the next generation of young women to help them fulfil themselves in different ways.   It speaks more directly to mothers, but fathers are very much there in the picture.  (Declaration of interest: Melissa and…
Read More

The shrinking (part-time) student

"Part-time students, particularly mature undergraduates, seem to be an invisible and, in national policy terms, poorly understood cohort. "  This is Professor Sir Eric Thomas, introducing a recent UUK report on part-time HE.  The report makes grim reading, for the most part.  Over the past decade or so, whilst full-time undergraduates  have grown considerably (11%), the numbers of part-timers have shrunk, by about 17%. Much of my professional life has been spent promoting lifelong learning in one form or another, and especially part-time learning within universities, so this makes painful reading.  My last full-time job in the UK was with the country's oldest provider of such opportunities, Birkbeck, and I'm…
Read More

Ibsenning

I've been lucky enough to go to two Ibsen productions in the past week: Ghosts at the Almeida and The Doll's House at the Duke of York.  I enjoyed both, but for me the former was far the stronger, with tremendous power and a beautiful rhythm to the production.   The climax, with Helen Alving cradling her dying son Oswald, could be entirely depressing, but here we saw the sun rising as he slipped away, and although her future is hardly a bright one the visual effect was one  of some kind of redemption for them both.      I was again amazed at Ibsen's boldness.  In one play he…
Read More

OECD Skills Survey: gender and the use of skills

The OECD survey of adult skills was published yesterday, and triggered a torrent of publicity. It's a massive piece of work - 166000 people aged 16-65 interviewed across 24 countries, and directly tested on a variety of information-processing (literacy, numeracy, ICT etc) and generic (cooperation, problem-solving etc) competences. I know a little of just how much work went into getting this off the ground. Most of the immediate attention in the UK was focussed on our poor ranking in literacy and numeracy. This is always the temptation when league table information is produced. It's the aspect that journalists can most quickly get their pens on to, and we shouldn't complain.…
Read More

Hubris and humility

In a recent piece in the Harvard Business Review Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic revives the Peter Principle (though he doesn't mention it), asking a number of questions about why more men rise to senior positions. The piece - and one of the academic papers linked to it - takes female 'humility' and opposes it to male hubris. Humility is a more positive way of expressing Paula Principle Factor 3 - lack of self-confidence - and the difference between the positive and negative expressions is worth discussing. But 'hubris' is an even more interesting term. TC-P argues that we are often unable to see the difference between competence and confidence. So people -…
Read More

great expectations, and household divisions

The recent excellent report from IPPR on gender issues has immediate attractions for me. It's great to see a thinktank using longitudinal data, as Tess Lanning and her colleagues do. They compare the experiences of women born in 1958 with those of the 1970 generation, and this gives us a powerful take on trends. They rightly warn against seeing any tidy linear progression towards greater equality. In particular, we can see major divisions opening up between top and bottom, amongst women as more generally. One illustration of this is the changes in the amount of domestic work done by men; this has increased over time - but mainly amongst men with more education.…
Read More

Great Gatsby curve

    Ever heard of the Great Gatsby curve?  Nor had I (or should that be, I hadn't)  until I went to a seminar yesterday, and was told that it has             been getting the attention of some important people, including the White House - though whether that includes the actual Person in the White House is not sure. Anyway, the GGC shows a relationship between growing inequality on the one hand and diminishing social mobility (SM) on the other.  This makes pretty good intuitive sense, and also appeals to me politically, ie it's another black mark against increasing inequality.  But the presenter at the…
Read More

Saudi drivers, and more on the WEF Gender Gap report

Women in Saudi Arabia want to be free to drive their cars.  There's a surprise.  From what I've read on the events of the last couple of days (which is not a lot), there has been a kind of Mexican stand-off, with the authorities not enforcing their ban on women drivers and the women not pushing it too far.  But this does look like some kind of crack opening up, which will be hard to paper over. This takes me back to the World Economic Forum's stimulating and rich Gender Gap report.  I posted on this yesterday, so you'll of course remember that it uses 4 dimensions - economics, education, health…
Read More

