Matching educational parity and development : a set of stages

There is an extraordinarily strong link between women succeeding in education and where countries are on global measures of development.  This is pretty well recognised by those who work in or with poorer countries (of which I'm not one).   Whether you choose primary or secondary enrolments, tertiary graduation or adult literacy rates, there is a very close correlation between how well women do and the country’s economic and social trajectory. Within the world of development education the priority is well recognised in the way aid money is allocated: in 2009-10, on average 60% of all the OECD countries’ aid to education in poorer countries (excluding US) was directed specifically to achieving greater gender equality…
Read More

The Odd Women – and a possible mirror today

I'm just reading George Gissing's The Odd Women, a curious novel centred on women's prospects in the late 19th century.  These were pretty dismal on  the whole.  The novel focusses on three sisters caught in a kind of genteel poverty.  Two of them are past marriageable age, and also have hardly any chance of a decent occupation but must live on the tiny income bequeathed by their father. The third is still pretty and eligible, but works 14-hour days in a draper's, with very little scope for meeting a suitable husband. The title refers to something which I find hard to explain:  the apparent existence then of half a million more women than men…
Read More

Labour Women sharing skills

I went yesterday to a Labour Women's Network meeting, and listened in on some very energetic discussions.  I was welcomed as a guy by ex-MEP Carol Tongue  standing  next to me  in the queue for registration, who said there were too few of us there (maybe 5%).  My being in a minority, and feeling an outsider despite the welcome, is not exactly a mirror image of a woman being in a meeting with 95% men, since a) that is unremarkable, and b) men do not consciously draw strength from their male majority.   Anyway, it was an energising experience even for an outsider, though I could only be there for part of the day. In…
Read More

Identity – and intersectionality !

I went last night to an event on ethnicity and identity, part of the British Library's excellent series on Myths and Realities.   It was a pleasure to see a panel consisting of three women, from  Black Britain, US Asian and Lebanese backgrounds, and to listen to them talking about the complexities of understanding identity in the varied contexts of diverse cultures.  Much food for thought, especially on the shifting categories we use to classify people from different ethnic groups - and indeed how we identify ourselves.  (As the child of two migrants, one  from Scotland and one from Austria with a Jewish background, but with an entirely English upbringing, I…
Read More

Geoge Entwistle and the Peter Principle

I've liked what I've seen of  the ex-DG of the BBC.  He seemed to me not only intelligent and reflective  but straightforward and unpretentious, and although this wasn't exactly given much of a chance to show itself there was a good sense of humour lurking behind there.  I didn't think he should resign, although it's beyond me why having done one honourable thing he should then accept double the pay-off he was entitled to. Is Entwistle an unusually prominent example of the Peter Principle?   Did he rise to his level of incompetence?  We'll never know for sure, since he was hardly given time to demonstrate whether or not he really had what…
Read More

Going for it: the psychology of job application

I took part yesterday in a good event organised jointly by the Chartered Management Institute and Women in Management, under the joint leadership of Ann Francke and Sandra Pollock.   Ann interviewed Cherie Blair.  Cherie referred to studies which show that if a woman thinks she can do only 90% of a job she tends not to go for it, whereas a man who thinks he can do 60% will not hesitate.  I don't know of any research on this, but  from anecdotal conversations (for instance with recruitment agencies) had formulated something very similar, as part of the third PP factor: psychology/self-confidence.  My rule-of-thumb is that if men think they can do 70% of…
Read More

Postgraduates, pipelines and scissors

I've just read an excellent report on postgraduate education by the Higher Education Commission.   It makes urgent points about the need  to integrate postgraduate education into our overall HE system, and not treat it as a discrete part, for instance on funding. Postgraduate  numbers are now roughly the same as undergraduate numbers 30 years ago. In terms of  social class the profile of today's  postgraduates strongly resembles the profile of undergraduates then - ie strongly favouring those from  better off backgrounds.    This is why the HEC report calls it 'the next frontier for widening participation' - ie the challenge is to broaden the social intake at this level (not that the challenge of broadening the social…
Read More

It’s not just OECD countries

The Paula Principle emerged for me from looking at OECD data. This shows conclusively how general the trend is for girls and women to do better than boys and men in education. But OECD countries are relatively wealthy, and not typical of all countries. I'm in Morocco at a meeting of the World Committe on Lifelong Learning. I've just learnt that girls here already outperform boys at the level of the baccalaureate. Moreover Faoud Chafiqi, a researcher who also works in the education ministry, reported that girls' aspirations for higher education are far stronger than boys. I assume, obviously, that the same tide is happening here as we have seen…
Read More

end of man?

