Confusion over ‘part-timers’

I half-listened to an episode of Money Box yesterday, on part-timers.  What a total guddle.  Even if I had given it my full attention as the very experienced and articulate panel explained points of tax and benefit to people who work in all kinds of untidy formats - several contracts with the same employer, repeated contracts, zero hours etc - I would have been a long long way from grasping how the system works. The relief and gratitude from some of those who had phoned and got answers to their specific problems were palpable.  They had clearly experienced frustration  in the face of an overwhelmingly complex set of 'rules'.  Just one…
Read More

Sandwiched

Another good report from the ippr, this time on older women and their caring responsibilities - the Sandwich Generation. The report is full of useful information, some of it quite eye-popping even to someone like me who thought they had look at demographic trends.  A notable example is that in less than 5 years the number of elderly people needing care will exceed the numbers of working-age people in families.  The proportion of grandparents with some kind of caring role is 70% - many of them still working, but some who have given up work to care. Not surprisingly, it is mainly less-qualified older women in lower-paid occupations who give up…
Read More

Pioneers

It's still August, yet there's a steady stream of PP-relevant items appearing in the media.  More posts to follow shortly on caring grandmothers and human capital contracts.  But yesterday was a bit of a blue-letter day. In the morning I listened to Joanna Haigh being interviewed on The Life Scientific.  She is professor of physics at Imperial College London,  has done hugely important work on climate change, and is an FRS.   She came across as authoritative but very modest.  Amongst other tributes, one of her former students gave testimony to how encouraging and non-hierarchical her attitude was to those she supervised.  Later in the day I went to the Globe Theatre…
Read More

feminising the bonus culture? plus let’s not forget the tax angle

It's no surprise, but the Chartered Management Institute recently revealed the difference between the bonuses awarded to women and to men.   Much of the commentary suggested that  the main reason for this is that women don't ask aggressively enough for their bonuses.    I'm sure this is indeed the case, and it fits directly under the PP Factor 3 (lack of self-confidence).  I realise too that some of the answer is for women to  be more assertive in making their claims. But I have some hesitation around this,  leaving aside (just for the moment) a general queasiness about the size of bonuses and how far they are functional.  The suggestion is…
Read More

PS on older women working, and Shakespeare

A PS to yesterday's post, where I pointed out that women aged 45+ are most often found to be breadwinners.  Kimberley Botwright of the OECD's Public Affairs directorate has been running a rather improbably but delightful series of blogs linking Shakespeare plays to current OECD analyses.   So far we've had Merchant of Venice used to explore issues of financial stability, and Romeo & Juliet for policies on youth and risk. Her post on Love's Labour's Lost  led me to data on labour market participation.  If you toggle it to show the figures on employment rates amongst  older women, you can see that there's a pretty strong relation between  them and the relative prosperity of the…
Read More

breadwinning

A new report from ippr, by Dalia Ben-Galim and Spencer Thomson, looks at how many women are now breadwinners.  The answer is, of course, many more than there used to be. Who counts as a 'breadwinner'?  The report defines it as someone who earns as much or more as their partner, or is the sole earner.    On this basis there are now 2.2 million female breadwinners, up by a million since 1996.  1 in 3 working women are now the breadwinner (don't forget, this includes a lot of single mums, 43% of whom are now employed). The definition covers a huge variety of circumstances.  It includes a solo working mother alongside…
Read More

why so little fiction on women at work?

I've been looking for examples from fiction to illustrate the  5 Paula Principle factors: discrimination; child/eldercare; psychology/self-confidence; vertical networks; and choice.  I've sought help from friends who are much better read than I am, and here's the curious thing:  it is quite easy to find examples from classics from C19 or earlier - but not from contemporary novels. An obvious example: in Middlemarch Dorothea's intellectual ability is put humiliatingly at Casaubon's service - she acts as his note-taker and amanuensis but does not dare to aspire to anything greater (though eventually the frustration bursts out, in a heart-rending scene).   Helpful friends pointed to various examples from Dickens, Austen etc.  I've found good…
Read More

Violins, hard work and training

I went last night to a Prom concert.  Bruch's violin concerto was played by  young Norwegian with the fine lupine name of Vilde Frang (having a half-Norwegian daughter entitles me to comment).  She was mightily impressive.        I was in the seats behind the orchestra, and as I watched her frizzed mane of hair vibrating to the music I     wondered how many of the younger breed of soloists, or just outstanding players, are women, and how far this varies by instrument.  Only one of the orchestra's double basses was a woman, for obvious reasons, and none of the percussionists.  For most of the strings, it was 50/50ish.   Whatever the…
Read More

Vers l’égalité

Whilst on holiday I was interested to read in  the French papers that the minister for the rights of women, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, has just taken an outline law to parliament.    It  has a number of dimensions - parental leave, pension supplements, measures against violence against women - but particularly interesting for the Paula Principle is the intention to use quotas to boost the representation of women in the conseils d'administration of large companies and of public bodies such as sports federations, chambers of commerce and consultative bodies. These councils are advisory rather than decision-making bodies, but can be influential.  The minister proposes a quota of 40% of places to be…
Read More

Whose flexibility?

I went recently to the launch of a Resolution Foundation report on zero hours contracts (ZHCs).  My daughter was on one of these for quite a while.  I think of a 'contract' as something struck between two or more agents with some degree of reciprocal obligation towards each other, however minimal and formal.  ZHCs don't look much like  that to me.  They vary, of course, but typically they involve the individual being at the organisation's disposal, at almost any time, with no reciprocity. The RF report, and other research by Jill Rubery focussing on domiciliary care workers, shows just how unbalanced the deal often is:  work which is very intermittent, so that…
Read More

Confusion over ‘part-timers’

I half-listened to an episode of Money Box yesterday, on part-timers.  What a total guddle.  Even if I had given it my full attention as the very experienced and articulate panel explained points of tax and benefit to people who work in all kinds of untidy formats - several contracts with the same employer, repeated contracts, zero hours etc - I would have been a long long way from grasping how the system works. The relief and gratitude from some of those who had phoned and got answers to their specific problems were palpable.  They had clearly experienced frustration  in the face of an overwhelmingly complex set of 'rules'.  Just one…
Read More

Sandwiched

Another good report from the ippr, this time on older women and their caring responsibilities - the Sandwich Generation. The report is full of useful information, some of it quite eye-popping even to someone like me who thought they had look at demographic trends.  A notable example is that in less than 5 years the number of elderly people needing care will exceed the numbers of working-age people in families.  The proportion of grandparents with some kind of caring role is 70% - many of them still working, but some who have given up work to care. Not surprisingly, it is mainly less-qualified older women in lower-paid occupations who give up…
Read More

