Violence and cranial feminisation

A slightly unusual title for a blog you might think.  I went last night to the Royal Institution to listen to Richard Wrangham talking about his new book The Goodness Paradox.  I won't even try to summarise the very rich lecture, which covered swathes of evolutionary thinking as well as graphic detail on the brutality of chimps. Richard draws a basic distinction between two types of violence:  proactive (premeditated, calculated) and reactive (spontaneous, sudden).  His basic thesis is that as humans we differ from other animals in being much less inclined to exhibit the latter.  Apparently we do only a thousandth of the 'scuffling' that chimps and even the more peaceful…
Read More

A Reskilling Revolution

We're at that point - it swings around about once a decade - when lifelong learning becomes something people seem to want to talk about as if it mattered.  One prompt for this in the UK is the centenary of the 1919 Report on Adult Education, on which Paul Stanistreet has written so powerfully.  A Commission chaired by Dame Helen Gosh (Master of Balliol College Oxford, whose predecessor in that role chaired the original) is looking at how we might use the date to generate some fresh impetus and thinking. Both of which, plus huge amounts of political effort, are needed if we are to turn around this country's extraordinary…
Read More

This little world – and Brexit

After over 200 posts, this is the first one that is not in the slightest related to the Paula Principle (unless a link occurs to me as I type).  Last night we went to the Almeida Theatre's production of Richard II, with Simon Russell Beale in the title role, and in a t-shirt like the rest of the cast. It's set in a bleak ferrous cube, and there's no escape - no-one leaves the stage and it's 100 minutes with no interval. By the end, buckets of blood have been sloshed around, as well as water to wash the dirt out of Richard's hair as he struggles to come to…
Read More

Chicken Behaviour and Collective Intelligence

I've just finished Robert Sapolsky's Behave: the biology of humans at our best and worst.  It's a massive book, covering the development of our brains and our behaviour from the moment of conception, set firmly in the context of long-run evolutionary trends.  The early parts were tough going for a scientific illiterate, notwithstanding Sapolsky's breezy humour,  but if you persevere there are huge numbers of plums in this rich pudding. Sapolsky's overall message is (and I quote), "It's complicated."   Life, development and behaviour are all a matter of a vast number of interactions that take place in a wide variety of contexts.  We may have learnt a lot, but at…
Read More

Speakers for schools, and caring

I do the occasional gig for Speakers for Schools.  This admirable organisation was started by Robert Peston. He kept being invited by private schools to give talks to their students, and felt that students in state schools should also have access to the kinds of insights that he and other public figures bring.  So SfS has built up a panel of people willing to go and talk at state schools, on whatever issues might help to enlarge students'  perspectives on life. I do not, of course, generate quite the buzz that I'm sure RP does, but I've enjoyed talking about the Paula Principle in a range of schools over the…
Read More

Working for free – a rugby player’s view

My eye was caught by a piece by Catherine Spencer in yesterday's Guardian.  Catherine is a former captain of the England women's rugby team, and author of a charmingly alliterative book Mud, Maul, Mascara.  She starts with the observation that men in the England rugby team are paid £25K per match, whilst their Japanese counterparts get barely enough to cover meagre subsistence costs. Catherine goes on to argue not against professional payments generally, but that the revenue generated by international matches should go back into the grassroots.  She says that it cannot be money that motivates people to want to play for their country - pointing out that the Japanese…
Read More

GPGs 1 and 2 – the gender pensions gap

One of the major implications of the Paula Principle is that it applies over the life course, so we need to estimate its effects over this full span.  GPG1 - the gender pay gap - leads inexorably to GPG2 - the gender pensions gap.  The gap is big, and it can last a very long time. I suppose technically a 'gap' requires men to be alive in order for their pensions to be compared with equivalent women, but women live longer and so even if their male peers are no longer there they suffer the effects of GPG2.  (I'm not ignoring the salience of differential longevities, but they aren't relevant…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

I went last night, as I often do on a Tuesday, to a gathering that is rapidly gaining a reputation as a North London institution - the Tufnell Park Film Club.  We sit in the upstairs room of the Lord Palmerston and watch a film, selected with the help of our two viddymasters, Nigel and Wayne. Last night's film was Autumn Sonata, Ingrid Bergman's last film, directed by her namesake Ingmar.  On the way there my friend Mark wondered just how bleak the film was going to be.  I had seen it some time ago, so risked an answer - wrongly so.  Seduced by the title, and the colouring of…
Read More

What does ‘closing the GPG’ actually mean?

I've been trying to get a handle on what kind of progress has been made in closing the gender pay gap, and this has led me to ask myself what 'closing the gap' actually means.  It seems to me that the obvious 'zero gap = equality = fairness' may disguise something important. The Paula Principle is about the due recognition of women's competences, and I'm mostly interested in career trajectories over time, ie what kinds of progression women make.  But pay is obviously the most available indicator, and the ONS has recently published some important data on trends over time on the GPG.  (By the way, I want to say 'chapeau'…
Read More

Collective intelligence

One of the of soft skills commonly touted as of growing importance for organisational success is the capacity to work successfully with others.  'Teamwork' is the most familiar label for this, but I think this sounds a little simplistic.  Brenda, one of my interviewees in The Paula Principle, put it this way: Women are interested in getting stuff done;  they hate game-playing and internal politicking; the only build networks if they see them as a genuine vehicle for getting things done, and not for personal advancement.  Their language is about 'we', about looking for complementary skills in a team, recognising that they themselves cannot do it all. I've just been reading Superminds by Thomas Malone.…
Read More

Violence and cranial feminisation

A slightly unusual title for a blog you might think.  I went last night to the Royal Institution to listen to Richard Wrangham talking about his new book The Goodness Paradox.  I won't even try to summarise the very rich lecture, which covered swathes of evolutionary thinking as well as graphic detail on the brutality of chimps. Richard draws a basic distinction between two types of violence:  proactive (premeditated, calculated) and reactive (spontaneous, sudden).  His basic thesis is that as humans we differ from other animals in being much less inclined to exhibit the latter.  Apparently we do only a thousandth of the 'scuffling' that chimps and even the more peaceful…
Read More

A Reskilling Revolution

We're at that point - it swings around about once a decade - when lifelong learning becomes something people seem to want to talk about as if it mattered.  One prompt for this in the UK is the centenary of the 1919 Report on Adult Education, on which Paul Stanistreet has written so powerfully.  A Commission chaired by Dame Helen Gosh (Master of Balliol College Oxford, whose predecessor in that role chaired the original) is looking at how we might use the date to generate some fresh impetus and thinking. Both of which, plus huge amounts of political effort, are needed if we are to turn around this country's extraordinary…
Read More