I went recently to the RSA to listen to Hanna Rosin presenting her book on The End of Man. The book has been widely publicised so you may know her main thesis: that women have overtaken men, leaving them out in the cold and lacking identity and a role. I have quite a lot of time for much of the argument, and I like the contrast - as a generalisation - between women as 'plastic' ie adaptable, and men as 'cardboard' ie not adaptable and in some sense soggy ( though I haven't read the book so don't know if she actually uses this term). Where I'd put up a…
Read More

House husbandry and Cynthia Carroll

I said in my previous blog that in discussing the waste of female talent we should not focus all our attention on women at the top. And here I am immediately taking up the example of Cynthia Carroll, the CEO of Anglo-American who has just resigned. she is about as exceptional as it gets: not only CEO of a major FTSE company, but one in a sector notoriously male-dominated and (I imagine) macho in outlook at board level as well as (more reasonably) down the mines. So why comment on this? A journalist called me just now for a comment on the CC affair since he'd seen something from me…
Read More

Matching educational parity and development : a set of stages

There is an extraordinarily strong link between women succeeding in education and where countries are on global measures of development.  This is pretty well recognised by those who work in or with poorer countries (of which I'm not one).   Whether you choose primary or secondary enrolments, tertiary graduation or adult literacy rates, there is a very close correlation between how well women do and the country’s economic and social trajectory. Within the world of development education the priority is well recognised in the way aid money is allocated: in 2009-10, on average 60% of all the OECD countries’ aid to education in poorer countries (excluding US) was directed specifically to achieving greater gender equality…
Read More

The Odd Women – and a possible mirror today

I'm just reading George Gissing's The Odd Women, a curious novel centred on women's prospects in the late 19th century.  These were pretty dismal on  the whole.  The novel focusses on three sisters caught in a kind of genteel poverty.  Two of them are past marriageable age, and also have hardly any chance of a decent occupation but must live on the tiny income bequeathed by their father. The third is still pretty and eligible, but works 14-hour days in a draper's, with very little scope for meeting a suitable husband. The title refers to something which I find hard to explain:  the apparent existence then of half a million more women than men…
Read More

Labour Women sharing skills

I went yesterday to a Labour Women's Network meeting, and listened in on some very energetic discussions.  I was welcomed as a guy by ex-MEP Carol Tongue  standing  next to me  in the queue for registration, who said there were too few of us there (maybe 5%).  My being in a minority, and feeling an outsider despite the welcome, is not exactly a mirror image of a woman being in a meeting with 95% men, since a) that is unremarkable, and b) men do not consciously draw strength from their male majority.   Anyway, it was an energising experience even for an outsider, though I could only be there for part of the day. In…
Read More

Identity – and intersectionality !

I went last night to an event on ethnicity and identity, part of the British Library's excellent series on Myths and Realities.   It was a pleasure to see a panel consisting of three women, from  Black Britain, US Asian and Lebanese backgrounds, and to listen to them talking about the complexities of understanding identity in the varied contexts of diverse cultures.  Much food for thought, especially on the shifting categories we use to classify people from different ethnic groups - and indeed how we identify ourselves.  (As the child of two migrants, one  from Scotland and one from Austria with a Jewish background, but with an entirely English upbringing, I…
Read More

Geoge Entwistle and the Peter Principle

I've liked what I've seen of  the ex-DG of the BBC.  He seemed to me not only intelligent and reflective  but straightforward and unpretentious, and although this wasn't exactly given much of a chance to show itself there was a good sense of humour lurking behind there.  I didn't think he should resign, although it's beyond me why having done one honourable thing he should then accept double the pay-off he was entitled to. Is Entwistle an unusually prominent example of the Peter Principle?   Did he rise to his level of incompetence?  We'll never know for sure, since he was hardly given time to demonstrate whether or not he really had what…
Read More