WEF Gender Index

From the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap  report comes some heavy duty and intriguing indicator work on progress towards gender equality in four areas:  the economy, health, education and politics.  I'm not a serious numbers person (more's the pity), but you can get the essence of the report quite easily, and then spend as long as your inclination or capacity allows you digging around in the detail, including in the 136 individual country reports.  Here's my go at extracting the overall picture, and then a few nuggets.  Maybe more in a later post. For each of the four 'pillars' the report uses a number of indicators to measure equality between…
Read More

Time on our Side

I have productive friends. My previous post drew on Melissa Benn's What Should We Tell Our Daughters?  This one draws on Time on Our Side, Anna Coote's broad-ranging and stimulating collection from the New Rconomics Foundation. It's subtitled 'a new economics of work and time', and brings together ideas about how we should measure well-being more adequately than via conventional GDP growth;   reconcile economic policy and practice with the imperatives of environmental change;  and arrive at fairer and more satisfying balance of  paid work, caring and other activities.  Sounds fairly challenging?  It is, but it's a thoroughly grounded and realistically argued set of essays. The book's key agenda item is the…
Read More

Telling Daughters, and high profile examples of the Peter Principle

Melissa Benn's new book What Should We Tell Our Daughters? dives into a heady mix of issues: body image, pornography and sex, self-esteem, motherhood, ambition and quite a few others.   The book has a lot of forthright argument, but is not as prescriptive as the title might suggest. One of the  book's many good and encouraging features is the way it expresses the ambivalences which parents feel - - about what lessons they should try to pass on to the next generation of young women to help them fulfil themselves in different ways.   It speaks more directly to mothers, but fathers are very much there in the picture.  (Declaration of interest: Melissa and…
Read More

The shrinking (part-time) student

"Part-time students, particularly mature undergraduates, seem to be an invisible and, in national policy terms, poorly understood cohort. "  This is Professor Sir Eric Thomas, introducing a recent UUK report on part-time HE.  The report makes grim reading, for the most part.  Over the past decade or so, whilst full-time undergraduates  have grown considerably (11%), the numbers of part-timers have shrunk, by about 17%. Much of my professional life has been spent promoting lifelong learning in one form or another, and especially part-time learning within universities, so this makes painful reading.  My last full-time job in the UK was with the country's oldest provider of such opportunities, Birkbeck, and I'm…
Read More

Ibsenning

I've been lucky enough to go to two Ibsen productions in the past week: Ghosts at the Almeida and The Doll's House at the Duke of York.  I enjoyed both, but for me the former was far the stronger, with tremendous power and a beautiful rhythm to the production.   The climax, with Helen Alving cradling her dying son Oswald, could be entirely depressing, but here we saw the sun rising as he slipped away, and although her future is hardly a bright one the visual effect was one  of some kind of redemption for them both.      I was again amazed at Ibsen's boldness.  In one play he…
Read More

OECD Skills Survey: gender and the use of skills

The OECD survey of adult skills was published yesterday, and triggered a torrent of publicity. It's a massive piece of work - 166000 people aged 16-65 interviewed across 24 countries, and directly tested on a variety of information-processing (literacy, numeracy, ICT etc) and generic (cooperation, problem-solving etc) competences. I know a little of just how much work went into getting this off the ground. Most of the immediate attention in the UK was focussed on our poor ranking in literacy and numeracy. This is always the temptation when league table information is produced. It's the aspect that journalists can most quickly get their pens on to, and we shouldn't complain.…
Read More