Pioneers

It's still August, yet there's a steady stream of PP-relevant items appearing in the media.  More posts to follow shortly on caring grandmothers and human capital contracts.  But yesterday was a bit of a blue-letter day. In the morning I listened to Joanna Haigh being interviewed on The Life Scientific.  She is professor of physics at Imperial College London,  has done hugely important work on climate change, and is an FRS.   She came across as authoritative but very modest.  Amongst other tributes, one of her former students gave testimony to how encouraging and non-hierarchical her attitude was to those she supervised.  Later in the day I went to the Globe Theatre…
Read More

feminising the bonus culture? plus let’s not forget the tax angle

It's no surprise, but the Chartered Management Institute recently revealed the difference between the bonuses awarded to women and to men.   Much of the commentary suggested that  the main reason for this is that women don't ask aggressively enough for their bonuses.    I'm sure this is indeed the case, and it fits directly under the PP Factor 3 (lack of self-confidence).  I realise too that some of the answer is for women to  be more assertive in making their claims. But I have some hesitation around this,  leaving aside (just for the moment) a general queasiness about the size of bonuses and how far they are functional.  The suggestion is…
Read More

PS on older women working, and Shakespeare

A PS to yesterday's post, where I pointed out that women aged 45+ are most often found to be breadwinners.  Kimberley Botwright of the OECD's Public Affairs directorate has been running a rather improbably but delightful series of blogs linking Shakespeare plays to current OECD analyses.   So far we've had Merchant of Venice used to explore issues of financial stability, and Romeo & Juliet for policies on youth and risk. Her post on Love's Labour's Lost  led me to data on labour market participation.  If you toggle it to show the figures on employment rates amongst  older women, you can see that there's a pretty strong relation between  them and the relative prosperity of the…
Read More

breadwinning

A new report from ippr, by Dalia Ben-Galim and Spencer Thomson, looks at how many women are now breadwinners.  The answer is, of course, many more than there used to be. Who counts as a 'breadwinner'?  The report defines it as someone who earns as much or more as their partner, or is the sole earner.    On this basis there are now 2.2 million female breadwinners, up by a million since 1996.  1 in 3 working women are now the breadwinner (don't forget, this includes a lot of single mums, 43% of whom are now employed). The definition covers a huge variety of circumstances.  It includes a solo working mother alongside…
Read More

why so little fiction on women at work?

I've been looking for examples from fiction to illustrate the  5 Paula Principle factors: discrimination; child/eldercare; psychology/self-confidence; vertical networks; and choice.  I've sought help from friends who are much better read than I am, and here's the curious thing:  it is quite easy to find examples from classics from C19 or earlier - but not from contemporary novels. An obvious example: in Middlemarch Dorothea's intellectual ability is put humiliatingly at Casaubon's service - she acts as his note-taker and amanuensis but does not dare to aspire to anything greater (though eventually the frustration bursts out, in a heart-rending scene).   Helpful friends pointed to various examples from Dickens, Austen etc.  I've found good…
Read More

Violins, hard work and training

I went last night to a Prom concert.  Bruch's violin concerto was played by  young Norwegian with the fine lupine name of Vilde Frang (having a half-Norwegian daughter entitles me to comment).  She was mightily impressive.        I was in the seats behind the orchestra, and as I watched her frizzed mane of hair vibrating to the music I     wondered how many of the younger breed of soloists, or just outstanding players, are women, and how far this varies by instrument.  Only one of the orchestra's double basses was a woman, for obvious reasons, and none of the percussionists.  For most of the strings, it was 50/50ish.   Whatever the…
Read More

Vers l’égalité

Whilst on holiday I was interested to read in  the French papers that the minister for the rights of women, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, has just taken an outline law to parliament.    It  has a number of dimensions - parental leave, pension supplements, measures against violence against women - but particularly interesting for the Paula Principle is the intention to use quotas to boost the representation of women in the conseils d'administration of large companies and of public bodies such as sports federations, chambers of commerce and consultative bodies. These councils are advisory rather than decision-making bodies, but can be influential.  The minister proposes a quota of 40% of places to be…
Read More

Whose flexibility?

I went recently to the launch of a Resolution Foundation report on zero hours contracts (ZHCs).  My daughter was on one of these for quite a while.  I think of a 'contract' as something struck between two or more agents with some degree of reciprocal obligation towards each other, however minimal and formal.  ZHCs don't look much like  that to me.  They vary, of course, but typically they involve the individual being at the organisation's disposal, at almost any time, with no reciprocity. The RF report, and other research by Jill Rubery focussing on domiciliary care workers, shows just how unbalanced the deal often is:  work which is very intermittent, so that…
Read More

Confusion over ‘part-timers’

I half-listened to an episode of Money Box yesterday, on part-timers.  What a total guddle.  Even if I had given it my full attention as the very experienced and articulate panel explained points of tax and benefit to people who work in all kinds of untidy formats - several contracts with the same employer, repeated contracts, zero hours etc - I would have been a long long way from grasping how the system works. The relief and gratitude from some of those who had phoned and got answers to their specific problems were palpable.  They had clearly experienced frustration  in the face of an overwhelmingly complex set of 'rules'.  Just one…
Read More

Sandwiched

Another good report from the ippr, this time on older women and their caring responsibilities - the Sandwich Generation. The report is full of useful information, some of it quite eye-popping even to someone like me who thought they had look at demographic trends.  A notable example is that in less than 5 years the number of elderly people needing care will exceed the numbers of working-age people in families.  The proportion of grandparents with some kind of caring role is 70% - many of them still working, but some who have given up work to care. Not surprisingly, it is mainly less-qualified older women in lower-paid occupations who give up…
Read More

Pioneers

It's still August, yet there's a steady stream of PP-relevant items appearing in the media.  More posts to follow shortly on caring grandmothers and human capital contracts.  But yesterday was a bit of a blue-letter day. In the morning I listened to Joanna Haigh being interviewed on The Life Scientific.  She is professor of physics at Imperial College London,  has done hugely important work on climate change, and is an FRS.   She came across as authoritative but very modest.  Amongst other tributes, one of her former students gave testimony to how encouraging and non-hierarchical her attitude was to those she supervised.  Later in the day I went to the Globe Theatre…
Read More

feminising the bonus culture? plus let’s not forget the tax angle

It's no surprise, but the Chartered Management Institute recently revealed the difference between the bonuses awarded to women and to men.   Much of the commentary suggested that  the main reason for this is that women don't ask aggressively enough for their bonuses.    I'm sure this is indeed the case, and it fits directly under the PP Factor 3 (lack of self-confidence).  I realise too that some of the answer is for women to  be more assertive in making their claims. But I have some hesitation around this,  leaving aside (just for the moment) a general queasiness about the size of bonuses and how far they are functional.  The suggestion is…
Read More

PS on older women working, and Shakespeare

A PS to yesterday's post, where I pointed out that women aged 45+ are most often found to be breadwinners.  Kimberley Botwright of the OECD's Public Affairs directorate has been running a rather improbably but delightful series of blogs linking Shakespeare plays to current OECD analyses.   So far we've had Merchant of Venice used to explore issues of financial stability, and Romeo & Juliet for policies on youth and risk. Her post on Love's Labour's Lost  led me to data on labour market participation.  If you toggle it to show the figures on employment rates amongst  older women, you can see that there's a pretty strong relation between  them and the relative prosperity of the…
Read More

breadwinning

A new report from ippr, by Dalia Ben-Galim and Spencer Thomson, looks at how many women are now breadwinners.  The answer is, of course, many more than there used to be. Who counts as a 'breadwinner'?  The report defines it as someone who earns as much or more as their partner, or is the sole earner.    On this basis there are now 2.2 million female breadwinners, up by a million since 1996.  1 in 3 working women are now the breadwinner (don't forget, this includes a lot of single mums, 43% of whom are now employed). The definition covers a huge variety of circumstances.  It includes a solo working mother alongside…
Read More

why so little fiction on women at work?