Going for it: the psychology of job application

I took part yesterday in a good event organised jointly by the Chartered Management Institute and Women in Management, under the joint leadership of Ann Francke and Sandra Pollock.   Ann interviewed Cherie Blair.  Cherie referred to studies which show that if a woman thinks she can do only 90% of a job she tends not to go for it, whereas a man who thinks he can do 60% will not hesitate.  I don't know of any research on this, but  from anecdotal conversations (for instance with recruitment agencies) had formulated something very similar, as part of the third PP factor: psychology/self-confidence.  My rule-of-thumb is that if men think they can do 70% of…
Read More

Postgraduates, pipelines and scissors

I've just read an excellent report on postgraduate education by the Higher Education Commission.   It makes urgent points about the need  to integrate postgraduate education into our overall HE system, and not treat it as a discrete part, for instance on funding. Postgraduate  numbers are now roughly the same as undergraduate numbers 30 years ago. In terms of  social class the profile of today's  postgraduates strongly resembles the profile of undergraduates then - ie strongly favouring those from  better off backgrounds.    This is why the HEC report calls it 'the next frontier for widening participation' - ie the challenge is to broaden the social intake at this level (not that the challenge of broadening the social…
Read More

It’s not just OECD countries

The Paula Principle emerged for me from looking at OECD data. This shows conclusively how general the trend is for girls and women to do better than boys and men in education. But OECD countries are relatively wealthy, and not typical of all countries. I'm in Morocco at a meeting of the World Committe on Lifelong Learning. I've just learnt that girls here already outperform boys at the level of the baccalaureate. Moreover Faoud Chafiqi, a researcher who also works in the education ministry, reported that girls' aspirations for higher education are far stronger than boys. I assume, obviously, that the same tide is happening here as we have seen…
Read More

end of man?

I went recently to the RSA to listen to Hanna Rosin presenting her book on The End of Man. The book has been widely publicised so you may know her main thesis: that women have overtaken men, leaving them out in the cold and lacking identity and a role. I have quite a lot of time for much of the argument, and I like the contrast - as a generalisation - between women as 'plastic' ie adaptable, and men as 'cardboard' ie not adaptable and in some sense soggy ( though I haven't read the book so don't know if she actually uses this term). Where I'd put up a…
Read More

House husbandry and Cynthia Carroll

I said in my previous blog that in discussing the waste of female talent we should not focus all our attention on women at the top. And here I am immediately taking up the example of Cynthia Carroll, the CEO of Anglo-American who has just resigned. she is about as exceptional as it gets: not only CEO of a major FTSE company, but one in a sector notoriously male-dominated and (I imagine) macho in outlook at board level as well as (more reasonably) down the mines. So why comment on this? A journalist called me just now for a comment on the CC affair since he'd seen something from me…
Read More

Matching educational parity and development : a set of stages

There is an extraordinarily strong link between women succeeding in education and where countries are on global measures of development.  This is pretty well recognised by those who work in or with poorer countries (of which I'm not one).   Whether you choose primary or secondary enrolments, tertiary graduation or adult literacy rates, there is a very close correlation between how well women do and the country’s economic and social trajectory. Within the world of development education the priority is well recognised in the way aid money is allocated: in 2009-10, on average 60% of all the OECD countries’ aid to education in poorer countries (excluding US) was directed specifically to achieving greater gender equality…
Read More

The Odd Women – and a possible mirror today

I'm just reading George Gissing's The Odd Women, a curious novel centred on women's prospects in the late 19th century.  These were pretty dismal on  the whole.  The novel focusses on three sisters caught in a kind of genteel poverty.  Two of them are past marriageable age, and also have hardly any chance of a decent occupation but must live on the tiny income bequeathed by their father. The third is still pretty and eligible, but works 14-hour days in a draper's, with very little scope for meeting a suitable husband. The title refers to something which I find hard to explain:  the apparent existence then of half a million more women than men…
Read More

Labour Women sharing skills

I went yesterday to a Labour Women's Network meeting, and listened in on some very energetic discussions.  I was welcomed as a guy by ex-MEP Carol Tongue  standing  next to me  in the queue for registration, who said there were too few of us there (maybe 5%).  My being in a minority, and feeling an outsider despite the welcome, is not exactly a mirror image of a woman being in a meeting with 95% men, since a) that is unremarkable, and b) men do not consciously draw strength from their male majority.   Anyway, it was an energising experience even for an outsider, though I could only be there for part of the day. In…
Read More

Identity – and intersectionality !