Hubris and humility

In a recent piece in the Harvard Business Review Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic revives the Peter Principle (though he doesn't mention it), asking a number of questions about why more men rise to senior positions. The piece - and one of the academic papers linked to it - takes female 'humility' and opposes it to male hubris. Humility is a more positive way of expressing Paula Principle Factor 3 - lack of self-confidence - and the difference between the positive and negative expressions is worth discussing. But 'hubris' is an even more interesting term. TC-P argues that we are often unable to see the difference between competence and confidence. So people -…
Read More

great expectations, and household divisions

The recent excellent report from IPPR on gender issues has immediate attractions for me. It's great to see a thinktank using longitudinal data, as Tess Lanning and her colleagues do. They compare the experiences of women born in 1958 with those of the 1970 generation, and this gives us a powerful take on trends. They rightly warn against seeing any tidy linear progression towards greater equality. In particular, we can see major divisions opening up between top and bottom, amongst women as more generally. One illustration of this is the changes in the amount of domestic work done by men; this has increased over time - but mainly amongst men with more education.…
Read More

Great Gatsby curve

    Ever heard of the Great Gatsby curve?  Nor had I (or should that be, I hadn't)  until I went to a seminar yesterday, and was told that it has             been getting the attention of some important people, including the White House - though whether that includes the actual Person in the White House is not sure. Anyway, the GGC shows a relationship between growing inequality on the one hand and diminishing social mobility (SM) on the other.  This makes pretty good intuitive sense, and also appeals to me politically, ie it's another black mark against increasing inequality.  But the presenter at the…
Read More

Saudi drivers, and more on the WEF Gender Gap report

Women in Saudi Arabia want to be free to drive their cars.  There's a surprise.  From what I've read on the events of the last couple of days (which is not a lot), there has been a kind of Mexican stand-off, with the authorities not enforcing their ban on women drivers and the women not pushing it too far.  But this does look like some kind of crack opening up, which will be hard to paper over. This takes me back to the World Economic Forum's stimulating and rich Gender Gap report.  I posted on this yesterday, so you'll of course remember that it uses 4 dimensions - economics, education, health…
Read More

WEF Gender Index

From the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap  report comes some heavy duty and intriguing indicator work on progress towards gender equality in four areas:  the economy, health, education and politics.  I'm not a serious numbers person (more's the pity), but you can get the essence of the report quite easily, and then spend as long as your inclination or capacity allows you digging around in the detail, including in the 136 individual country reports.  Here's my go at extracting the overall picture, and then a few nuggets.  Maybe more in a later post. For each of the four 'pillars' the report uses a number of indicators to measure equality between…
Read More

Time on our Side

I have productive friends. My previous post drew on Melissa Benn's What Should We Tell Our Daughters?  This one draws on Time on Our Side, Anna Coote's broad-ranging and stimulating collection from the New Rconomics Foundation. It's subtitled 'a new economics of work and time', and brings together ideas about how we should measure well-being more adequately than via conventional GDP growth;   reconcile economic policy and practice with the imperatives of environmental change;  and arrive at fairer and more satisfying balance of  paid work, caring and other activities.  Sounds fairly challenging?  It is, but it's a thoroughly grounded and realistically argued set of essays. The book's key agenda item is the…
Read More

Telling Daughters, and high profile examples of the Peter Principle

Melissa Benn's new book What Should We Tell Our Daughters? dives into a heady mix of issues: body image, pornography and sex, self-esteem, motherhood, ambition and quite a few others.   The book has a lot of forthright argument, but is not as prescriptive as the title might suggest. One of the  book's many good and encouraging features is the way it expresses the ambivalences which parents feel - - about what lessons they should try to pass on to the next generation of young women to help them fulfil themselves in different ways.   It speaks more directly to mothers, but fathers are very much there in the picture.  (Declaration of interest: Melissa and…
Read More