This little world – and Brexit

After over 200 posts, this is the first one that is not in the slightest related to the Paula Principle (unless a link occurs to me as I type).  Last night we went to the Almeida Theatre's production of Richard II, with Simon Russell Beale in the title role, and in a t-shirt like the rest of the cast. It's set in a bleak ferrous cube, and there's no escape - no-one leaves the stage and it's 100 minutes with no interval. By the end, buckets of blood have been sloshed around, as well as water to wash the dirt out of Richard's hair as he struggles to come to…
Read More

Chicken Behaviour and Collective Intelligence

I've just finished Robert Sapolsky's Behave: the biology of humans at our best and worst.  It's a massive book, covering the development of our brains and our behaviour from the moment of conception, set firmly in the context of long-run evolutionary trends.  The early parts were tough going for a scientific illiterate, notwithstanding Sapolsky's breezy humour,  but if you persevere there are huge numbers of plums in this rich pudding. Sapolsky's overall message is (and I quote), "It's complicated."   Life, development and behaviour are all a matter of a vast number of interactions that take place in a wide variety of contexts.  We may have learnt a lot, but at…
Read More

Speakers for schools, and caring

I do the occasional gig for Speakers for Schools.  This admirable organisation was started by Robert Peston. He kept being invited by private schools to give talks to their students, and felt that students in state schools should also have access to the kinds of insights that he and other public figures bring.  So SfS has built up a panel of people willing to go and talk at state schools, on whatever issues might help to enlarge students'  perspectives on life. I do not, of course, generate quite the buzz that I'm sure RP does, but I've enjoyed talking about the Paula Principle in a range of schools over the…
Read More

Working for free – a rugby player’s view

My eye was caught by a piece by Catherine Spencer in yesterday's Guardian.  Catherine is a former captain of the England women's rugby team, and author of a charmingly alliterative book Mud, Maul, Mascara.  She starts with the observation that men in the England rugby team are paid £25K per match, whilst their Japanese counterparts get barely enough to cover meagre subsistence costs. Catherine goes on to argue not against professional payments generally, but that the revenue generated by international matches should go back into the grassroots.  She says that it cannot be money that motivates people to want to play for their country - pointing out that the Japanese…
Read More

GPGs 1 and 2 – the gender pensions gap

One of the major implications of the Paula Principle is that it applies over the life course, so we need to estimate its effects over this full span.  GPG1 - the gender pay gap - leads inexorably to GPG2 - the gender pensions gap.  The gap is big, and it can last a very long time. I suppose technically a 'gap' requires men to be alive in order for their pensions to be compared with equivalent women, but women live longer and so even if their male peers are no longer there they suffer the effects of GPG2.  (I'm not ignoring the salience of differential longevities, but they aren't relevant…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

I went last night, as I often do on a Tuesday, to a gathering that is rapidly gaining a reputation as a North London institution - the Tufnell Park Film Club.  We sit in the upstairs room of the Lord Palmerston and watch a film, selected with the help of our two viddymasters, Nigel and Wayne. Last night's film was Autumn Sonata, Ingrid Bergman's last film, directed by her namesake Ingmar.  On the way there my friend Mark wondered just how bleak the film was going to be.  I had seen it some time ago, so risked an answer - wrongly so.  Seduced by the title, and the colouring of…
Read More

What does ‘closing the GPG’ actually mean?

I've been trying to get a handle on what kind of progress has been made in closing the gender pay gap, and this has led me to ask myself what 'closing the gap' actually means.  It seems to me that the obvious 'zero gap = equality = fairness' may disguise something important. The Paula Principle is about the due recognition of women's competences, and I'm mostly interested in career trajectories over time, ie what kinds of progression women make.  But pay is obviously the most available indicator, and the ONS has recently published some important data on trends over time on the GPG.  (By the way, I want to say 'chapeau'…
Read More

Collective intelligence

One of the of soft skills commonly touted as of growing importance for organisational success is the capacity to work successfully with others.  'Teamwork' is the most familiar label for this, but I think this sounds a little simplistic.  Brenda, one of my interviewees in The Paula Principle, put it this way: Women are interested in getting stuff done;  they hate game-playing and internal politicking; the only build networks if they see them as a genuine vehicle for getting things done, and not for personal advancement.  Their language is about 'we', about looking for complementary skills in a team, recognising that they themselves cannot do it all. I've just been reading Superminds by Thomas Malone.…
Read More

Violence and cranial feminisation

A slightly unusual title for a blog you might think.  I went last night to the Royal Institution to listen to Richard Wrangham talking about his new book The Goodness Paradox.  I won't even try to summarise the very rich lecture, which covered swathes of evolutionary thinking as well as graphic detail on the brutality of chimps. Richard draws a basic distinction between two types of violence:  proactive (premeditated, calculated) and reactive (spontaneous, sudden).  His basic thesis is that as humans we differ from other animals in being much less inclined to exhibit the latter.  Apparently we do only a thousandth of the 'scuffling' that chimps and even the more peaceful…
Read More

A Reskilling Revolution

We're at that point - it swings around about once a decade - when lifelong learning becomes something people seem to want to talk about as if it mattered.  One prompt for this in the UK is the centenary of the 1919 Report on Adult Education, on which Paul Stanistreet has written so powerfully.  A Commission chaired by Dame Helen Gosh (Master of Balliol College Oxford, whose predecessor in that role chaired the original) is looking at how we might use the date to generate some fresh impetus and thinking. Both of which, plus huge amounts of political effort, are needed if we are to turn around this country's extraordinary…
Read More

This little world – and Brexit

After over 200 posts, this is the first one that is not in the slightest related to the Paula Principle (unless a link occurs to me as I type).  Last night we went to the Almeida Theatre's production of Richard II, with Simon Russell Beale in the title role, and in a t-shirt like the rest of the cast. It's set in a bleak ferrous cube, and there's no escape - no-one leaves the stage and it's 100 minutes with no interval. By the end, buckets of blood have been sloshed around, as well as water to wash the dirt out of Richard's hair as he struggles to come to…
Read More

Chicken Behaviour and Collective Intelligence

I've just finished Robert Sapolsky's Behave: the biology of humans at our best and worst.  It's a massive book, covering the development of our brains and our behaviour from the moment of conception, set firmly in the context of long-run evolutionary trends.  The early parts were tough going for a scientific illiterate, notwithstanding Sapolsky's breezy humour,  but if you persevere there are huge numbers of plums in this rich pudding. Sapolsky's overall message is (and I quote), "It's complicated."   Life, development and behaviour are all a matter of a vast number of interactions that take place in a wide variety of contexts.  We may have learnt a lot, but at…
Read More

Speakers for schools, and caring

I do the occasional gig for Speakers for Schools.  This admirable organisation was started by Robert Peston. He kept being invited by private schools to give talks to their students, and felt that students in state schools should also have access to the kinds of insights that he and other public figures bring.  So SfS has built up a panel of people willing to go and talk at state schools, on whatever issues might help to enlarge students'  perspectives on life. I do not, of course, generate quite the buzz that I'm sure RP does, but I've enjoyed talking about the Paula Principle in a range of schools over the…
Read More