I went last night to an event on ethnicity and identity, part of the British Library's excellent series on Myths and Realities.   It was a pleasure to see a panel consisting of three women, from  Black Britain, US Asian and Lebanese backgrounds, and to listen to them talking about the complexities of understanding identity in the varied contexts of diverse cultures.  Much food for thought, especially on the shifting categories we use to classify people from different ethnic groups - and indeed how we identify ourselves.  (As the child of two migrants, one  from Scotland and one from Austria with a Jewish background, but with an entirely English upbringing, I…
Read More

Geoge Entwistle and the Peter Principle

I've liked what I've seen of  the ex-DG of the BBC.  He seemed to me not only intelligent and reflective  but straightforward and unpretentious, and although this wasn't exactly given much of a chance to show itself there was a good sense of humour lurking behind there.  I didn't think he should resign, although it's beyond me why having done one honourable thing he should then accept double the pay-off he was entitled to. Is Entwistle an unusually prominent example of the Peter Principle?   Did he rise to his level of incompetence?  We'll never know for sure, since he was hardly given time to demonstrate whether or not he really had what…
Read More

Going for it: the psychology of job application

I took part yesterday in a good event organised jointly by the Chartered Management Institute and Women in Management, under the joint leadership of Ann Francke and Sandra Pollock.   Ann interviewed Cherie Blair.  Cherie referred to studies which show that if a woman thinks she can do only 90% of a job she tends not to go for it, whereas a man who thinks he can do 60% will not hesitate.  I don't know of any research on this, but  from anecdotal conversations (for instance with recruitment agencies) had formulated something very similar, as part of the third PP factor: psychology/self-confidence.  My rule-of-thumb is that if men think they can do 70% of…
Read More

Postgraduates, pipelines and scissors

I've just read an excellent report on postgraduate education by the Higher Education Commission.   It makes urgent points about the need  to integrate postgraduate education into our overall HE system, and not treat it as a discrete part, for instance on funding. Postgraduate  numbers are now roughly the same as undergraduate numbers 30 years ago. In terms of  social class the profile of today's  postgraduates strongly resembles the profile of undergraduates then - ie strongly favouring those from  better off backgrounds.    This is why the HEC report calls it 'the next frontier for widening participation' - ie the challenge is to broaden the social intake at this level (not that the challenge of broadening the social…
Read More

It’s not just OECD countries

The Paula Principle emerged for me from looking at OECD data. This shows conclusively how general the trend is for girls and women to do better than boys and men in education. But OECD countries are relatively wealthy, and not typical of all countries. I'm in Morocco at a meeting of the World Committe on Lifelong Learning. I've just learnt that girls here already outperform boys at the level of the baccalaureate. Moreover Faoud Chafiqi, a researcher who also works in the education ministry, reported that girls' aspirations for higher education are far stronger than boys. I assume, obviously, that the same tide is happening here as we have seen…
Read More

end of man?

I went recently to the RSA to listen to Hanna Rosin presenting her book on The End of Man. The book has been widely publicised so you may know her main thesis: that women have overtaken men, leaving them out in the cold and lacking identity and a role. I have quite a lot of time for much of the argument, and I like the contrast - as a generalisation - between women as 'plastic' ie adaptable, and men as 'cardboard' ie not adaptable and in some sense soggy ( though I haven't read the book so don't know if she actually uses this term). Where I'd put up a…
Read More

House husbandry and Cynthia Carroll

I said in my previous blog that in discussing the waste of female talent we should not focus all our attention on women at the top. And here I am immediately taking up the example of Cynthia Carroll, the CEO of Anglo-American who has just resigned. she is about as exceptional as it gets: not only CEO of a major FTSE company, but one in a sector notoriously male-dominated and (I imagine) macho in outlook at board level as well as (more reasonably) down the mines. So why comment on this? A journalist called me just now for a comment on the CC affair since he'd seen something from me…
Read More

