Social mobility

Some familiar issues but also some progress over the last decade - these are the headlines from a useful new report by the Resolution Foundation for the Social Mobility Commission. The report looks at low pay over the last decade and beyond, dividing people into 3 main groups: the stuck (who have stayed throughout in low pay, i.e. below 2/3 of the median wage); cyclers, who have moved in and out of low pay;  and escapers, who have moved out of low pay and stayed there for at least the last 3 years. Stuck is obviously where you don't want to be.  The good news is that the proportion of…
Read More

Inferior

is a book by Angela Saini which certainly does not live down to its title. The sub-title is How Science Got Women Wrong....and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story, and it's an excellent, very accessible, account of the assumptions that lie behind much of the research on sex and gender differences. I speak with zero scientific authority, but the book seems to me to represent a very well-balanced approach to a range of issues that are often highly tendentious: differential brain size, the biological base of cooperative work, and domination, amongst others.  Saini never shouts, she just covers the ground, making it clear how our understanding has developed and where…
Read More

So the gap is growing…

International and national evidence  confirms that we cannot absolutely not assume continuing progress towards fair recognition of the value of women's competences. A recent blog by Laura Liswood drew my attention to the World Economic Forum's  Global Gender Gap Report for 2016.  This is a complex, massively informative operation - a treasure trove which sorts countries by regions and income levels, along four main dimensions: Education Health Economic participation Political empowerment. The overall conclusion starkly confirms the Paula Principle, at a global level: On average, the 144 countries covered in the Report have closed 96% of the gap in health outcomes between women and men, unchanged since last year, and more than…
Read More

Reports and misreports: the link is nursing

Two items, linked by nursing.  The first is a report in The Guardian that Anne Milton, the minister for women, has criticised Sir Philip Hampton for saying that the reason for the much-debated gender pay gap at the BBC is that women had "let it happen" by not doing enough asking.  Sir Philip is not just your run-of-the-mill businessman; he is leading an important review into the role of women in business, so his views matter. Ms Milton took exception to the remark, and rightly so.  Sir Philip's defence is that he was simply acknowledging differences in behaviour, but it was to say the least a careless phrase.  Ms Milton…
Read More

Women After All

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

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

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

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

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

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

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

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

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

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

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

Social mobility

Some familiar issues but also some progress over the last decade - these are the headlines from a useful new report by the Resolution Foundation for the Social Mobility Commission. The report looks at low pay over the last decade and beyond, dividing people into 3 main groups: the stuck (who have stayed throughout in low pay, i.e. below 2/3 of the median wage); cyclers, who have moved in and out of low pay;  and escapers, who have moved out of low pay and stayed there for at least the last 3 years. Stuck is obviously where you don't want to be.  The good news is that the proportion of…
Read More

Inferior

is a book by Angela Saini which certainly does not live down to its title. The sub-title is How Science Got Women Wrong....and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story, and it's an excellent, very accessible, account of the assumptions that lie behind much of the research on sex and gender differences. I speak with zero scientific authority, but the book seems to me to represent a very well-balanced approach to a range of issues that are often highly tendentious: differential brain size, the biological base of cooperative work, and domination, amongst others.  Saini never shouts, she just covers the ground, making it clear how our understanding has developed and where…
Read More

So the gap is growing…

International and national evidence  confirms that we cannot absolutely not assume continuing progress towards fair recognition of the value of women's competences. A recent blog by Laura Liswood drew my attention to the World Economic Forum's  Global Gender Gap Report for 2016.  This is a complex, massively informative operation - a treasure trove which sorts countries by regions and income levels, along four main dimensions: Education Health Economic participation Political empowerment. The overall conclusion starkly confirms the Paula Principle, at a global level: On average, the 144 countries covered in the Report have closed 96% of the gap in health outcomes between women and men, unchanged since last year, and more than…
Read More

Reports and misreports: the link is nursing

Two items, linked by nursing.  The first is a report in The Guardian that Anne Milton, the minister for women, has criticised Sir Philip Hampton for saying that the reason for the much-debated gender pay gap at the BBC is that women had "let it happen" by not doing enough asking.  Sir Philip is not just your run-of-the-mill businessman; he is leading an important review into the role of women in business, so his views matter. Ms Milton took exception to the remark, and rightly so.  Sir Philip's defence is that he was simply acknowledging differences in behaviour, but it was to say the least a careless phrase.  Ms Milton…
Read More