The shrinking (part-time) student

"Part-time students, particularly mature undergraduates, seem to be an invisible and, in national policy terms, poorly understood cohort. "  This is Professor Sir Eric Thomas, introducing a recent UUK report on part-time HE.  The report makes grim reading, for the most part.  Over the past decade or so, whilst full-time undergraduates  have grown considerably (11%), the numbers of part-timers have shrunk, by about 17%. Much of my professional life has been spent promoting lifelong learning in one form or another, and especially part-time learning within universities, so this makes painful reading.  My last full-time job in the UK was with the country's oldest provider of such opportunities, Birkbeck, and I'm…
Read More

Ibsenning

I've been lucky enough to go to two Ibsen productions in the past week: Ghosts at the Almeida and The Doll's House at the Duke of York.  I enjoyed both, but for me the former was far the stronger, with tremendous power and a beautiful rhythm to the production.   The climax, with Helen Alving cradling her dying son Oswald, could be entirely depressing, but here we saw the sun rising as he slipped away, and although her future is hardly a bright one the visual effect was one  of some kind of redemption for them both.      I was again amazed at Ibsen's boldness.  In one play he…
Read More

OECD Skills Survey: gender and the use of skills

The OECD survey of adult skills was published yesterday, and triggered a torrent of publicity. It's a massive piece of work - 166000 people aged 16-65 interviewed across 24 countries, and directly tested on a variety of information-processing (literacy, numeracy, ICT etc) and generic (cooperation, problem-solving etc) competences. I know a little of just how much work went into getting this off the ground. Most of the immediate attention in the UK was focussed on our poor ranking in literacy and numeracy. This is always the temptation when league table information is produced. It's the aspect that journalists can most quickly get their pens on to, and we shouldn't complain.…
Read More

Hubris and humility

In a recent piece in the Harvard Business Review Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic revives the Peter Principle (though he doesn't mention it), asking a number of questions about why more men rise to senior positions. The piece - and one of the academic papers linked to it - takes female 'humility' and opposes it to male hubris. Humility is a more positive way of expressing Paula Principle Factor 3 - lack of self-confidence - and the difference between the positive and negative expressions is worth discussing. But 'hubris' is an even more interesting term. TC-P argues that we are often unable to see the difference between competence and confidence. So people -…
Read More

great expectations, and household divisions

The recent excellent report from IPPR on gender issues has immediate attractions for me. It's great to see a thinktank using longitudinal data, as Tess Lanning and her colleagues do. They compare the experiences of women born in 1958 with those of the 1970 generation, and this gives us a powerful take on trends. They rightly warn against seeing any tidy linear progression towards greater equality. In particular, we can see major divisions opening up between top and bottom, amongst women as more generally. One illustration of this is the changes in the amount of domestic work done by men; this has increased over time - but mainly amongst men with more education.…
Read More

Great Gatsby curve

    Ever heard of the Great Gatsby curve?  Nor had I (or should that be, I hadn't)  until I went to a seminar yesterday, and was told that it has             been getting the attention of some important people, including the White House - though whether that includes the actual Person in the White House is not sure. Anyway, the GGC shows a relationship between growing inequality on the one hand and diminishing social mobility (SM) on the other.  This makes pretty good intuitive sense, and also appeals to me politically, ie it's another black mark against increasing inequality.  But the presenter at the…
Read More

Saudi drivers, and more on the WEF Gender Gap report

Women in Saudi Arabia want to be free to drive their cars.  There's a surprise.  From what I've read on the events of the last couple of days (which is not a lot), there has been a kind of Mexican stand-off, with the authorities not enforcing their ban on women drivers and the women not pushing it too far.  But this does look like some kind of crack opening up, which will be hard to paper over. This takes me back to the World Economic Forum's stimulating and rich Gender Gap report.  I posted on this yesterday, so you'll of course remember that it uses 4 dimensions - economics, education, health…
Read More