I've been looking for examples from fiction to illustrate the  5 Paula Principle factors: discrimination; child/eldercare; psychology/self-confidence; vertical networks; and choice.  I've sought help from friends who are much better read than I am, and here's the curious thing:  it is quite easy to find examples from classics from C19 or earlier - but not from contemporary novels. An obvious example: in Middlemarch Dorothea's intellectual ability is put humiliatingly at Casaubon's service - she acts as his note-taker and amanuensis but does not dare to aspire to anything greater (though eventually the frustration bursts out, in a heart-rending scene).   Helpful friends pointed to various examples from Dickens, Austen etc.  I've found good…
Read More

Violins, hard work and training

I went last night to a Prom concert.  Bruch's violin concerto was played by  young Norwegian with the fine lupine name of Vilde Frang (having a half-Norwegian daughter entitles me to comment).  She was mightily impressive.        I was in the seats behind the orchestra, and as I watched her frizzed mane of hair vibrating to the music I     wondered how many of the younger breed of soloists, or just outstanding players, are women, and how far this varies by instrument.  Only one of the orchestra's double basses was a woman, for obvious reasons, and none of the percussionists.  For most of the strings, it was 50/50ish.   Whatever the…
Read More

Vers l’égalité

Whilst on holiday I was interested to read in  the French papers that the minister for the rights of women, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, has just taken an outline law to parliament.    It  has a number of dimensions - parental leave, pension supplements, measures against violence against women - but particularly interesting for the Paula Principle is the intention to use quotas to boost the representation of women in the conseils d'administration of large companies and of public bodies such as sports federations, chambers of commerce and consultative bodies. These councils are advisory rather than decision-making bodies, but can be influential.  The minister proposes a quota of 40% of places to be…
Read More

Whose flexibility?

I went recently to the launch of a Resolution Foundation report on zero hours contracts (ZHCs).  My daughter was on one of these for quite a while.  I think of a 'contract' as something struck between two or more agents with some degree of reciprocal obligation towards each other, however minimal and formal.  ZHCs don't look much like  that to me.  They vary, of course, but typically they involve the individual being at the organisation's disposal, at almost any time, with no reciprocity. The RF report, and other research by Jill Rubery focussing on domiciliary care workers, shows just how unbalanced the deal often is:  work which is very intermittent, so that…
Read More

Confusion over ‘part-timers’

I half-listened to an episode of Money Box yesterday, on part-timers.  What a total guddle.  Even if I had given it my full attention as the very experienced and articulate panel explained points of tax and benefit to people who work in all kinds of untidy formats - several contracts with the same employer, repeated contracts, zero hours etc - I would have been a long long way from grasping how the system works. The relief and gratitude from some of those who had phoned and got answers to their specific problems were palpable.  They had clearly experienced frustration  in the face of an overwhelmingly complex set of 'rules'.  Just one…
Read More

Sandwiched

Another good report from the ippr, this time on older women and their caring responsibilities - the Sandwich Generation. The report is full of useful information, some of it quite eye-popping even to someone like me who thought they had look at demographic trends.  A notable example is that in less than 5 years the number of elderly people needing care will exceed the numbers of working-age people in families.  The proportion of grandparents with some kind of caring role is 70% - many of them still working, but some who have given up work to care. Not surprisingly, it is mainly less-qualified older women in lower-paid occupations who give up…
Read More

Pioneers

It's still August, yet there's a steady stream of PP-relevant items appearing in the media.  More posts to follow shortly on caring grandmothers and human capital contracts.  But yesterday was a bit of a blue-letter day. In the morning I listened to Joanna Haigh being interviewed on The Life Scientific.  She is professor of physics at Imperial College London,  has done hugely important work on climate change, and is an FRS.   She came across as authoritative but very modest.  Amongst other tributes, one of her former students gave testimony to how encouraging and non-hierarchical her attitude was to those she supervised.  Later in the day I went to the Globe Theatre…
Read More

feminising the bonus culture? plus let’s not forget the tax angle

It's no surprise, but the Chartered Management Institute recently revealed the difference between the bonuses awarded to women and to men.   Much of the commentary suggested that  the main reason for this is that women don't ask aggressively enough for their bonuses.    I'm sure this is indeed the case, and it fits directly under the PP Factor 3 (lack of self-confidence).  I realise too that some of the answer is for women to  be more assertive in making their claims. But I have some hesitation around this,  leaving aside (just for the moment) a general queasiness about the size of bonuses and how far they are functional.  The suggestion is…
Read More

PS on older women working, and Shakespeare

A PS to yesterday's post, where I pointed out that women aged 45+ are most often found to be breadwinners.  Kimberley Botwright of the OECD's Public Affairs directorate has been running a rather improbably but delightful series of blogs linking Shakespeare plays to current OECD analyses.   So far we've had Merchant of Venice used to explore issues of financial stability, and Romeo & Juliet for policies on youth and risk. Her post on Love's Labour's Lost  led me to data on labour market participation.  If you toggle it to show the figures on employment rates amongst  older women, you can see that there's a pretty strong relation between  them and the relative prosperity of the…
Read More

breadwinning

A new report from ippr, by Dalia Ben-Galim and Spencer Thomson, looks at how many women are now breadwinners.  The answer is, of course, many more than there used to be. Who counts as a 'breadwinner'?  The report defines it as someone who earns as much or more as their partner, or is the sole earner.    On this basis there are now 2.2 million female breadwinners, up by a million since 1996.  1 in 3 working women are now the breadwinner (don't forget, this includes a lot of single mums, 43% of whom are now employed). The definition covers a huge variety of circumstances.  It includes a solo working mother alongside…
Read More

why so little fiction on women at work?