Working for free – a rugby player’s view

My eye was caught by a piece by Catherine Spencer in yesterday's Guardian.  Catherine is a former captain of the England women's rugby team, and author of a charmingly alliterative book Mud, Maul, Mascara.  She starts with the observation that men in the England rugby team are paid £25K per match, whilst their Japanese counterparts get barely enough to cover meagre subsistence costs. Catherine goes on to argue not against professional payments generally, but that the revenue generated by international matches should go back into the grassroots.  She says that it cannot be money that motivates people to want to play for their country - pointing out that the Japanese…
Read More

GPGs 1 and 2 – the gender pensions gap

One of the major implications of the Paula Principle is that it applies over the life course, so we need to estimate its effects over this full span.  GPG1 - the gender pay gap - leads inexorably to GPG2 - the gender pensions gap.  The gap is big, and it can last a very long time. I suppose technically a 'gap' requires men to be alive in order for their pensions to be compared with equivalent women, but women live longer and so even if their male peers are no longer there they suffer the effects of GPG2.  (I'm not ignoring the salience of differential longevities, but they aren't relevant…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

I went last night, as I often do on a Tuesday, to a gathering that is rapidly gaining a reputation as a North London institution - the Tufnell Park Film Club.  We sit in the upstairs room of the Lord Palmerston and watch a film, selected with the help of our two viddymasters, Nigel and Wayne. Last night's film was Autumn Sonata, Ingrid Bergman's last film, directed by her namesake Ingmar.  On the way there my friend Mark wondered just how bleak the film was going to be.  I had seen it some time ago, so risked an answer - wrongly so.  Seduced by the title, and the colouring of…
Read More

What does ‘closing the GPG’ actually mean?

I've been trying to get a handle on what kind of progress has been made in closing the gender pay gap, and this has led me to ask myself what 'closing the gap' actually means.  It seems to me that the obvious 'zero gap = equality = fairness' may disguise something important. The Paula Principle is about the due recognition of women's competences, and I'm mostly interested in career trajectories over time, ie what kinds of progression women make.  But pay is obviously the most available indicator, and the ONS has recently published some important data on trends over time on the GPG.  (By the way, I want to say 'chapeau'…
Read More

Collective intelligence

One of the of soft skills commonly touted as of growing importance for organisational success is the capacity to work successfully with others.  'Teamwork' is the most familiar label for this, but I think this sounds a little simplistic.  Brenda, one of my interviewees in The Paula Principle, put it this way: Women are interested in getting stuff done;  they hate game-playing and internal politicking; the only build networks if they see them as a genuine vehicle for getting things done, and not for personal advancement.  Their language is about 'we', about looking for complementary skills in a team, recognising that they themselves cannot do it all. I've just been reading Superminds by Thomas Malone.…
Read More

Violence and cranial feminisation

A slightly unusual title for a blog you might think.  I went last night to the Royal Institution to listen to Richard Wrangham talking about his new book The Goodness Paradox.  I won't even try to summarise the very rich lecture, which covered swathes of evolutionary thinking as well as graphic detail on the brutality of chimps. Richard draws a basic distinction between two types of violence:  proactive (premeditated, calculated) and reactive (spontaneous, sudden).  His basic thesis is that as humans we differ from other animals in being much less inclined to exhibit the latter.  Apparently we do only a thousandth of the 'scuffling' that chimps and even the more peaceful…
Read More

A Reskilling Revolution

We're at that point - it swings around about once a decade - when lifelong learning becomes something people seem to want to talk about as if it mattered.  One prompt for this in the UK is the centenary of the 1919 Report on Adult Education, on which Paul Stanistreet has written so powerfully.  A Commission chaired by Dame Helen Gosh (Master of Balliol College Oxford, whose predecessor in that role chaired the original) is looking at how we might use the date to generate some fresh impetus and thinking. Both of which, plus huge amounts of political effort, are needed if we are to turn around this country's extraordinary…
Read More

This little world – and Brexit

After over 200 posts, this is the first one that is not in the slightest related to the Paula Principle (unless a link occurs to me as I type).  Last night we went to the Almeida Theatre's production of Richard II, with Simon Russell Beale in the title role, and in a t-shirt like the rest of the cast. It's set in a bleak ferrous cube, and there's no escape - no-one leaves the stage and it's 100 minutes with no interval. By the end, buckets of blood have been sloshed around, as well as water to wash the dirt out of Richard's hair as he struggles to come to…
Read More

Chicken Behaviour and Collective Intelligence

I've just finished Robert Sapolsky's Behave: the biology of humans at our best and worst.  It's a massive book, covering the development of our brains and our behaviour from the moment of conception, set firmly in the context of long-run evolutionary trends.  The early parts were tough going for a scientific illiterate, notwithstanding Sapolsky's breezy humour,  but if you persevere there are huge numbers of plums in this rich pudding. Sapolsky's overall message is (and I quote), "It's complicated."   Life, development and behaviour are all a matter of a vast number of interactions that take place in a wide variety of contexts.  We may have learnt a lot, but at…
Read More

Speakers for schools, and caring

I do the occasional gig for Speakers for Schools.  This admirable organisation was started by Robert Peston. He kept being invited by private schools to give talks to their students, and felt that students in state schools should also have access to the kinds of insights that he and other public figures bring.  So SfS has built up a panel of people willing to go and talk at state schools, on whatever issues might help to enlarge students'  perspectives on life. I do not, of course, generate quite the buzz that I'm sure RP does, but I've enjoyed talking about the Paula Principle in a range of schools over the…
Read More

Working for free – a rugby player’s view

My eye was caught by a piece by Catherine Spencer in yesterday's Guardian.  Catherine is a former captain of the England women's rugby team, and author of a charmingly alliterative book Mud, Maul, Mascara.  She starts with the observation that men in the England rugby team are paid £25K per match, whilst their Japanese counterparts get barely enough to cover meagre subsistence costs. Catherine goes on to argue not against professional payments generally, but that the revenue generated by international matches should go back into the grassroots.  She says that it cannot be money that motivates people to want to play for their country - pointing out that the Japanese…
Read More

GPGs 1 and 2 – the gender pensions gap

One of the major implications of the Paula Principle is that it applies over the life course, so we need to estimate its effects over this full span.  GPG1 - the gender pay gap - leads inexorably to GPG2 - the gender pensions gap.  The gap is big, and it can last a very long time. I suppose technically a 'gap' requires men to be alive in order for their pensions to be compared with equivalent women, but women live longer and so even if their male peers are no longer there they suffer the effects of GPG2.  (I'm not ignoring the salience of differential longevities, but they aren't relevant…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

I went last night, as I often do on a Tuesday, to a gathering that is rapidly gaining a reputation as a North London institution - the Tufnell Park Film Club.  We sit in the upstairs room of the Lord Palmerston and watch a film, selected with the help of our two viddymasters, Nigel and Wayne. Last night's film was Autumn Sonata, Ingrid Bergman's last film, directed by her namesake Ingmar.  On the way there my friend Mark wondered just how bleak the film was going to be.  I had seen it some time ago, so risked an answer - wrongly so.  Seduced by the title, and the colouring of…
Read More

What does ‘closing the GPG’ actually mean?