WEF Gender Index

From the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap  report comes some heavy duty and intriguing indicator work on progress towards gender equality in four areas:  the economy, health, education and politics.  I'm not a serious numbers person (more's the pity), but you can get the essence of the report quite easily, and then spend as long as your inclination or capacity allows you digging around in the detail, including in the 136 individual country reports.  Here's my go at extracting the overall picture, and then a few nuggets.  Maybe more in a later post. For each of the four 'pillars' the report uses a number of indicators to measure equality between…
Read More

Time on our Side

I have productive friends. My previous post drew on Melissa Benn's What Should We Tell Our Daughters?  This one draws on Time on Our Side, Anna Coote's broad-ranging and stimulating collection from the New Rconomics Foundation. It's subtitled 'a new economics of work and time', and brings together ideas about how we should measure well-being more adequately than via conventional GDP growth;   reconcile economic policy and practice with the imperatives of environmental change;  and arrive at fairer and more satisfying balance of  paid work, caring and other activities.  Sounds fairly challenging?  It is, but it's a thoroughly grounded and realistically argued set of essays. The book's key agenda item is the…
Read More

Telling Daughters, and high profile examples of the Peter Principle

Melissa Benn's new book What Should We Tell Our Daughters? dives into a heady mix of issues: body image, pornography and sex, self-esteem, motherhood, ambition and quite a few others.   The book has a lot of forthright argument, but is not as prescriptive as the title might suggest. One of the  book's many good and encouraging features is the way it expresses the ambivalences which parents feel - - about what lessons they should try to pass on to the next generation of young women to help them fulfil themselves in different ways.   It speaks more directly to mothers, but fathers are very much there in the picture.  (Declaration of interest: Melissa and…
Read More

The shrinking (part-time) student

"Part-time students, particularly mature undergraduates, seem to be an invisible and, in national policy terms, poorly understood cohort. "  This is Professor Sir Eric Thomas, introducing a recent UUK report on part-time HE.  The report makes grim reading, for the most part.  Over the past decade or so, whilst full-time undergraduates  have grown considerably (11%), the numbers of part-timers have shrunk, by about 17%. Much of my professional life has been spent promoting lifelong learning in one form or another, and especially part-time learning within universities, so this makes painful reading.  My last full-time job in the UK was with the country's oldest provider of such opportunities, Birkbeck, and I'm…
Read More

Ibsenning

I've been lucky enough to go to two Ibsen productions in the past week: Ghosts at the Almeida and The Doll's House at the Duke of York.  I enjoyed both, but for me the former was far the stronger, with tremendous power and a beautiful rhythm to the production.   The climax, with Helen Alving cradling her dying son Oswald, could be entirely depressing, but here we saw the sun rising as he slipped away, and although her future is hardly a bright one the visual effect was one  of some kind of redemption for them both.      I was again amazed at Ibsen's boldness.  In one play he…
Read More

OECD Skills Survey: gender and the use of skills

The OECD survey of adult skills was published yesterday, and triggered a torrent of publicity. It's a massive piece of work - 166000 people aged 16-65 interviewed across 24 countries, and directly tested on a variety of information-processing (literacy, numeracy, ICT etc) and generic (cooperation, problem-solving etc) competences. I know a little of just how much work went into getting this off the ground. Most of the immediate attention in the UK was focussed on our poor ranking in literacy and numeracy. This is always the temptation when league table information is produced. It's the aspect that journalists can most quickly get their pens on to, and we shouldn't complain.…
Read More

Hubris and humility

In a recent piece in the Harvard Business Review Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic revives the Peter Principle (though he doesn't mention it), asking a number of questions about why more men rise to senior positions. The piece - and one of the academic papers linked to it - takes female 'humility' and opposes it to male hubris. Humility is a more positive way of expressing Paula Principle Factor 3 - lack of self-confidence - and the difference between the positive and negative expressions is worth discussing. But 'hubris' is an even more interesting term. TC-P argues that we are often unable to see the difference between competence and confidence. So people -…
Read More

great expectations, and household divisions

The recent excellent report from IPPR on gender issues has immediate attractions for me. It's great to see a thinktank using longitudinal data, as Tess Lanning and her colleagues do. They compare the experiences of women born in 1958 with those of the 1970 generation, and this gives us a powerful take on trends. They rightly warn against seeing any tidy linear progression towards greater equality. In particular, we can see major divisions opening up between top and bottom, amongst women as more generally. One illustration of this is the changes in the amount of domestic work done by men; this has increased over time - but mainly amongst men with more education.…
Read More