Women After All

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

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

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

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

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

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

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

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

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

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

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

Social mobility

Some familiar issues but also some progress over the last decade - these are the headlines from a useful new report by the Resolution Foundation for the Social Mobility Commission. The report looks at low pay over the last decade and beyond, dividing people into 3 main groups: the stuck (who have stayed throughout in low pay, i.e. below 2/3 of the median wage); cyclers, who have moved in and out of low pay;  and escapers, who have moved out of low pay and stayed there for at least the last 3 years. Stuck is obviously where you don't want to be.  The good news is that the proportion of…
Read More

Inferior

is a book by Angela Saini which certainly does not live down to its title. The sub-title is How Science Got Women Wrong....and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story, and it's an excellent, very accessible, account of the assumptions that lie behind much of the research on sex and gender differences. I speak with zero scientific authority, but the book seems to me to represent a very well-balanced approach to a range of issues that are often highly tendentious: differential brain size, the biological base of cooperative work, and domination, amongst others.  Saini never shouts, she just covers the ground, making it clear how our understanding has developed and where…
Read More

So the gap is growing…

International and national evidence  confirms that we cannot absolutely not assume continuing progress towards fair recognition of the value of women's competences. A recent blog by Laura Liswood drew my attention to the World Economic Forum's  Global Gender Gap Report for 2016.  This is a complex, massively informative operation - a treasure trove which sorts countries by regions and income levels, along four main dimensions: Education Health Economic participation Political empowerment. The overall conclusion starkly confirms the Paula Principle, at a global level: On average, the 144 countries covered in the Report have closed 96% of the gap in health outcomes between women and men, unchanged since last year, and more than…
Read More

Reports and misreports: the link is nursing

Two items, linked by nursing.  The first is a report in The Guardian that Anne Milton, the minister for women, has criticised Sir Philip Hampton for saying that the reason for the much-debated gender pay gap at the BBC is that women had "let it happen" by not doing enough asking.  Sir Philip is not just your run-of-the-mill businessman; he is leading an important review into the role of women in business, so his views matter. Ms Milton took exception to the remark, and rightly so.  Sir Philip's defence is that he was simply acknowledging differences in behaviour, but it was to say the least a careless phrase.  Ms Milton…
Read More

Women After All

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

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

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

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

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

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

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

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

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

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

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

Social mobility

Some familiar issues but also some progress over the last decade - these are the headlines from a useful new report by the Resolution Foundation for the Social Mobility Commission. The report looks at low pay over the last decade and beyond, dividing people into 3 main groups: the stuck (who have stayed throughout in low pay, i.e. below 2/3 of the median wage); cyclers, who have moved in and out of low pay;  and escapers, who have moved out of low pay and stayed there for at least the last 3 years. Stuck is obviously where you don't want to be.  The good news is that the proportion of…
Read More

Inferior

is a book by Angela Saini which certainly does not live down to its title. The sub-title is How Science Got Women Wrong....and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story, and it's an excellent, very accessible, account of the assumptions that lie behind much of the research on sex and gender differences. I speak with zero scientific authority, but the book seems to me to represent a very well-balanced approach to a range of issues that are often highly tendentious: differential brain size, the biological base of cooperative work, and domination, amongst others.  Saini never shouts, she just covers the ground, making it clear how our understanding has developed and where…
Read More

So the gap is growing…

International and national evidence  confirms that we cannot absolutely not assume continuing progress towards fair recognition of the value of women's competences. A recent blog by Laura Liswood drew my attention to the World Economic Forum's  Global Gender Gap Report for 2016.  This is a complex, massively informative operation - a treasure trove which sorts countries by regions and income levels, along four main dimensions: Education Health Economic participation Political empowerment. The overall conclusion starkly confirms the Paula Principle, at a global level: On average, the 144 countries covered in the Report have closed 96% of the gap in health outcomes between women and men, unchanged since last year, and more than…
Read More

Reports and misreports: the link is nursing

Two items, linked by nursing.  The first is a report in The Guardian that Anne Milton, the minister for women, has criticised Sir Philip Hampton for saying that the reason for the much-debated gender pay gap at the BBC is that women had "let it happen" by not doing enough asking.  Sir Philip is not just your run-of-the-mill businessman; he is leading an important review into the role of women in business, so his views matter. Ms Milton took exception to the remark, and rightly so.  Sir Philip's defence is that he was simply acknowledging differences in behaviour, but it was to say the least a careless phrase.  Ms Milton…
Read More