I've been trying to get a handle on what kind of progress has been made in closing the gender pay gap, and this has led me to ask myself what 'closing the gap' actually means.  It seems to me that the obvious 'zero gap = equality = fairness' may disguise something important. The Paula Principle is about the due recognition of women's competences, and I'm mostly interested in career trajectories over time, ie what kinds of progression women make.  But pay is obviously the most available indicator, and the ONS has recently published some important data on trends over time on the GPG.  (By the way, I want to say 'chapeau'…
Read More

Collective intelligence

One of the of soft skills commonly touted as of growing importance for organisational success is the capacity to work successfully with others.  'Teamwork' is the most familiar label for this, but I think this sounds a little simplistic.  Brenda, one of my interviewees in The Paula Principle, put it this way: Women are interested in getting stuff done;  they hate game-playing and internal politicking; the only build networks if they see them as a genuine vehicle for getting things done, and not for personal advancement.  Their language is about 'we', about looking for complementary skills in a team, recognising that they themselves cannot do it all. I've just been reading Superminds by Thomas Malone.…
Read More

Violence and cranial feminisation

A slightly unusual title for a blog you might think.  I went last night to the Royal Institution to listen to Richard Wrangham talking about his new book The Goodness Paradox.  I won't even try to summarise the very rich lecture, which covered swathes of evolutionary thinking as well as graphic detail on the brutality of chimps. Richard draws a basic distinction between two types of violence:  proactive (premeditated, calculated) and reactive (spontaneous, sudden).  His basic thesis is that as humans we differ from other animals in being much less inclined to exhibit the latter.  Apparently we do only a thousandth of the 'scuffling' that chimps and even the more peaceful…
Read More

A Reskilling Revolution

We're at that point - it swings around about once a decade - when lifelong learning becomes something people seem to want to talk about as if it mattered.  One prompt for this in the UK is the centenary of the 1919 Report on Adult Education, on which Paul Stanistreet has written so powerfully.  A Commission chaired by Dame Helen Gosh (Master of Balliol College Oxford, whose predecessor in that role chaired the original) is looking at how we might use the date to generate some fresh impetus and thinking. Both of which, plus huge amounts of political effort, are needed if we are to turn around this country's extraordinary…
Read More

This little world – and Brexit

After over 200 posts, this is the first one that is not in the slightest related to the Paula Principle (unless a link occurs to me as I type).  Last night we went to the Almeida Theatre's production of Richard II, with Simon Russell Beale in the title role, and in a t-shirt like the rest of the cast. It's set in a bleak ferrous cube, and there's no escape - no-one leaves the stage and it's 100 minutes with no interval. By the end, buckets of blood have been sloshed around, as well as water to wash the dirt out of Richard's hair as he struggles to come to…
Read More

Chicken Behaviour and Collective Intelligence

I've just finished Robert Sapolsky's Behave: the biology of humans at our best and worst.  It's a massive book, covering the development of our brains and our behaviour from the moment of conception, set firmly in the context of long-run evolutionary trends.  The early parts were tough going for a scientific illiterate, notwithstanding Sapolsky's breezy humour,  but if you persevere there are huge numbers of plums in this rich pudding. Sapolsky's overall message is (and I quote), "It's complicated."   Life, development and behaviour are all a matter of a vast number of interactions that take place in a wide variety of contexts.  We may have learnt a lot, but at…
Read More

Speakers for schools, and caring

I do the occasional gig for Speakers for Schools.  This admirable organisation was started by Robert Peston. He kept being invited by private schools to give talks to their students, and felt that students in state schools should also have access to the kinds of insights that he and other public figures bring.  So SfS has built up a panel of people willing to go and talk at state schools, on whatever issues might help to enlarge students'  perspectives on life. I do not, of course, generate quite the buzz that I'm sure RP does, but I've enjoyed talking about the Paula Principle in a range of schools over the…
Read More

Working for free – a rugby player’s view

My eye was caught by a piece by Catherine Spencer in yesterday's Guardian.  Catherine is a former captain of the England women's rugby team, and author of a charmingly alliterative book Mud, Maul, Mascara.  She starts with the observation that men in the England rugby team are paid £25K per match, whilst their Japanese counterparts get barely enough to cover meagre subsistence costs. Catherine goes on to argue not against professional payments generally, but that the revenue generated by international matches should go back into the grassroots.  She says that it cannot be money that motivates people to want to play for their country - pointing out that the Japanese…
Read More

GPGs 1 and 2 – the gender pensions gap

One of the major implications of the Paula Principle is that it applies over the life course, so we need to estimate its effects over this full span.  GPG1 - the gender pay gap - leads inexorably to GPG2 - the gender pensions gap.  The gap is big, and it can last a very long time. I suppose technically a 'gap' requires men to be alive in order for their pensions to be compared with equivalent women, but women live longer and so even if their male peers are no longer there they suffer the effects of GPG2.  (I'm not ignoring the salience of differential longevities, but they aren't relevant…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

I went last night, as I often do on a Tuesday, to a gathering that is rapidly gaining a reputation as a North London institution - the Tufnell Park Film Club.  We sit in the upstairs room of the Lord Palmerston and watch a film, selected with the help of our two viddymasters, Nigel and Wayne. Last night's film was Autumn Sonata, Ingrid Bergman's last film, directed by her namesake Ingmar.  On the way there my friend Mark wondered just how bleak the film was going to be.  I had seen it some time ago, so risked an answer - wrongly so.  Seduced by the title, and the colouring of…
Read More

What does ‘closing the GPG’ actually mean?

I've been trying to get a handle on what kind of progress has been made in closing the gender pay gap, and this has led me to ask myself what 'closing the gap' actually means.  It seems to me that the obvious 'zero gap = equality = fairness' may disguise something important. The Paula Principle is about the due recognition of women's competences, and I'm mostly interested in career trajectories over time, ie what kinds of progression women make.  But pay is obviously the most available indicator, and the ONS has recently published some important data on trends over time on the GPG.  (By the way, I want to say 'chapeau'…
Read More

Collective intelligence

One of the of soft skills commonly touted as of growing importance for organisational success is the capacity to work successfully with others.  'Teamwork' is the most familiar label for this, but I think this sounds a little simplistic.  Brenda, one of my interviewees in The Paula Principle, put it this way: Women are interested in getting stuff done;  they hate game-playing and internal politicking; the only build networks if they see them as a genuine vehicle for getting things done, and not for personal advancement.  Their language is about 'we', about looking for complementary skills in a team, recognising that they themselves cannot do it all. I've just been reading Superminds by Thomas Malone.…
Read More