Great Gatsby curve

    Ever heard of the Great Gatsby curve?  Nor had I (or should that be, I hadn't)  until I went to a seminar yesterday, and was told that it has             been getting the attention of some important people, including the White House - though whether that includes the actual Person in the White House is not sure. Anyway, the GGC shows a relationship between growing inequality on the one hand and diminishing social mobility (SM) on the other.  This makes pretty good intuitive sense, and also appeals to me politically, ie it's another black mark against increasing inequality.  But the presenter at the…
Read More

Saudi drivers, and more on the WEF Gender Gap report

Women in Saudi Arabia want to be free to drive their cars.  There's a surprise.  From what I've read on the events of the last couple of days (which is not a lot), there has been a kind of Mexican stand-off, with the authorities not enforcing their ban on women drivers and the women not pushing it too far.  But this does look like some kind of crack opening up, which will be hard to paper over. This takes me back to the World Economic Forum's stimulating and rich Gender Gap report.  I posted on this yesterday, so you'll of course remember that it uses 4 dimensions - economics, education, health…
Read More

WEF Gender Index

From the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap  report comes some heavy duty and intriguing indicator work on progress towards gender equality in four areas:  the economy, health, education and politics.  I'm not a serious numbers person (more's the pity), but you can get the essence of the report quite easily, and then spend as long as your inclination or capacity allows you digging around in the detail, including in the 136 individual country reports.  Here's my go at extracting the overall picture, and then a few nuggets.  Maybe more in a later post. For each of the four 'pillars' the report uses a number of indicators to measure equality between…
Read More

Time on our Side

I have productive friends. My previous post drew on Melissa Benn's What Should We Tell Our Daughters?  This one draws on Time on Our Side, Anna Coote's broad-ranging and stimulating collection from the New Rconomics Foundation. It's subtitled 'a new economics of work and time', and brings together ideas about how we should measure well-being more adequately than via conventional GDP growth;   reconcile economic policy and practice with the imperatives of environmental change;  and arrive at fairer and more satisfying balance of  paid work, caring and other activities.  Sounds fairly challenging?  It is, but it's a thoroughly grounded and realistically argued set of essays. The book's key agenda item is the…
Read More

Telling Daughters, and high profile examples of the Peter Principle

Melissa Benn's new book What Should We Tell Our Daughters? dives into a heady mix of issues: body image, pornography and sex, self-esteem, motherhood, ambition and quite a few others.   The book has a lot of forthright argument, but is not as prescriptive as the title might suggest. One of the  book's many good and encouraging features is the way it expresses the ambivalences which parents feel - - about what lessons they should try to pass on to the next generation of young women to help them fulfil themselves in different ways.   It speaks more directly to mothers, but fathers are very much there in the picture.  (Declaration of interest: Melissa and…
Read More

The shrinking (part-time) student

"Part-time students, particularly mature undergraduates, seem to be an invisible and, in national policy terms, poorly understood cohort. "  This is Professor Sir Eric Thomas, introducing a recent UUK report on part-time HE.  The report makes grim reading, for the most part.  Over the past decade or so, whilst full-time undergraduates  have grown considerably (11%), the numbers of part-timers have shrunk, by about 17%. Much of my professional life has been spent promoting lifelong learning in one form or another, and especially part-time learning within universities, so this makes painful reading.  My last full-time job in the UK was with the country's oldest provider of such opportunities, Birkbeck, and I'm…
Read More