Women After All

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

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

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

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

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

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

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

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

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

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

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

Social mobility

Some familiar issues but also some progress over the last decade - these are the headlines from a useful new report by the Resolution Foundation for the Social Mobility Commission. The report looks at low pay over the last decade and beyond, dividing people into 3 main groups: the stuck (who have stayed throughout in low pay, i.e. below 2/3 of the median wage); cyclers, who have moved in and out of low pay;  and escapers, who have moved out of low pay and stayed there for at least the last 3 years. Stuck is obviously where you don't want to be.  The good news is that the proportion of…
Read More

Inferior

is a book by Angela Saini which certainly does not live down to its title. The sub-title is How Science Got Women Wrong....and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story, and it's an excellent, very accessible, account of the assumptions that lie behind much of the research on sex and gender differences. I speak with zero scientific authority, but the book seems to me to represent a very well-balanced approach to a range of issues that are often highly tendentious: differential brain size, the biological base of cooperative work, and domination, amongst others.  Saini never shouts, she just covers the ground, making it clear how our understanding has developed and where…
Read More

So the gap is growing…

International and national evidence  confirms that we cannot absolutely not assume continuing progress towards fair recognition of the value of women's competences. A recent blog by Laura Liswood drew my attention to the World Economic Forum's  Global Gender Gap Report for 2016.  This is a complex, massively informative operation - a treasure trove which sorts countries by regions and income levels, along four main dimensions: Education Health Economic participation Political empowerment. The overall conclusion starkly confirms the Paula Principle, at a global level: On average, the 144 countries covered in the Report have closed 96% of the gap in health outcomes between women and men, unchanged since last year, and more than…
Read More

Reports and misreports: the link is nursing

Two items, linked by nursing.  The first is a report in The Guardian that Anne Milton, the minister for women, has criticised Sir Philip Hampton for saying that the reason for the much-debated gender pay gap at the BBC is that women had "let it happen" by not doing enough asking.  Sir Philip is not just your run-of-the-mill businessman; he is leading an important review into the role of women in business, so his views matter. Ms Milton took exception to the remark, and rightly so.  Sir Philip's defence is that he was simply acknowledging differences in behaviour, but it was to say the least a careless phrase.  Ms Milton…
Read More

Women After All

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

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

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

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

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

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

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

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

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

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

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

Social mobility

Some familiar issues but also some progress over the last decade - these are the headlines from a useful new report by the Resolution Foundation for the Social Mobility Commission. The report looks at low pay over the last decade and beyond, dividing people into 3 main groups: the stuck (who have stayed throughout in low pay, i.e. below 2/3 of the median wage); cyclers, who have moved in and out of low pay;  and escapers, who have moved out of low pay and stayed there for at least the last 3 years. Stuck is obviously where you don't want to be.  The good news is that the proportion of…
Read More

Inferior

is a book by Angela Saini which certainly does not live down to its title. The sub-title is How Science Got Women Wrong....and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story, and it's an excellent, very accessible, account of the assumptions that lie behind much of the research on sex and gender differences. I speak with zero scientific authority, but the book seems to me to represent a very well-balanced approach to a range of issues that are often highly tendentious: differential brain size, the biological base of cooperative work, and domination, amongst others.  Saini never shouts, she just covers the ground, making it clear how our understanding has developed and where…
Read More

So the gap is growing…

International and national evidence  confirms that we cannot absolutely not assume continuing progress towards fair recognition of the value of women's competences. A recent blog by Laura Liswood drew my attention to the World Economic Forum's  Global Gender Gap Report for 2016.  This is a complex, massively informative operation - a treasure trove which sorts countries by regions and income levels, along four main dimensions: Education Health Economic participation Political empowerment. The overall conclusion starkly confirms the Paula Principle, at a global level: On average, the 144 countries covered in the Report have closed 96% of the gap in health outcomes between women and men, unchanged since last year, and more than…
Read More

Reports and misreports: the link is nursing

Two items, linked by nursing.  The first is a report in The Guardian that Anne Milton, the minister for women, has criticised Sir Philip Hampton for saying that the reason for the much-debated gender pay gap at the BBC is that women had "let it happen" by not doing enough asking.  Sir Philip is not just your run-of-the-mill businessman; he is leading an important review into the role of women in business, so his views matter. Ms Milton took exception to the remark, and rightly so.  Sir Philip's defence is that he was simply acknowledging differences in behaviour, but it was to say the least a careless phrase.  Ms Milton…
Read More