I've been looking for examples from fiction to illustrate the  5 Paula Principle factors: discrimination; child/eldercare; psychology/self-confidence; vertical networks; and choice.  I've sought help from friends who are much better read than I am, and here's the curious thing:  it is quite easy to find examples from classics from C19 or earlier - but not from contemporary novels. An obvious example: in Middlemarch Dorothea's intellectual ability is put humiliatingly at Casaubon's service - she acts as his note-taker and amanuensis but does not dare to aspire to anything greater (though eventually the frustration bursts out, in a heart-rending scene).   Helpful friends pointed to various examples from Dickens, Austen etc.  I've found good…
Read More

Violins, hard work and training

I went last night to a Prom concert.  Bruch's violin concerto was played by  young Norwegian with the fine lupine name of Vilde Frang (having a half-Norwegian daughter entitles me to comment).  She was mightily impressive.        I was in the seats behind the orchestra, and as I watched her frizzed mane of hair vibrating to the music I     wondered how many of the younger breed of soloists, or just outstanding players, are women, and how far this varies by instrument.  Only one of the orchestra's double basses was a woman, for obvious reasons, and none of the percussionists.  For most of the strings, it was 50/50ish.   Whatever the…
Read More

Vers l’égalité

Whilst on holiday I was interested to read in  the French papers that the minister for the rights of women, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, has just taken an outline law to parliament.    It  has a number of dimensions - parental leave, pension supplements, measures against violence against women - but particularly interesting for the Paula Principle is the intention to use quotas to boost the representation of women in the conseils d'administration of large companies and of public bodies such as sports federations, chambers of commerce and consultative bodies. These councils are advisory rather than decision-making bodies, but can be influential.  The minister proposes a quota of 40% of places to be…
Read More

Whose flexibility?

I went recently to the launch of a Resolution Foundation report on zero hours contracts (ZHCs).  My daughter was on one of these for quite a while.  I think of a 'contract' as something struck between two or more agents with some degree of reciprocal obligation towards each other, however minimal and formal.  ZHCs don't look much like  that to me.  They vary, of course, but typically they involve the individual being at the organisation's disposal, at almost any time, with no reciprocity. The RF report, and other research by Jill Rubery focussing on domiciliary care workers, shows just how unbalanced the deal often is:  work which is very intermittent, so that…
Read More

Confusion over ‘part-timers’

I half-listened to an episode of Money Box yesterday, on part-timers.  What a total guddle.  Even if I had given it my full attention as the very experienced and articulate panel explained points of tax and benefit to people who work in all kinds of untidy formats - several contracts with the same employer, repeated contracts, zero hours etc - I would have been a long long way from grasping how the system works. The relief and gratitude from some of those who had phoned and got answers to their specific problems were palpable.  They had clearly experienced frustration  in the face of an overwhelmingly complex set of 'rules'.  Just one…
Read More

Sandwiched

Another good report from the ippr, this time on older women and their caring responsibilities - the Sandwich Generation. The report is full of useful information, some of it quite eye-popping even to someone like me who thought they had look at demographic trends.  A notable example is that in less than 5 years the number of elderly people needing care will exceed the numbers of working-age people in families.  The proportion of grandparents with some kind of caring role is 70% - many of them still working, but some who have given up work to care. Not surprisingly, it is mainly less-qualified older women in lower-paid occupations who give up…
Read More

Pioneers

It's still August, yet there's a steady stream of PP-relevant items appearing in the media.  More posts to follow shortly on caring grandmothers and human capital contracts.  But yesterday was a bit of a blue-letter day. In the morning I listened to Joanna Haigh being interviewed on The Life Scientific.  She is professor of physics at Imperial College London,  has done hugely important work on climate change, and is an FRS.   She came across as authoritative but very modest.  Amongst other tributes, one of her former students gave testimony to how encouraging and non-hierarchical her attitude was to those she supervised.  Later in the day I went to the Globe Theatre…
Read More

feminising the bonus culture? plus let’s not forget the tax angle

It's no surprise, but the Chartered Management Institute recently revealed the difference between the bonuses awarded to women and to men.   Much of the commentary suggested that  the main reason for this is that women don't ask aggressively enough for their bonuses.    I'm sure this is indeed the case, and it fits directly under the PP Factor 3 (lack of self-confidence).  I realise too that some of the answer is for women to  be more assertive in making their claims. But I have some hesitation around this,  leaving aside (just for the moment) a general queasiness about the size of bonuses and how far they are functional.  The suggestion is…
Read More

PS on older women working, and Shakespeare

A PS to yesterday's post, where I pointed out that women aged 45+ are most often found to be breadwinners.  Kimberley Botwright of the OECD's Public Affairs directorate has been running a rather improbably but delightful series of blogs linking Shakespeare plays to current OECD analyses.   So far we've had Merchant of Venice used to explore issues of financial stability, and Romeo & Juliet for policies on youth and risk. Her post on Love's Labour's Lost  led me to data on labour market participation.  If you toggle it to show the figures on employment rates amongst  older women, you can see that there's a pretty strong relation between  them and the relative prosperity of the…
Read More

breadwinning

A new report from ippr, by Dalia Ben-Galim and Spencer Thomson, looks at how many women are now breadwinners.  The answer is, of course, many more than there used to be. Who counts as a 'breadwinner'?  The report defines it as someone who earns as much or more as their partner, or is the sole earner.    On this basis there are now 2.2 million female breadwinners, up by a million since 1996.  1 in 3 working women are now the breadwinner (don't forget, this includes a lot of single mums, 43% of whom are now employed). The definition covers a huge variety of circumstances.  It includes a solo working mother alongside…
Read More

why so little fiction on women at work?

I've been looking for examples from fiction to illustrate the  5 Paula Principle factors: discrimination; child/eldercare; psychology/self-confidence; vertical networks; and choice.  I've sought help from friends who are much better read than I am, and here's the curious thing:  it is quite easy to find examples from classics from C19 or earlier - but not from contemporary novels. An obvious example: in Middlemarch Dorothea's intellectual ability is put humiliatingly at Casaubon's service - she acts as his note-taker and amanuensis but does not dare to aspire to anything greater (though eventually the frustration bursts out, in a heart-rending scene).   Helpful friends pointed to various examples from Dickens, Austen etc.  I've found good…
Read More

Violins, hard work and training

I went last night to a Prom concert.  Bruch's violin concerto was played by  young Norwegian with the fine lupine name of Vilde Frang (having a half-Norwegian daughter entitles me to comment).  She was mightily impressive.        I was in the seats behind the orchestra, and as I watched her frizzed mane of hair vibrating to the music I     wondered how many of the younger breed of soloists, or just outstanding players, are women, and how far this varies by instrument.  Only one of the orchestra's double basses was a woman, for obvious reasons, and none of the percussionists.  For most of the strings, it was 50/50ish.   Whatever the…
Read More

Vers l’égalité

Whilst on holiday I was interested to read in  the French papers that the minister for the rights of women, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, has just taken an outline law to parliament.    It  has a number of dimensions - parental leave, pension supplements, measures against violence against women - but particularly interesting for the Paula Principle is the intention to use quotas to boost the representation of women in the conseils d'administration of large companies and of public bodies such as sports federations, chambers of commerce and consultative bodies. These councils are advisory rather than decision-making bodies, but can be influential.  The minister proposes a quota of 40% of places to be…
Read More

Whose flexibility?