Violence and cranial feminisation

A slightly unusual title for a blog you might think.  I went last night to the Royal Institution to listen to Richard Wrangham talking about his new book The Goodness Paradox.  I won't even try to summarise the very rich lecture, which covered swathes of evolutionary thinking as well as graphic detail on the brutality of chimps. Richard draws a basic distinction between two types of violence:  proactive (premeditated, calculated) and reactive (spontaneous, sudden).  His basic thesis is that as humans we differ from other animals in being much less inclined to exhibit the latter.  Apparently we do only a thousandth of the 'scuffling' that chimps and even the more peaceful…
Read More

A Reskilling Revolution

We're at that point - it swings around about once a decade - when lifelong learning becomes something people seem to want to talk about as if it mattered.  One prompt for this in the UK is the centenary of the 1919 Report on Adult Education, on which Paul Stanistreet has written so powerfully.  A Commission chaired by Dame Helen Gosh (Master of Balliol College Oxford, whose predecessor in that role chaired the original) is looking at how we might use the date to generate some fresh impetus and thinking. Both of which, plus huge amounts of political effort, are needed if we are to turn around this country's extraordinary…
Read More

This little world – and Brexit

After over 200 posts, this is the first one that is not in the slightest related to the Paula Principle (unless a link occurs to me as I type).  Last night we went to the Almeida Theatre's production of Richard II, with Simon Russell Beale in the title role, and in a t-shirt like the rest of the cast. It's set in a bleak ferrous cube, and there's no escape - no-one leaves the stage and it's 100 minutes with no interval. By the end, buckets of blood have been sloshed around, as well as water to wash the dirt out of Richard's hair as he struggles to come to…
Read More

Chicken Behaviour and Collective Intelligence

I've just finished Robert Sapolsky's Behave: the biology of humans at our best and worst.  It's a massive book, covering the development of our brains and our behaviour from the moment of conception, set firmly in the context of long-run evolutionary trends.  The early parts were tough going for a scientific illiterate, notwithstanding Sapolsky's breezy humour,  but if you persevere there are huge numbers of plums in this rich pudding. Sapolsky's overall message is (and I quote), "It's complicated."   Life, development and behaviour are all a matter of a vast number of interactions that take place in a wide variety of contexts.  We may have learnt a lot, but at…
Read More

Speakers for schools, and caring

I do the occasional gig for Speakers for Schools.  This admirable organisation was started by Robert Peston. He kept being invited by private schools to give talks to their students, and felt that students in state schools should also have access to the kinds of insights that he and other public figures bring.  So SfS has built up a panel of people willing to go and talk at state schools, on whatever issues might help to enlarge students'  perspectives on life. I do not, of course, generate quite the buzz that I'm sure RP does, but I've enjoyed talking about the Paula Principle in a range of schools over the…
Read More

Working for free – a rugby player’s view

My eye was caught by a piece by Catherine Spencer in yesterday's Guardian.  Catherine is a former captain of the England women's rugby team, and author of a charmingly alliterative book Mud, Maul, Mascara.  She starts with the observation that men in the England rugby team are paid £25K per match, whilst their Japanese counterparts get barely enough to cover meagre subsistence costs. Catherine goes on to argue not against professional payments generally, but that the revenue generated by international matches should go back into the grassroots.  She says that it cannot be money that motivates people to want to play for their country - pointing out that the Japanese…
Read More

GPGs 1 and 2 – the gender pensions gap

One of the major implications of the Paula Principle is that it applies over the life course, so we need to estimate its effects over this full span.  GPG1 - the gender pay gap - leads inexorably to GPG2 - the gender pensions gap.  The gap is big, and it can last a very long time. I suppose technically a 'gap' requires men to be alive in order for their pensions to be compared with equivalent women, but women live longer and so even if their male peers are no longer there they suffer the effects of GPG2.  (I'm not ignoring the salience of differential longevities, but they aren't relevant…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

I went last night, as I often do on a Tuesday, to a gathering that is rapidly gaining a reputation as a North London institution - the Tufnell Park Film Club.  We sit in the upstairs room of the Lord Palmerston and watch a film, selected with the help of our two viddymasters, Nigel and Wayne. Last night's film was Autumn Sonata, Ingrid Bergman's last film, directed by her namesake Ingmar.  On the way there my friend Mark wondered just how bleak the film was going to be.  I had seen it some time ago, so risked an answer - wrongly so.  Seduced by the title, and the colouring of…
Read More

What does ‘closing the GPG’ actually mean?

I've been trying to get a handle on what kind of progress has been made in closing the gender pay gap, and this has led me to ask myself what 'closing the gap' actually means.  It seems to me that the obvious 'zero gap = equality = fairness' may disguise something important. The Paula Principle is about the due recognition of women's competences, and I'm mostly interested in career trajectories over time, ie what kinds of progression women make.  But pay is obviously the most available indicator, and the ONS has recently published some important data on trends over time on the GPG.  (By the way, I want to say 'chapeau'…
Read More

Collective intelligence

One of the of soft skills commonly touted as of growing importance for organisational success is the capacity to work successfully with others.  'Teamwork' is the most familiar label for this, but I think this sounds a little simplistic.  Brenda, one of my interviewees in The Paula Principle, put it this way: Women are interested in getting stuff done;  they hate game-playing and internal politicking; the only build networks if they see them as a genuine vehicle for getting things done, and not for personal advancement.  Their language is about 'we', about looking for complementary skills in a team, recognising that they themselves cannot do it all. I've just been reading Superminds by Thomas Malone.…
Read More

Violence and cranial feminisation

A slightly unusual title for a blog you might think.  I went last night to the Royal Institution to listen to Richard Wrangham talking about his new book The Goodness Paradox.  I won't even try to summarise the very rich lecture, which covered swathes of evolutionary thinking as well as graphic detail on the brutality of chimps. Richard draws a basic distinction between two types of violence:  proactive (premeditated, calculated) and reactive (spontaneous, sudden).  His basic thesis is that as humans we differ from other animals in being much less inclined to exhibit the latter.  Apparently we do only a thousandth of the 'scuffling' that chimps and even the more peaceful…
Read More

A Reskilling Revolution

We're at that point - it swings around about once a decade - when lifelong learning becomes something people seem to want to talk about as if it mattered.  One prompt for this in the UK is the centenary of the 1919 Report on Adult Education, on which Paul Stanistreet has written so powerfully.  A Commission chaired by Dame Helen Gosh (Master of Balliol College Oxford, whose predecessor in that role chaired the original) is looking at how we might use the date to generate some fresh impetus and thinking. Both of which, plus huge amounts of political effort, are needed if we are to turn around this country's extraordinary…
Read More