Women After All

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

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

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

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

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

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

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

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

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

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

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

Social mobility

Some familiar issues but also some progress over the last decade - these are the headlines from a useful new report by the Resolution Foundation for the Social Mobility Commission. The report looks at low pay over the last decade and beyond, dividing people into 3 main groups: the stuck (who have stayed throughout in low pay, i.e. below 2/3 of the median wage); cyclers, who have moved in and out of low pay;  and escapers, who have moved out of low pay and stayed there for at least the last 3 years. Stuck is obviously where you don't want to be.  The good news is that the proportion of…
Read More

Inferior

is a book by Angela Saini which certainly does not live down to its title. The sub-title is How Science Got Women Wrong....and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story, and it's an excellent, very accessible, account of the assumptions that lie behind much of the research on sex and gender differences. I speak with zero scientific authority, but the book seems to me to represent a very well-balanced approach to a range of issues that are often highly tendentious: differential brain size, the biological base of cooperative work, and domination, amongst others.  Saini never shouts, she just covers the ground, making it clear how our understanding has developed and where…
Read More

So the gap is growing…

International and national evidence  confirms that we cannot absolutely not assume continuing progress towards fair recognition of the value of women's competences. A recent blog by Laura Liswood drew my attention to the World Economic Forum's  Global Gender Gap Report for 2016.  This is a complex, massively informative operation - a treasure trove which sorts countries by regions and income levels, along four main dimensions: Education Health Economic participation Political empowerment. The overall conclusion starkly confirms the Paula Principle, at a global level: On average, the 144 countries covered in the Report have closed 96% of the gap in health outcomes between women and men, unchanged since last year, and more than…
Read More

Reports and misreports: the link is nursing

Two items, linked by nursing.  The first is a report in The Guardian that Anne Milton, the minister for women, has criticised Sir Philip Hampton for saying that the reason for the much-debated gender pay gap at the BBC is that women had "let it happen" by not doing enough asking.  Sir Philip is not just your run-of-the-mill businessman; he is leading an important review into the role of women in business, so his views matter. Ms Milton took exception to the remark, and rightly so.  Sir Philip's defence is that he was simply acknowledging differences in behaviour, but it was to say the least a careless phrase.  Ms Milton…
Read More

Women After All

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

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

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

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

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

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

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

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

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

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

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

Social mobility

Some familiar issues but also some progress over the last decade - these are the headlines from a useful new report by the Resolution Foundation for the Social Mobility Commission. The report looks at low pay over the last decade and beyond, dividing people into 3 main groups: the stuck (who have stayed throughout in low pay, i.e. below 2/3 of the median wage); cyclers, who have moved in and out of low pay;  and escapers, who have moved out of low pay and stayed there for at least the last 3 years. Stuck is obviously where you don't want to be.  The good news is that the proportion of…
Read More

Inferior

is a book by Angela Saini which certainly does not live down to its title. The sub-title is How Science Got Women Wrong....and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story, and it's an excellent, very accessible, account of the assumptions that lie behind much of the research on sex and gender differences. I speak with zero scientific authority, but the book seems to me to represent a very well-balanced approach to a range of issues that are often highly tendentious: differential brain size, the biological base of cooperative work, and domination, amongst others.  Saini never shouts, she just covers the ground, making it clear how our understanding has developed and where…
Read More

So the gap is growing…

International and national evidence  confirms that we cannot absolutely not assume continuing progress towards fair recognition of the value of women's competences. A recent blog by Laura Liswood drew my attention to the World Economic Forum's  Global Gender Gap Report for 2016.  This is a complex, massively informative operation - a treasure trove which sorts countries by regions and income levels, along four main dimensions: Education Health Economic participation Political empowerment. The overall conclusion starkly confirms the Paula Principle, at a global level: On average, the 144 countries covered in the Report have closed 96% of the gap in health outcomes between women and men, unchanged since last year, and more than…
Read More

Reports and misreports: the link is nursing

Two items, linked by nursing.  The first is a report in The Guardian that Anne Milton, the minister for women, has criticised Sir Philip Hampton for saying that the reason for the much-debated gender pay gap at the BBC is that women had "let it happen" by not doing enough asking.  Sir Philip is not just your run-of-the-mill businessman; he is leading an important review into the role of women in business, so his views matter. Ms Milton took exception to the remark, and rightly so.  Sir Philip's defence is that he was simply acknowledging differences in behaviour, but it was to say the least a careless phrase.  Ms Milton…
Read More