I went recently to the launch of a Resolution Foundation report on zero hours contracts (ZHCs).  My daughter was on one of these for quite a while.  I think of a 'contract' as something struck between two or more agents with some degree of reciprocal obligation towards each other, however minimal and formal.  ZHCs don't look much like  that to me.  They vary, of course, but typically they involve the individual being at the organisation's disposal, at almost any time, with no reciprocity. The RF report, and other research by Jill Rubery focussing on domiciliary care workers, shows just how unbalanced the deal often is:  work which is very intermittent, so that…
Read More

Confusion over ‘part-timers’

I half-listened to an episode of Money Box yesterday, on part-timers.  What a total guddle.  Even if I had given it my full attention as the very experienced and articulate panel explained points of tax and benefit to people who work in all kinds of untidy formats - several contracts with the same employer, repeated contracts, zero hours etc - I would have been a long long way from grasping how the system works. The relief and gratitude from some of those who had phoned and got answers to their specific problems were palpable.  They had clearly experienced frustration  in the face of an overwhelmingly complex set of 'rules'.  Just one…
Read More

Sandwiched

Another good report from the ippr, this time on older women and their caring responsibilities - the Sandwich Generation. The report is full of useful information, some of it quite eye-popping even to someone like me who thought they had look at demographic trends.  A notable example is that in less than 5 years the number of elderly people needing care will exceed the numbers of working-age people in families.  The proportion of grandparents with some kind of caring role is 70% - many of them still working, but some who have given up work to care. Not surprisingly, it is mainly less-qualified older women in lower-paid occupations who give up…
Read More

Pioneers

It's still August, yet there's a steady stream of PP-relevant items appearing in the media.  More posts to follow shortly on caring grandmothers and human capital contracts.  But yesterday was a bit of a blue-letter day. In the morning I listened to Joanna Haigh being interviewed on The Life Scientific.  She is professor of physics at Imperial College London,  has done hugely important work on climate change, and is an FRS.   She came across as authoritative but very modest.  Amongst other tributes, one of her former students gave testimony to how encouraging and non-hierarchical her attitude was to those she supervised.  Later in the day I went to the Globe Theatre…
Read More

feminising the bonus culture? plus let’s not forget the tax angle

It's no surprise, but the Chartered Management Institute recently revealed the difference between the bonuses awarded to women and to men.   Much of the commentary suggested that  the main reason for this is that women don't ask aggressively enough for their bonuses.    I'm sure this is indeed the case, and it fits directly under the PP Factor 3 (lack of self-confidence).  I realise too that some of the answer is for women to  be more assertive in making their claims. But I have some hesitation around this,  leaving aside (just for the moment) a general queasiness about the size of bonuses and how far they are functional.  The suggestion is…
Read More

PS on older women working, and Shakespeare

A PS to yesterday's post, where I pointed out that women aged 45+ are most often found to be breadwinners.  Kimberley Botwright of the OECD's Public Affairs directorate has been running a rather improbably but delightful series of blogs linking Shakespeare plays to current OECD analyses.   So far we've had Merchant of Venice used to explore issues of financial stability, and Romeo & Juliet for policies on youth and risk. Her post on Love's Labour's Lost  led me to data on labour market participation.  If you toggle it to show the figures on employment rates amongst  older women, you can see that there's a pretty strong relation between  them and the relative prosperity of the…
Read More

breadwinning

A new report from ippr, by Dalia Ben-Galim and Spencer Thomson, looks at how many women are now breadwinners.  The answer is, of course, many more than there used to be. Who counts as a 'breadwinner'?  The report defines it as someone who earns as much or more as their partner, or is the sole earner.    On this basis there are now 2.2 million female breadwinners, up by a million since 1996.  1 in 3 working women are now the breadwinner (don't forget, this includes a lot of single mums, 43% of whom are now employed). The definition covers a huge variety of circumstances.  It includes a solo working mother alongside…
Read More

why so little fiction on women at work?

I've been looking for examples from fiction to illustrate the  5 Paula Principle factors: discrimination; child/eldercare; psychology/self-confidence; vertical networks; and choice.  I've sought help from friends who are much better read than I am, and here's the curious thing:  it is quite easy to find examples from classics from C19 or earlier - but not from contemporary novels. An obvious example: in Middlemarch Dorothea's intellectual ability is put humiliatingly at Casaubon's service - she acts as his note-taker and amanuensis but does not dare to aspire to anything greater (though eventually the frustration bursts out, in a heart-rending scene).   Helpful friends pointed to various examples from Dickens, Austen etc.  I've found good…
Read More

Violins, hard work and training

I went last night to a Prom concert.  Bruch's violin concerto was played by  young Norwegian with the fine lupine name of Vilde Frang (having a half-Norwegian daughter entitles me to comment).  She was mightily impressive.        I was in the seats behind the orchestra, and as I watched her frizzed mane of hair vibrating to the music I     wondered how many of the younger breed of soloists, or just outstanding players, are women, and how far this varies by instrument.  Only one of the orchestra's double basses was a woman, for obvious reasons, and none of the percussionists.  For most of the strings, it was 50/50ish.   Whatever the…
Read More

Vers l’égalité

Whilst on holiday I was interested to read in  the French papers that the minister for the rights of women, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, has just taken an outline law to parliament.    It  has a number of dimensions - parental leave, pension supplements, measures against violence against women - but particularly interesting for the Paula Principle is the intention to use quotas to boost the representation of women in the conseils d'administration of large companies and of public bodies such as sports federations, chambers of commerce and consultative bodies. These councils are advisory rather than decision-making bodies, but can be influential.  The minister proposes a quota of 40% of places to be…
Read More

Whose flexibility?

I went recently to the launch of a Resolution Foundation report on zero hours contracts (ZHCs).  My daughter was on one of these for quite a while.  I think of a 'contract' as something struck between two or more agents with some degree of reciprocal obligation towards each other, however minimal and formal.  ZHCs don't look much like  that to me.  They vary, of course, but typically they involve the individual being at the organisation's disposal, at almost any time, with no reciprocity. The RF report, and other research by Jill Rubery focussing on domiciliary care workers, shows just how unbalanced the deal often is:  work which is very intermittent, so that…
Read More

Confusion over ‘part-timers’

I half-listened to an episode of Money Box yesterday, on part-timers.  What a total guddle.  Even if I had given it my full attention as the very experienced and articulate panel explained points of tax and benefit to people who work in all kinds of untidy formats - several contracts with the same employer, repeated contracts, zero hours etc - I would have been a long long way from grasping how the system works. The relief and gratitude from some of those who had phoned and got answers to their specific problems were palpable.  They had clearly experienced frustration  in the face of an overwhelmingly complex set of 'rules'.  Just one…
Read More

Sandwiched

Another good report from the ippr, this time on older women and their caring responsibilities - the Sandwich Generation. The report is full of useful information, some of it quite eye-popping even to someone like me who thought they had look at demographic trends.  A notable example is that in less than 5 years the number of elderly people needing care will exceed the numbers of working-age people in families.  The proportion of grandparents with some kind of caring role is 70% - many of them still working, but some who have given up work to care. Not surprisingly, it is mainly less-qualified older women in lower-paid occupations who give up…
Read More