This little world – and Brexit

After over 200 posts, this is the first one that is not in the slightest related to the Paula Principle (unless a link occurs to me as I type).  Last night we went to the Almeida Theatre's production of Richard II, with Simon Russell Beale in the title role, and in a t-shirt like the rest of the cast. It's set in a bleak ferrous cube, and there's no escape - no-one leaves the stage and it's 100 minutes with no interval. By the end, buckets of blood have been sloshed around, as well as water to wash the dirt out of Richard's hair as he struggles to come to…
Read More

Chicken Behaviour and Collective Intelligence

I've just finished Robert Sapolsky's Behave: the biology of humans at our best and worst.  It's a massive book, covering the development of our brains and our behaviour from the moment of conception, set firmly in the context of long-run evolutionary trends.  The early parts were tough going for a scientific illiterate, notwithstanding Sapolsky's breezy humour,  but if you persevere there are huge numbers of plums in this rich pudding. Sapolsky's overall message is (and I quote), "It's complicated."   Life, development and behaviour are all a matter of a vast number of interactions that take place in a wide variety of contexts.  We may have learnt a lot, but at…
Read More

Speakers for schools, and caring

I do the occasional gig for Speakers for Schools.  This admirable organisation was started by Robert Peston. He kept being invited by private schools to give talks to their students, and felt that students in state schools should also have access to the kinds of insights that he and other public figures bring.  So SfS has built up a panel of people willing to go and talk at state schools, on whatever issues might help to enlarge students'  perspectives on life. I do not, of course, generate quite the buzz that I'm sure RP does, but I've enjoyed talking about the Paula Principle in a range of schools over the…
Read More

Working for free – a rugby player’s view

My eye was caught by a piece by Catherine Spencer in yesterday's Guardian.  Catherine is a former captain of the England women's rugby team, and author of a charmingly alliterative book Mud, Maul, Mascara.  She starts with the observation that men in the England rugby team are paid £25K per match, whilst their Japanese counterparts get barely enough to cover meagre subsistence costs. Catherine goes on to argue not against professional payments generally, but that the revenue generated by international matches should go back into the grassroots.  She says that it cannot be money that motivates people to want to play for their country - pointing out that the Japanese…
Read More

GPGs 1 and 2 – the gender pensions gap

One of the major implications of the Paula Principle is that it applies over the life course, so we need to estimate its effects over this full span.  GPG1 - the gender pay gap - leads inexorably to GPG2 - the gender pensions gap.  The gap is big, and it can last a very long time. I suppose technically a 'gap' requires men to be alive in order for their pensions to be compared with equivalent women, but women live longer and so even if their male peers are no longer there they suffer the effects of GPG2.  (I'm not ignoring the salience of differential longevities, but they aren't relevant…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

I went last night, as I often do on a Tuesday, to a gathering that is rapidly gaining a reputation as a North London institution - the Tufnell Park Film Club.  We sit in the upstairs room of the Lord Palmerston and watch a film, selected with the help of our two viddymasters, Nigel and Wayne. Last night's film was Autumn Sonata, Ingrid Bergman's last film, directed by her namesake Ingmar.  On the way there my friend Mark wondered just how bleak the film was going to be.  I had seen it some time ago, so risked an answer - wrongly so.  Seduced by the title, and the colouring of…
Read More

What does ‘closing the GPG’ actually mean?

I've been trying to get a handle on what kind of progress has been made in closing the gender pay gap, and this has led me to ask myself what 'closing the gap' actually means.  It seems to me that the obvious 'zero gap = equality = fairness' may disguise something important. The Paula Principle is about the due recognition of women's competences, and I'm mostly interested in career trajectories over time, ie what kinds of progression women make.  But pay is obviously the most available indicator, and the ONS has recently published some important data on trends over time on the GPG.  (By the way, I want to say 'chapeau'…
Read More

Collective intelligence

One of the of soft skills commonly touted as of growing importance for organisational success is the capacity to work successfully with others.  'Teamwork' is the most familiar label for this, but I think this sounds a little simplistic.  Brenda, one of my interviewees in The Paula Principle, put it this way: Women are interested in getting stuff done;  they hate game-playing and internal politicking; the only build networks if they see them as a genuine vehicle for getting things done, and not for personal advancement.  Their language is about 'we', about looking for complementary skills in a team, recognising that they themselves cannot do it all. I've just been reading Superminds by Thomas Malone.…
Read More

Violence and cranial feminisation

A slightly unusual title for a blog you might think.  I went last night to the Royal Institution to listen to Richard Wrangham talking about his new book The Goodness Paradox.  I won't even try to summarise the very rich lecture, which covered swathes of evolutionary thinking as well as graphic detail on the brutality of chimps. Richard draws a basic distinction between two types of violence:  proactive (premeditated, calculated) and reactive (spontaneous, sudden).  His basic thesis is that as humans we differ from other animals in being much less inclined to exhibit the latter.  Apparently we do only a thousandth of the 'scuffling' that chimps and even the more peaceful…
Read More

A Reskilling Revolution

We're at that point - it swings around about once a decade - when lifelong learning becomes something people seem to want to talk about as if it mattered.  One prompt for this in the UK is the centenary of the 1919 Report on Adult Education, on which Paul Stanistreet has written so powerfully.  A Commission chaired by Dame Helen Gosh (Master of Balliol College Oxford, whose predecessor in that role chaired the original) is looking at how we might use the date to generate some fresh impetus and thinking. Both of which, plus huge amounts of political effort, are needed if we are to turn around this country's extraordinary…
Read More

This little world – and Brexit

After over 200 posts, this is the first one that is not in the slightest related to the Paula Principle (unless a link occurs to me as I type).  Last night we went to the Almeida Theatre's production of Richard II, with Simon Russell Beale in the title role, and in a t-shirt like the rest of the cast. It's set in a bleak ferrous cube, and there's no escape - no-one leaves the stage and it's 100 minutes with no interval. By the end, buckets of blood have been sloshed around, as well as water to wash the dirt out of Richard's hair as he struggles to come to…
Read More

Chicken Behaviour and Collective Intelligence

I've just finished Robert Sapolsky's Behave: the biology of humans at our best and worst.  It's a massive book, covering the development of our brains and our behaviour from the moment of conception, set firmly in the context of long-run evolutionary trends.  The early parts were tough going for a scientific illiterate, notwithstanding Sapolsky's breezy humour,  but if you persevere there are huge numbers of plums in this rich pudding. Sapolsky's overall message is (and I quote), "It's complicated."   Life, development and behaviour are all a matter of a vast number of interactions that take place in a wide variety of contexts.  We may have learnt a lot, but at…
Read More

Speakers for schools, and caring

I do the occasional gig for Speakers for Schools.  This admirable organisation was started by Robert Peston. He kept being invited by private schools to give talks to their students, and felt that students in state schools should also have access to the kinds of insights that he and other public figures bring.  So SfS has built up a panel of people willing to go and talk at state schools, on whatever issues might help to enlarge students'  perspectives on life. I do not, of course, generate quite the buzz that I'm sure RP does, but I've enjoyed talking about the Paula Principle in a range of schools over the…
Read More