Women After All

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

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

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

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

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

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

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

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

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

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

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

Social mobility

Some familiar issues but also some progress over the last decade - these are the headlines from a useful new report by the Resolution Foundation for the Social Mobility Commission. The report looks at low pay over the last decade and beyond, dividing people into 3 main groups: the stuck (who have stayed throughout in low pay, i.e. below 2/3 of the median wage); cyclers, who have moved in and out of low pay;  and escapers, who have moved out of low pay and stayed there for at least the last 3 years. Stuck is obviously where you don't want to be.  The good news is that the proportion of…
Read More

Inferior

is a book by Angela Saini which certainly does not live down to its title. The sub-title is How Science Got Women Wrong....and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story, and it's an excellent, very accessible, account of the assumptions that lie behind much of the research on sex and gender differences. I speak with zero scientific authority, but the book seems to me to represent a very well-balanced approach to a range of issues that are often highly tendentious: differential brain size, the biological base of cooperative work, and domination, amongst others.  Saini never shouts, she just covers the ground, making it clear how our understanding has developed and where…
Read More

So the gap is growing…

International and national evidence  confirms that we cannot absolutely not assume continuing progress towards fair recognition of the value of women's competences. A recent blog by Laura Liswood drew my attention to the World Economic Forum's  Global Gender Gap Report for 2016.  This is a complex, massively informative operation - a treasure trove which sorts countries by regions and income levels, along four main dimensions: Education Health Economic participation Political empowerment. The overall conclusion starkly confirms the Paula Principle, at a global level: On average, the 144 countries covered in the Report have closed 96% of the gap in health outcomes between women and men, unchanged since last year, and more than…
Read More

Reports and misreports: the link is nursing

Two items, linked by nursing.  The first is a report in The Guardian that Anne Milton, the minister for women, has criticised Sir Philip Hampton for saying that the reason for the much-debated gender pay gap at the BBC is that women had "let it happen" by not doing enough asking.  Sir Philip is not just your run-of-the-mill businessman; he is leading an important review into the role of women in business, so his views matter. Ms Milton took exception to the remark, and rightly so.  Sir Philip's defence is that he was simply acknowledging differences in behaviour, but it was to say the least a careless phrase.  Ms Milton…
Read More

Women After All

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

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

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

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

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

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

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

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

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

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

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

Social mobility

Some familiar issues but also some progress over the last decade - these are the headlines from a useful new report by the Resolution Foundation for the Social Mobility Commission. The report looks at low pay over the last decade and beyond, dividing people into 3 main groups: the stuck (who have stayed throughout in low pay, i.e. below 2/3 of the median wage); cyclers, who have moved in and out of low pay;  and escapers, who have moved out of low pay and stayed there for at least the last 3 years. Stuck is obviously where you don't want to be.  The good news is that the proportion of…
Read More

Inferior

is a book by Angela Saini which certainly does not live down to its title. The sub-title is How Science Got Women Wrong....and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story, and it's an excellent, very accessible, account of the assumptions that lie behind much of the research on sex and gender differences. I speak with zero scientific authority, but the book seems to me to represent a very well-balanced approach to a range of issues that are often highly tendentious: differential brain size, the biological base of cooperative work, and domination, amongst others.  Saini never shouts, she just covers the ground, making it clear how our understanding has developed and where…
Read More

So the gap is growing…

International and national evidence  confirms that we cannot absolutely not assume continuing progress towards fair recognition of the value of women's competences. A recent blog by Laura Liswood drew my attention to the World Economic Forum's  Global Gender Gap Report for 2016.  This is a complex, massively informative operation - a treasure trove which sorts countries by regions and income levels, along four main dimensions: Education Health Economic participation Political empowerment. The overall conclusion starkly confirms the Paula Principle, at a global level: On average, the 144 countries covered in the Report have closed 96% of the gap in health outcomes between women and men, unchanged since last year, and more than…
Read More

Reports and misreports: the link is nursing

Two items, linked by nursing.  The first is a report in The Guardian that Anne Milton, the minister for women, has criticised Sir Philip Hampton for saying that the reason for the much-debated gender pay gap at the BBC is that women had "let it happen" by not doing enough asking.  Sir Philip is not just your run-of-the-mill businessman; he is leading an important review into the role of women in business, so his views matter. Ms Milton took exception to the remark, and rightly so.  Sir Philip's defence is that he was simply acknowledging differences in behaviour, but it was to say the least a careless phrase.  Ms Milton…
Read More

Women After All

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

The PP put into reverse – or is it?

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

Holiday reading 2,3 & 4: Being Wrong plus

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

Holiday Reading 1: City of Friends

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

Scottish Parliament on gender pay gap

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

Jo Swinson, reverse convergence and PP Factors 3 & 5

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