Pioneers

It's still August, yet there's a steady stream of PP-relevant items appearing in the media.  More posts to follow shortly on caring grandmothers and human capital contracts.  But yesterday was a bit of a blue-letter day. In the morning I listened to Joanna Haigh being interviewed on The Life Scientific.  She is professor of physics at Imperial College London,  has done hugely important work on climate change, and is an FRS.   She came across as authoritative but very modest.  Amongst other tributes, one of her former students gave testimony to how encouraging and non-hierarchical her attitude was to those she supervised.  Later in the day I went to the Globe Theatre…
Read More

feminising the bonus culture? plus let’s not forget the tax angle

It's no surprise, but the Chartered Management Institute recently revealed the difference between the bonuses awarded to women and to men.   Much of the commentary suggested that  the main reason for this is that women don't ask aggressively enough for their bonuses.    I'm sure this is indeed the case, and it fits directly under the PP Factor 3 (lack of self-confidence).  I realise too that some of the answer is for women to  be more assertive in making their claims. But I have some hesitation around this,  leaving aside (just for the moment) a general queasiness about the size of bonuses and how far they are functional.  The suggestion is…
Read More

PS on older women working, and Shakespeare

A PS to yesterday's post, where I pointed out that women aged 45+ are most often found to be breadwinners.  Kimberley Botwright of the OECD's Public Affairs directorate has been running a rather improbably but delightful series of blogs linking Shakespeare plays to current OECD analyses.   So far we've had Merchant of Venice used to explore issues of financial stability, and Romeo & Juliet for policies on youth and risk. Her post on Love's Labour's Lost  led me to data on labour market participation.  If you toggle it to show the figures on employment rates amongst  older women, you can see that there's a pretty strong relation between  them and the relative prosperity of the…
Read More

breadwinning

A new report from ippr, by Dalia Ben-Galim and Spencer Thomson, looks at how many women are now breadwinners.  The answer is, of course, many more than there used to be. Who counts as a 'breadwinner'?  The report defines it as someone who earns as much or more as their partner, or is the sole earner.    On this basis there are now 2.2 million female breadwinners, up by a million since 1996.  1 in 3 working women are now the breadwinner (don't forget, this includes a lot of single mums, 43% of whom are now employed). The definition covers a huge variety of circumstances.  It includes a solo working mother alongside…
Read More

why so little fiction on women at work?

I've been looking for examples from fiction to illustrate the  5 Paula Principle factors: discrimination; child/eldercare; psychology/self-confidence; vertical networks; and choice.  I've sought help from friends who are much better read than I am, and here's the curious thing:  it is quite easy to find examples from classics from C19 or earlier - but not from contemporary novels. An obvious example: in Middlemarch Dorothea's intellectual ability is put humiliatingly at Casaubon's service - she acts as his note-taker and amanuensis but does not dare to aspire to anything greater (though eventually the frustration bursts out, in a heart-rending scene).   Helpful friends pointed to various examples from Dickens, Austen etc.  I've found good…
Read More

Violins, hard work and training

I went last night to a Prom concert.  Bruch's violin concerto was played by  young Norwegian with the fine lupine name of Vilde Frang (having a half-Norwegian daughter entitles me to comment).  She was mightily impressive.        I was in the seats behind the orchestra, and as I watched her frizzed mane of hair vibrating to the music I     wondered how many of the younger breed of soloists, or just outstanding players, are women, and how far this varies by instrument.  Only one of the orchestra's double basses was a woman, for obvious reasons, and none of the percussionists.  For most of the strings, it was 50/50ish.   Whatever the…
Read More

Vers l’égalité

Whilst on holiday I was interested to read in  the French papers that the minister for the rights of women, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, has just taken an outline law to parliament.    It  has a number of dimensions - parental leave, pension supplements, measures against violence against women - but particularly interesting for the Paula Principle is the intention to use quotas to boost the representation of women in the conseils d'administration of large companies and of public bodies such as sports federations, chambers of commerce and consultative bodies. These councils are advisory rather than decision-making bodies, but can be influential.  The minister proposes a quota of 40% of places to be…
Read More

Whose flexibility?

I went recently to the launch of a Resolution Foundation report on zero hours contracts (ZHCs).  My daughter was on one of these for quite a while.  I think of a 'contract' as something struck between two or more agents with some degree of reciprocal obligation towards each other, however minimal and formal.  ZHCs don't look much like  that to me.  They vary, of course, but typically they involve the individual being at the organisation's disposal, at almost any time, with no reciprocity. The RF report, and other research by Jill Rubery focussing on domiciliary care workers, shows just how unbalanced the deal often is:  work which is very intermittent, so that…
Read More

Confusion over ‘part-timers’

I half-listened to an episode of Money Box yesterday, on part-timers.  What a total guddle.  Even if I had given it my full attention as the very experienced and articulate panel explained points of tax and benefit to people who work in all kinds of untidy formats - several contracts with the same employer, repeated contracts, zero hours etc - I would have been a long long way from grasping how the system works. The relief and gratitude from some of those who had phoned and got answers to their specific problems were palpable.  They had clearly experienced frustration  in the face of an overwhelmingly complex set of 'rules'.  Just one…
Read More

Sandwiched

Another good report from the ippr, this time on older women and their caring responsibilities - the Sandwich Generation. The report is full of useful information, some of it quite eye-popping even to someone like me who thought they had look at demographic trends.  A notable example is that in less than 5 years the number of elderly people needing care will exceed the numbers of working-age people in families.  The proportion of grandparents with some kind of caring role is 70% - many of them still working, but some who have given up work to care. Not surprisingly, it is mainly less-qualified older women in lower-paid occupations who give up…
Read More

Pioneers

It's still August, yet there's a steady stream of PP-relevant items appearing in the media.  More posts to follow shortly on caring grandmothers and human capital contracts.  But yesterday was a bit of a blue-letter day. In the morning I listened to Joanna Haigh being interviewed on The Life Scientific.  She is professor of physics at Imperial College London,  has done hugely important work on climate change, and is an FRS.   She came across as authoritative but very modest.  Amongst other tributes, one of her former students gave testimony to how encouraging and non-hierarchical her attitude was to those she supervised.  Later in the day I went to the Globe Theatre…
Read More

feminising the bonus culture? plus let’s not forget the tax angle

It's no surprise, but the Chartered Management Institute recently revealed the difference between the bonuses awarded to women and to men.   Much of the commentary suggested that  the main reason for this is that women don't ask aggressively enough for their bonuses.    I'm sure this is indeed the case, and it fits directly under the PP Factor 3 (lack of self-confidence).  I realise too that some of the answer is for women to  be more assertive in making their claims. But I have some hesitation around this,  leaving aside (just for the moment) a general queasiness about the size of bonuses and how far they are functional.  The suggestion is…
Read More

PS on older women working, and Shakespeare

A PS to yesterday's post, where I pointed out that women aged 45+ are most often found to be breadwinners.  Kimberley Botwright of the OECD's Public Affairs directorate has been running a rather improbably but delightful series of blogs linking Shakespeare plays to current OECD analyses.   So far we've had Merchant of Venice used to explore issues of financial stability, and Romeo & Juliet for policies on youth and risk. Her post on Love's Labour's Lost  led me to data on labour market participation.  If you toggle it to show the figures on employment rates amongst  older women, you can see that there's a pretty strong relation between  them and the relative prosperity of the…
Read More

breadwinning

A new report from ippr, by Dalia Ben-Galim and Spencer Thomson, looks at how many women are now breadwinners.  The answer is, of course, many more than there used to be. Who counts as a 'breadwinner'?  The report defines it as someone who earns as much or more as their partner, or is the sole earner.    On this basis there are now 2.2 million female breadwinners, up by a million since 1996.  1 in 3 working women are now the breadwinner (don't forget, this includes a lot of single mums, 43% of whom are now employed). The definition covers a huge variety of circumstances.  It includes a solo working mother alongside…
Read More

why so little fiction on women at work?