Working for free – a rugby player’s view

My eye was caught by a piece by Catherine Spencer in yesterday's Guardian.  Catherine is a former captain of the England women's rugby team, and author of a charmingly alliterative book Mud, Maul, Mascara.  She starts with the observation that men in the England rugby team are paid £25K per match, whilst their Japanese counterparts get barely enough to cover meagre subsistence costs. Catherine goes on to argue not against professional payments generally, but that the revenue generated by international matches should go back into the grassroots.  She says that it cannot be money that motivates people to want to play for their country - pointing out that the Japanese…
Read More

GPGs 1 and 2 – the gender pensions gap

One of the major implications of the Paula Principle is that it applies over the life course, so we need to estimate its effects over this full span.  GPG1 - the gender pay gap - leads inexorably to GPG2 - the gender pensions gap.  The gap is big, and it can last a very long time. I suppose technically a 'gap' requires men to be alive in order for their pensions to be compared with equivalent women, but women live longer and so even if their male peers are no longer there they suffer the effects of GPG2.  (I'm not ignoring the salience of differential longevities, but they aren't relevant…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

I went last night, as I often do on a Tuesday, to a gathering that is rapidly gaining a reputation as a North London institution - the Tufnell Park Film Club.  We sit in the upstairs room of the Lord Palmerston and watch a film, selected with the help of our two viddymasters, Nigel and Wayne. Last night's film was Autumn Sonata, Ingrid Bergman's last film, directed by her namesake Ingmar.  On the way there my friend Mark wondered just how bleak the film was going to be.  I had seen it some time ago, so risked an answer - wrongly so.  Seduced by the title, and the colouring of…
Read More

What does ‘closing the GPG’ actually mean?

I've been trying to get a handle on what kind of progress has been made in closing the gender pay gap, and this has led me to ask myself what 'closing the gap' actually means.  It seems to me that the obvious 'zero gap = equality = fairness' may disguise something important. The Paula Principle is about the due recognition of women's competences, and I'm mostly interested in career trajectories over time, ie what kinds of progression women make.  But pay is obviously the most available indicator, and the ONS has recently published some important data on trends over time on the GPG.  (By the way, I want to say 'chapeau'…
Read More

Collective intelligence

One of the of soft skills commonly touted as of growing importance for organisational success is the capacity to work successfully with others.  'Teamwork' is the most familiar label for this, but I think this sounds a little simplistic.  Brenda, one of my interviewees in The Paula Principle, put it this way: Women are interested in getting stuff done;  they hate game-playing and internal politicking; the only build networks if they see them as a genuine vehicle for getting things done, and not for personal advancement.  Their language is about 'we', about looking for complementary skills in a team, recognising that they themselves cannot do it all. I've just been reading Superminds by Thomas Malone.…
Read More

Violence and cranial feminisation

A slightly unusual title for a blog you might think.  I went last night to the Royal Institution to listen to Richard Wrangham talking about his new book The Goodness Paradox.  I won't even try to summarise the very rich lecture, which covered swathes of evolutionary thinking as well as graphic detail on the brutality of chimps. Richard draws a basic distinction between two types of violence:  proactive (premeditated, calculated) and reactive (spontaneous, sudden).  His basic thesis is that as humans we differ from other animals in being much less inclined to exhibit the latter.  Apparently we do only a thousandth of the 'scuffling' that chimps and even the more peaceful…
Read More

A Reskilling Revolution

We're at that point - it swings around about once a decade - when lifelong learning becomes something people seem to want to talk about as if it mattered.  One prompt for this in the UK is the centenary of the 1919 Report on Adult Education, on which Paul Stanistreet has written so powerfully.  A Commission chaired by Dame Helen Gosh (Master of Balliol College Oxford, whose predecessor in that role chaired the original) is looking at how we might use the date to generate some fresh impetus and thinking. Both of which, plus huge amounts of political effort, are needed if we are to turn around this country's extraordinary…
Read More

This little world – and Brexit

After over 200 posts, this is the first one that is not in the slightest related to the Paula Principle (unless a link occurs to me as I type).  Last night we went to the Almeida Theatre's production of Richard II, with Simon Russell Beale in the title role, and in a t-shirt like the rest of the cast. It's set in a bleak ferrous cube, and there's no escape - no-one leaves the stage and it's 100 minutes with no interval. By the end, buckets of blood have been sloshed around, as well as water to wash the dirt out of Richard's hair as he struggles to come to…
Read More

Chicken Behaviour and Collective Intelligence

I've just finished Robert Sapolsky's Behave: the biology of humans at our best and worst.  It's a massive book, covering the development of our brains and our behaviour from the moment of conception, set firmly in the context of long-run evolutionary trends.  The early parts were tough going for a scientific illiterate, notwithstanding Sapolsky's breezy humour,  but if you persevere there are huge numbers of plums in this rich pudding. Sapolsky's overall message is (and I quote), "It's complicated."   Life, development and behaviour are all a matter of a vast number of interactions that take place in a wide variety of contexts.  We may have learnt a lot, but at…
Read More

Speakers for schools, and caring

I do the occasional gig for Speakers for Schools.  This admirable organisation was started by Robert Peston. He kept being invited by private schools to give talks to their students, and felt that students in state schools should also have access to the kinds of insights that he and other public figures bring.  So SfS has built up a panel of people willing to go and talk at state schools, on whatever issues might help to enlarge students'  perspectives on life. I do not, of course, generate quite the buzz that I'm sure RP does, but I've enjoyed talking about the Paula Principle in a range of schools over the…
Read More

Working for free – a rugby player’s view

My eye was caught by a piece by Catherine Spencer in yesterday's Guardian.  Catherine is a former captain of the England women's rugby team, and author of a charmingly alliterative book Mud, Maul, Mascara.  She starts with the observation that men in the England rugby team are paid £25K per match, whilst their Japanese counterparts get barely enough to cover meagre subsistence costs. Catherine goes on to argue not against professional payments generally, but that the revenue generated by international matches should go back into the grassroots.  She says that it cannot be money that motivates people to want to play for their country - pointing out that the Japanese…
Read More

GPGs 1 and 2 – the gender pensions gap

One of the major implications of the Paula Principle is that it applies over the life course, so we need to estimate its effects over this full span.  GPG1 - the gender pay gap - leads inexorably to GPG2 - the gender pensions gap.  The gap is big, and it can last a very long time. I suppose technically a 'gap' requires men to be alive in order for their pensions to be compared with equivalent women, but women live longer and so even if their male peers are no longer there they suffer the effects of GPG2.  (I'm not ignoring the salience of differential longevities, but they aren't relevant…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

I went last night, as I often do on a Tuesday, to a gathering that is rapidly gaining a reputation as a North London institution - the Tufnell Park Film Club.  We sit in the upstairs room of the Lord Palmerston and watch a film, selected with the help of our two viddymasters, Nigel and Wayne. Last night's film was Autumn Sonata, Ingrid Bergman's last film, directed by her namesake Ingmar.  On the way there my friend Mark wondered just how bleak the film was going to be.  I had seen it some time ago, so risked an answer - wrongly so.  Seduced by the title, and the colouring of…
Read More

What does ‘closing the GPG’ actually mean?