Ibsenning

I've been lucky enough to go to two Ibsen productions in the past week: Ghosts at the Almeida and The Doll's House at the Duke of York.  I enjoyed both, but for me the former was far the stronger, with tremendous power and a beautiful rhythm to the production.   The climax, with Helen Alving cradling her dying son Oswald, could be entirely depressing, but here we saw the sun rising as he slipped away, and although her future is hardly a bright one the visual effect was one  of some kind of redemption for them both.      I was again amazed at Ibsen's boldness.  In one play he…
Read More

OECD Skills Survey: gender and the use of skills

The OECD survey of adult skills was published yesterday, and triggered a torrent of publicity. It's a massive piece of work - 166000 people aged 16-65 interviewed across 24 countries, and directly tested on a variety of information-processing (literacy, numeracy, ICT etc) and generic (cooperation, problem-solving etc) competences. I know a little of just how much work went into getting this off the ground. Most of the immediate attention in the UK was focussed on our poor ranking in literacy and numeracy. This is always the temptation when league table information is produced. It's the aspect that journalists can most quickly get their pens on to, and we shouldn't complain.…
Read More

Hubris and humility

In a recent piece in the Harvard Business Review Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic revives the Peter Principle (though he doesn't mention it), asking a number of questions about why more men rise to senior positions. The piece - and one of the academic papers linked to it - takes female 'humility' and opposes it to male hubris. Humility is a more positive way of expressing Paula Principle Factor 3 - lack of self-confidence - and the difference between the positive and negative expressions is worth discussing. But 'hubris' is an even more interesting term. TC-P argues that we are often unable to see the difference between competence and confidence. So people -…
Read More

great expectations, and household divisions

The recent excellent report from IPPR on gender issues has immediate attractions for me. It's great to see a thinktank using longitudinal data, as Tess Lanning and her colleagues do. They compare the experiences of women born in 1958 with those of the 1970 generation, and this gives us a powerful take on trends. They rightly warn against seeing any tidy linear progression towards greater equality. In particular, we can see major divisions opening up between top and bottom, amongst women as more generally. One illustration of this is the changes in the amount of domestic work done by men; this has increased over time - but mainly amongst men with more education.…
Read More

Great Gatsby curve

    Ever heard of the Great Gatsby curve?  Nor had I (or should that be, I hadn't)  until I went to a seminar yesterday, and was told that it has             been getting the attention of some important people, including the White House - though whether that includes the actual Person in the White House is not sure. Anyway, the GGC shows a relationship between growing inequality on the one hand and diminishing social mobility (SM) on the other.  This makes pretty good intuitive sense, and also appeals to me politically, ie it's another black mark against increasing inequality.  But the presenter at the…
Read More

Saudi drivers, and more on the WEF Gender Gap report

Women in Saudi Arabia want to be free to drive their cars.  There's a surprise.  From what I've read on the events of the last couple of days (which is not a lot), there has been a kind of Mexican stand-off, with the authorities not enforcing their ban on women drivers and the women not pushing it too far.  But this does look like some kind of crack opening up, which will be hard to paper over. This takes me back to the World Economic Forum's stimulating and rich Gender Gap report.  I posted on this yesterday, so you'll of course remember that it uses 4 dimensions - economics, education, health…
Read More

WEF Gender Index

From the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap  report comes some heavy duty and intriguing indicator work on progress towards gender equality in four areas:  the economy, health, education and politics.  I'm not a serious numbers person (more's the pity), but you can get the essence of the report quite easily, and then spend as long as your inclination or capacity allows you digging around in the detail, including in the 136 individual country reports.  Here's my go at extracting the overall picture, and then a few nuggets.  Maybe more in a later post. For each of the four 'pillars' the report uses a number of indicators to measure equality between…
Read More