I've been looking for examples from fiction to illustrate the  5 Paula Principle factors: discrimination; child/eldercare; psychology/self-confidence; vertical networks; and choice.  I've sought help from friends who are much better read than I am, and here's the curious thing:  it is quite easy to find examples from classics from C19 or earlier - but not from contemporary novels. An obvious example: in Middlemarch Dorothea's intellectual ability is put humiliatingly at Casaubon's service - she acts as his note-taker and amanuensis but does not dare to aspire to anything greater (though eventually the frustration bursts out, in a heart-rending scene).   Helpful friends pointed to various examples from Dickens, Austen etc.  I've found good…
Read More

Violins, hard work and training

I went last night to a Prom concert.  Bruch's violin concerto was played by  young Norwegian with the fine lupine name of Vilde Frang (having a half-Norwegian daughter entitles me to comment).  She was mightily impressive.        I was in the seats behind the orchestra, and as I watched her frizzed mane of hair vibrating to the music I     wondered how many of the younger breed of soloists, or just outstanding players, are women, and how far this varies by instrument.  Only one of the orchestra's double basses was a woman, for obvious reasons, and none of the percussionists.  For most of the strings, it was 50/50ish.   Whatever the…
Read More

Vers l’égalité

Whilst on holiday I was interested to read in  the French papers that the minister for the rights of women, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, has just taken an outline law to parliament.    It  has a number of dimensions - parental leave, pension supplements, measures against violence against women - but particularly interesting for the Paula Principle is the intention to use quotas to boost the representation of women in the conseils d'administration of large companies and of public bodies such as sports federations, chambers of commerce and consultative bodies. These councils are advisory rather than decision-making bodies, but can be influential.  The minister proposes a quota of 40% of places to be…
Read More

Whose flexibility?

I went recently to the launch of a Resolution Foundation report on zero hours contracts (ZHCs).  My daughter was on one of these for quite a while.  I think of a 'contract' as something struck between two or more agents with some degree of reciprocal obligation towards each other, however minimal and formal.  ZHCs don't look much like  that to me.  They vary, of course, but typically they involve the individual being at the organisation's disposal, at almost any time, with no reciprocity. The RF report, and other research by Jill Rubery focussing on domiciliary care workers, shows just how unbalanced the deal often is:  work which is very intermittent, so that…
Read More

Confusion over ‘part-timers’

I half-listened to an episode of Money Box yesterday, on part-timers.  What a total guddle.  Even if I had given it my full attention as the very experienced and articulate panel explained points of tax and benefit to people who work in all kinds of untidy formats - several contracts with the same employer, repeated contracts, zero hours etc - I would have been a long long way from grasping how the system works. The relief and gratitude from some of those who had phoned and got answers to their specific problems were palpable.  They had clearly experienced frustration  in the face of an overwhelmingly complex set of 'rules'.  Just one…
Read More

Sandwiched

Another good report from the ippr, this time on older women and their caring responsibilities - the Sandwich Generation. The report is full of useful information, some of it quite eye-popping even to someone like me who thought they had look at demographic trends.  A notable example is that in less than 5 years the number of elderly people needing care will exceed the numbers of working-age people in families.  The proportion of grandparents with some kind of caring role is 70% - many of them still working, but some who have given up work to care. Not surprisingly, it is mainly less-qualified older women in lower-paid occupations who give up…
Read More

Pioneers

It's still August, yet there's a steady stream of PP-relevant items appearing in the media.  More posts to follow shortly on caring grandmothers and human capital contracts.  But yesterday was a bit of a blue-letter day. In the morning I listened to Joanna Haigh being interviewed on The Life Scientific.  She is professor of physics at Imperial College London,  has done hugely important work on climate change, and is an FRS.   She came across as authoritative but very modest.  Amongst other tributes, one of her former students gave testimony to how encouraging and non-hierarchical her attitude was to those she supervised.  Later in the day I went to the Globe Theatre…
Read More

feminising the bonus culture? plus let’s not forget the tax angle

It's no surprise, but the Chartered Management Institute recently revealed the difference between the bonuses awarded to women and to men.   Much of the commentary suggested that  the main reason for this is that women don't ask aggressively enough for their bonuses.    I'm sure this is indeed the case, and it fits directly under the PP Factor 3 (lack of self-confidence).  I realise too that some of the answer is for women to  be more assertive in making their claims. But I have some hesitation around this,  leaving aside (just for the moment) a general queasiness about the size of bonuses and how far they are functional.  The suggestion is…
Read More

PS on older women working, and Shakespeare

A PS to yesterday's post, where I pointed out that women aged 45+ are most often found to be breadwinners.  Kimberley Botwright of the OECD's Public Affairs directorate has been running a rather improbably but delightful series of blogs linking Shakespeare plays to current OECD analyses.   So far we've had Merchant of Venice used to explore issues of financial stability, and Romeo & Juliet for policies on youth and risk. Her post on Love's Labour's Lost  led me to data on labour market participation.  If you toggle it to show the figures on employment rates amongst  older women, you can see that there's a pretty strong relation between  them and the relative prosperity of the…
Read More

breadwinning

A new report from ippr, by Dalia Ben-Galim and Spencer Thomson, looks at how many women are now breadwinners.  The answer is, of course, many more than there used to be. Who counts as a 'breadwinner'?  The report defines it as someone who earns as much or more as their partner, or is the sole earner.    On this basis there are now 2.2 million female breadwinners, up by a million since 1996.  1 in 3 working women are now the breadwinner (don't forget, this includes a lot of single mums, 43% of whom are now employed). The definition covers a huge variety of circumstances.  It includes a solo working mother alongside…
Read More

why so little fiction on women at work?