I've been trying to get a handle on what kind of progress has been made in closing the gender pay gap, and this has led me to ask myself what 'closing the gap' actually means.  It seems to me that the obvious 'zero gap = equality = fairness' may disguise something important. The Paula Principle is about the due recognition of women's competences, and I'm mostly interested in career trajectories over time, ie what kinds of progression women make.  But pay is obviously the most available indicator, and the ONS has recently published some important data on trends over time on the GPG.  (By the way, I want to say 'chapeau'…
Read More

Collective intelligence

One of the of soft skills commonly touted as of growing importance for organisational success is the capacity to work successfully with others.  'Teamwork' is the most familiar label for this, but I think this sounds a little simplistic.  Brenda, one of my interviewees in The Paula Principle, put it this way: Women are interested in getting stuff done;  they hate game-playing and internal politicking; the only build networks if they see them as a genuine vehicle for getting things done, and not for personal advancement.  Their language is about 'we', about looking for complementary skills in a team, recognising that they themselves cannot do it all. I've just been reading Superminds by Thomas Malone.…
Read More

Violence and cranial feminisation

A slightly unusual title for a blog you might think.  I went last night to the Royal Institution to listen to Richard Wrangham talking about his new book The Goodness Paradox.  I won't even try to summarise the very rich lecture, which covered swathes of evolutionary thinking as well as graphic detail on the brutality of chimps. Richard draws a basic distinction between two types of violence:  proactive (premeditated, calculated) and reactive (spontaneous, sudden).  His basic thesis is that as humans we differ from other animals in being much less inclined to exhibit the latter.  Apparently we do only a thousandth of the 'scuffling' that chimps and even the more peaceful…
Read More

A Reskilling Revolution

We're at that point - it swings around about once a decade - when lifelong learning becomes something people seem to want to talk about as if it mattered.  One prompt for this in the UK is the centenary of the 1919 Report on Adult Education, on which Paul Stanistreet has written so powerfully.  A Commission chaired by Dame Helen Gosh (Master of Balliol College Oxford, whose predecessor in that role chaired the original) is looking at how we might use the date to generate some fresh impetus and thinking. Both of which, plus huge amounts of political effort, are needed if we are to turn around this country's extraordinary…
Read More

This little world – and Brexit

After over 200 posts, this is the first one that is not in the slightest related to the Paula Principle (unless a link occurs to me as I type).  Last night we went to the Almeida Theatre's production of Richard II, with Simon Russell Beale in the title role, and in a t-shirt like the rest of the cast. It's set in a bleak ferrous cube, and there's no escape - no-one leaves the stage and it's 100 minutes with no interval. By the end, buckets of blood have been sloshed around, as well as water to wash the dirt out of Richard's hair as he struggles to come to…
Read More

Chicken Behaviour and Collective Intelligence

I've just finished Robert Sapolsky's Behave: the biology of humans at our best and worst.  It's a massive book, covering the development of our brains and our behaviour from the moment of conception, set firmly in the context of long-run evolutionary trends.  The early parts were tough going for a scientific illiterate, notwithstanding Sapolsky's breezy humour,  but if you persevere there are huge numbers of plums in this rich pudding. Sapolsky's overall message is (and I quote), "It's complicated."   Life, development and behaviour are all a matter of a vast number of interactions that take place in a wide variety of contexts.  We may have learnt a lot, but at…
Read More

Speakers for schools, and caring

I do the occasional gig for Speakers for Schools.  This admirable organisation was started by Robert Peston. He kept being invited by private schools to give talks to their students, and felt that students in state schools should also have access to the kinds of insights that he and other public figures bring.  So SfS has built up a panel of people willing to go and talk at state schools, on whatever issues might help to enlarge students'  perspectives on life. I do not, of course, generate quite the buzz that I'm sure RP does, but I've enjoyed talking about the Paula Principle in a range of schools over the…
Read More

Working for free – a rugby player’s view

My eye was caught by a piece by Catherine Spencer in yesterday's Guardian.  Catherine is a former captain of the England women's rugby team, and author of a charmingly alliterative book Mud, Maul, Mascara.  She starts with the observation that men in the England rugby team are paid £25K per match, whilst their Japanese counterparts get barely enough to cover meagre subsistence costs. Catherine goes on to argue not against professional payments generally, but that the revenue generated by international matches should go back into the grassroots.  She says that it cannot be money that motivates people to want to play for their country - pointing out that the Japanese…
Read More

GPGs 1 and 2 – the gender pensions gap

One of the major implications of the Paula Principle is that it applies over the life course, so we need to estimate its effects over this full span.  GPG1 - the gender pay gap - leads inexorably to GPG2 - the gender pensions gap.  The gap is big, and it can last a very long time. I suppose technically a 'gap' requires men to be alive in order for their pensions to be compared with equivalent women, but women live longer and so even if their male peers are no longer there they suffer the effects of GPG2.  (I'm not ignoring the salience of differential longevities, but they aren't relevant…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

I went last night, as I often do on a Tuesday, to a gathering that is rapidly gaining a reputation as a North London institution - the Tufnell Park Film Club.  We sit in the upstairs room of the Lord Palmerston and watch a film, selected with the help of our two viddymasters, Nigel and Wayne. Last night's film was Autumn Sonata, Ingrid Bergman's last film, directed by her namesake Ingmar.  On the way there my friend Mark wondered just how bleak the film was going to be.  I had seen it some time ago, so risked an answer - wrongly so.  Seduced by the title, and the colouring of…
Read More

What does ‘closing the GPG’ actually mean?

I've been trying to get a handle on what kind of progress has been made in closing the gender pay gap, and this has led me to ask myself what 'closing the gap' actually means.  It seems to me that the obvious 'zero gap = equality = fairness' may disguise something important. The Paula Principle is about the due recognition of women's competences, and I'm mostly interested in career trajectories over time, ie what kinds of progression women make.  But pay is obviously the most available indicator, and the ONS has recently published some important data on trends over time on the GPG.  (By the way, I want to say 'chapeau'…
Read More

Collective intelligence

One of the of soft skills commonly touted as of growing importance for organisational success is the capacity to work successfully with others.  'Teamwork' is the most familiar label for this, but I think this sounds a little simplistic.  Brenda, one of my interviewees in The Paula Principle, put it this way: Women are interested in getting stuff done;  they hate game-playing and internal politicking; the only build networks if they see them as a genuine vehicle for getting things done, and not for personal advancement.  Their language is about 'we', about looking for complementary skills in a team, recognising that they themselves cannot do it all. I've just been reading Superminds by Thomas Malone.…
Read More