Time on our Side

I have productive friends. My previous post drew on Melissa Benn's What Should We Tell Our Daughters?  This one draws on Time on Our Side, Anna Coote's broad-ranging and stimulating collection from the New Rconomics Foundation. It's subtitled 'a new economics of work and time', and brings together ideas about how we should measure well-being more adequately than via conventional GDP growth;   reconcile economic policy and practice with the imperatives of environmental change;  and arrive at fairer and more satisfying balance of  paid work, caring and other activities.  Sounds fairly challenging?  It is, but it's a thoroughly grounded and realistically argued set of essays. The book's key agenda item is the…
Read More

Telling Daughters, and high profile examples of the Peter Principle

Melissa Benn's new book What Should We Tell Our Daughters? dives into a heady mix of issues: body image, pornography and sex, self-esteem, motherhood, ambition and quite a few others.   The book has a lot of forthright argument, but is not as prescriptive as the title might suggest. One of the  book's many good and encouraging features is the way it expresses the ambivalences which parents feel - - about what lessons they should try to pass on to the next generation of young women to help them fulfil themselves in different ways.   It speaks more directly to mothers, but fathers are very much there in the picture.  (Declaration of interest: Melissa and…
Read More

The shrinking (part-time) student

"Part-time students, particularly mature undergraduates, seem to be an invisible and, in national policy terms, poorly understood cohort. "  This is Professor Sir Eric Thomas, introducing a recent UUK report on part-time HE.  The report makes grim reading, for the most part.  Over the past decade or so, whilst full-time undergraduates  have grown considerably (11%), the numbers of part-timers have shrunk, by about 17%. Much of my professional life has been spent promoting lifelong learning in one form or another, and especially part-time learning within universities, so this makes painful reading.  My last full-time job in the UK was with the country's oldest provider of such opportunities, Birkbeck, and I'm…
Read More

Ibsenning

I've been lucky enough to go to two Ibsen productions in the past week: Ghosts at the Almeida and The Doll's House at the Duke of York.  I enjoyed both, but for me the former was far the stronger, with tremendous power and a beautiful rhythm to the production.   The climax, with Helen Alving cradling her dying son Oswald, could be entirely depressing, but here we saw the sun rising as he slipped away, and although her future is hardly a bright one the visual effect was one  of some kind of redemption for them both.      I was again amazed at Ibsen's boldness.  In one play he…
Read More

OECD Skills Survey: gender and the use of skills

The OECD survey of adult skills was published yesterday, and triggered a torrent of publicity. It's a massive piece of work - 166000 people aged 16-65 interviewed across 24 countries, and directly tested on a variety of information-processing (literacy, numeracy, ICT etc) and generic (cooperation, problem-solving etc) competences. I know a little of just how much work went into getting this off the ground. Most of the immediate attention in the UK was focussed on our poor ranking in literacy and numeracy. This is always the temptation when league table information is produced. It's the aspect that journalists can most quickly get their pens on to, and we shouldn't complain.…
Read More

Hubris and humility

In a recent piece in the Harvard Business Review Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic revives the Peter Principle (though he doesn't mention it), asking a number of questions about why more men rise to senior positions. The piece - and one of the academic papers linked to it - takes female 'humility' and opposes it to male hubris. Humility is a more positive way of expressing Paula Principle Factor 3 - lack of self-confidence - and the difference between the positive and negative expressions is worth discussing. But 'hubris' is an even more interesting term. TC-P argues that we are often unable to see the difference between competence and confidence. So people -…
Read More

great expectations, and household divisions

The recent excellent report from IPPR on gender issues has immediate attractions for me. It's great to see a thinktank using longitudinal data, as Tess Lanning and her colleagues do. They compare the experiences of women born in 1958 with those of the 1970 generation, and this gives us a powerful take on trends. They rightly warn against seeing any tidy linear progression towards greater equality. In particular, we can see major divisions opening up between top and bottom, amongst women as more generally. One illustration of this is the changes in the amount of domestic work done by men; this has increased over time - but mainly amongst men with more education.…
Read More