I've been looking for examples from fiction to illustrate the  5 Paula Principle factors: discrimination; child/eldercare; psychology/self-confidence; vertical networks; and choice.  I've sought help from friends who are much better read than I am, and here's the curious thing:  it is quite easy to find examples from classics from C19 or earlier - but not from contemporary novels. An obvious example: in Middlemarch Dorothea's intellectual ability is put humiliatingly at Casaubon's service - she acts as his note-taker and amanuensis but does not dare to aspire to anything greater (though eventually the frustration bursts out, in a heart-rending scene).   Helpful friends pointed to various examples from Dickens, Austen etc.  I've found good…
Read More

Violins, hard work and training

I went last night to a Prom concert.  Bruch's violin concerto was played by  young Norwegian with the fine lupine name of Vilde Frang (having a half-Norwegian daughter entitles me to comment).  She was mightily impressive.        I was in the seats behind the orchestra, and as I watched her frizzed mane of hair vibrating to the music I     wondered how many of the younger breed of soloists, or just outstanding players, are women, and how far this varies by instrument.  Only one of the orchestra's double basses was a woman, for obvious reasons, and none of the percussionists.  For most of the strings, it was 50/50ish.   Whatever the…
Read More

Vers l’égalité

Whilst on holiday I was interested to read in  the French papers that the minister for the rights of women, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, has just taken an outline law to parliament.    It  has a number of dimensions - parental leave, pension supplements, measures against violence against women - but particularly interesting for the Paula Principle is the intention to use quotas to boost the representation of women in the conseils d'administration of large companies and of public bodies such as sports federations, chambers of commerce and consultative bodies. These councils are advisory rather than decision-making bodies, but can be influential.  The minister proposes a quota of 40% of places to be…
Read More

Whose flexibility?

I went recently to the launch of a Resolution Foundation report on zero hours contracts (ZHCs).  My daughter was on one of these for quite a while.  I think of a 'contract' as something struck between two or more agents with some degree of reciprocal obligation towards each other, however minimal and formal.  ZHCs don't look much like  that to me.  They vary, of course, but typically they involve the individual being at the organisation's disposal, at almost any time, with no reciprocity. The RF report, and other research by Jill Rubery focussing on domiciliary care workers, shows just how unbalanced the deal often is:  work which is very intermittent, so that…
Read More

Confusion over ‘part-timers’

I half-listened to an episode of Money Box yesterday, on part-timers.  What a total guddle.  Even if I had given it my full attention as the very experienced and articulate panel explained points of tax and benefit to people who work in all kinds of untidy formats - several contracts with the same employer, repeated contracts, zero hours etc - I would have been a long long way from grasping how the system works. The relief and gratitude from some of those who had phoned and got answers to their specific problems were palpable.  They had clearly experienced frustration  in the face of an overwhelmingly complex set of 'rules'.  Just one…
Read More

Sandwiched

Another good report from the ippr, this time on older women and their caring responsibilities - the Sandwich Generation. The report is full of useful information, some of it quite eye-popping even to someone like me who thought they had look at demographic trends.  A notable example is that in less than 5 years the number of elderly people needing care will exceed the numbers of working-age people in families.  The proportion of grandparents with some kind of caring role is 70% - many of them still working, but some who have given up work to care. Not surprisingly, it is mainly less-qualified older women in lower-paid occupations who give up…
Read More

Pioneers

It's still August, yet there's a steady stream of PP-relevant items appearing in the media.  More posts to follow shortly on caring grandmothers and human capital contracts.  But yesterday was a bit of a blue-letter day. In the morning I listened to Joanna Haigh being interviewed on The Life Scientific.  She is professor of physics at Imperial College London,  has done hugely important work on climate change, and is an FRS.   She came across as authoritative but very modest.  Amongst other tributes, one of her former students gave testimony to how encouraging and non-hierarchical her attitude was to those she supervised.  Later in the day I went to the Globe Theatre…
Read More

feminising the bonus culture? plus let’s not forget the tax angle

It's no surprise, but the Chartered Management Institute recently revealed the difference between the bonuses awarded to women and to men.   Much of the commentary suggested that  the main reason for this is that women don't ask aggressively enough for their bonuses.    I'm sure this is indeed the case, and it fits directly under the PP Factor 3 (lack of self-confidence).  I realise too that some of the answer is for women to  be more assertive in making their claims. But I have some hesitation around this,  leaving aside (just for the moment) a general queasiness about the size of bonuses and how far they are functional.  The suggestion is…
Read More

PS on older women working, and Shakespeare

A PS to yesterday's post, where I pointed out that women aged 45+ are most often found to be breadwinners.  Kimberley Botwright of the OECD's Public Affairs directorate has been running a rather improbably but delightful series of blogs linking Shakespeare plays to current OECD analyses.   So far we've had Merchant of Venice used to explore issues of financial stability, and Romeo & Juliet for policies on youth and risk. Her post on Love's Labour's Lost  led me to data on labour market participation.  If you toggle it to show the figures on employment rates amongst  older women, you can see that there's a pretty strong relation between  them and the relative prosperity of the…
Read More

breadwinning

A new report from ippr, by Dalia Ben-Galim and Spencer Thomson, looks at how many women are now breadwinners.  The answer is, of course, many more than there used to be. Who counts as a 'breadwinner'?  The report defines it as someone who earns as much or more as their partner, or is the sole earner.    On this basis there are now 2.2 million female breadwinners, up by a million since 1996.  1 in 3 working women are now the breadwinner (don't forget, this includes a lot of single mums, 43% of whom are now employed). The definition covers a huge variety of circumstances.  It includes a solo working mother alongside…
Read More

why so little fiction on women at work?

I've been looking for examples from fiction to illustrate the  5 Paula Principle factors: discrimination; child/eldercare; psychology/self-confidence; vertical networks; and choice.  I've sought help from friends who are much better read than I am, and here's the curious thing:  it is quite easy to find examples from classics from C19 or earlier - but not from contemporary novels. An obvious example: in Middlemarch Dorothea's intellectual ability is put humiliatingly at Casaubon's service - she acts as his note-taker and amanuensis but does not dare to aspire to anything greater (though eventually the frustration bursts out, in a heart-rending scene).   Helpful friends pointed to various examples from Dickens, Austen etc.  I've found good…
Read More

Violins, hard work and training

I went last night to a Prom concert.  Bruch's violin concerto was played by  young Norwegian with the fine lupine name of Vilde Frang (having a half-Norwegian daughter entitles me to comment).  She was mightily impressive.        I was in the seats behind the orchestra, and as I watched her frizzed mane of hair vibrating to the music I     wondered how many of the younger breed of soloists, or just outstanding players, are women, and how far this varies by instrument.  Only one of the orchestra's double basses was a woman, for obvious reasons, and none of the percussionists.  For most of the strings, it was 50/50ish.   Whatever the…
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Vers l’égalité

Whilst on holiday I was interested to read in  the French papers that the minister for the rights of women, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, has just taken an outline law to parliament.    It  has a number of dimensions - parental leave, pension supplements, measures against violence against women - but particularly interesting for the Paula Principle is the intention to use quotas to boost the representation of women in the conseils d'administration of large companies and of public bodies such as sports federations, chambers of commerce and consultative bodies. These councils are advisory rather than decision-making bodies, but can be influential.  The minister proposes a quota of 40% of places to be…
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Whose flexibility?

I went recently to the launch of a Resolution Foundation report on zero hours contracts (ZHCs).  My daughter was on one of these for quite a while.  I think of a 'contract' as something struck between two or more agents with some degree of reciprocal obligation towards each other, however minimal and formal.  ZHCs don't look much like  that to me.  They vary, of course, but typically they involve the individual being at the organisation's disposal, at almost any time, with no reciprocity. The RF report, and other research by Jill Rubery focussing on domiciliary care workers, shows just how unbalanced the deal often is:  work which is very intermittent, so that…
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