Matching educational parity and development : a set of stages

There is an extraordinarily strong link between women succeeding in education and where countries are on global measures of development.  This is pretty well recognised by those who work in or with poorer countries (of which I'm not one).   Whether you choose primary or secondary enrolments, tertiary graduation or adult literacy rates, there is a very close correlation between how well women do and the country’s economic and social trajectory. Within the world of development education the priority is well recognised in the way aid money is allocated: in 2009-10, on average 60% of all the OECD countries’ aid to education in poorer countries (excluding US) was directed specifically to achieving greater gender equality…
Read More

The Odd Women – and a possible mirror today

I'm just reading George Gissing's The Odd Women, a curious novel centred on women's prospects in the late 19th century.  These were pretty dismal on  the whole.  The novel focusses on three sisters caught in a kind of genteel poverty.  Two of them are past marriageable age, and also have hardly any chance of a decent occupation but must live on the tiny income bequeathed by their father. The third is still pretty and eligible, but works 14-hour days in a draper's, with very little scope for meeting a suitable husband. The title refers to something which I find hard to explain:  the apparent existence then of half a million more women than men…
Read More

Labour Women sharing skills

I went yesterday to a Labour Women's Network meeting, and listened in on some very energetic discussions.  I was welcomed as a guy by ex-MEP Carol Tongue  standing  next to me  in the queue for registration, who said there were too few of us there (maybe 5%).  My being in a minority, and feeling an outsider despite the welcome, is not exactly a mirror image of a woman being in a meeting with 95% men, since a) that is unremarkable, and b) men do not consciously draw strength from their male majority.   Anyway, it was an energising experience even for an outsider, though I could only be there for part of the day. In…
Read More

Identity – and intersectionality !

I went last night to an event on ethnicity and identity, part of the British Library's excellent series on Myths and Realities.   It was a pleasure to see a panel consisting of three women, from  Black Britain, US Asian and Lebanese backgrounds, and to listen to them talking about the complexities of understanding identity in the varied contexts of diverse cultures.  Much food for thought, especially on the shifting categories we use to classify people from different ethnic groups - and indeed how we identify ourselves.  (As the child of two migrants, one  from Scotland and one from Austria with a Jewish background, but with an entirely English upbringing, I…
Read More

Geoge Entwistle and the Peter Principle

I've liked what I've seen of  the ex-DG of the BBC.  He seemed to me not only intelligent and reflective  but straightforward and unpretentious, and although this wasn't exactly given much of a chance to show itself there was a good sense of humour lurking behind there.  I didn't think he should resign, although it's beyond me why having done one honourable thing he should then accept double the pay-off he was entitled to. Is Entwistle an unusually prominent example of the Peter Principle?   Did he rise to his level of incompetence?  We'll never know for sure, since he was hardly given time to demonstrate whether or not he really had what…
Read More

Going for it: the psychology of job application

I took part yesterday in a good event organised jointly by the Chartered Management Institute and Women in Management, under the joint leadership of Ann Francke and Sandra Pollock.   Ann interviewed Cherie Blair.  Cherie referred to studies which show that if a woman thinks she can do only 90% of a job she tends not to go for it, whereas a man who thinks he can do 60% will not hesitate.  I don't know of any research on this, but  from anecdotal conversations (for instance with recruitment agencies) had formulated something very similar, as part of the third PP factor: psychology/self-confidence.  My rule-of-thumb is that if men think they can do 70% of…
Read More

Postgraduates, pipelines and scissors

I've just read an excellent report on postgraduate education by the Higher Education Commission.   It makes urgent points about the need  to integrate postgraduate education into our overall HE system, and not treat it as a discrete part, for instance on funding. Postgraduate  numbers are now roughly the same as undergraduate numbers 30 years ago. In terms of  social class the profile of today's  postgraduates strongly resembles the profile of undergraduates then - ie strongly favouring those from  better off backgrounds.    This is why the HEC report calls it 'the next frontier for widening participation' - ie the challenge is to broaden the social intake at this level (not that the challenge of broadening the social…
Read More

It’s not just OECD countries

The Paula Principle emerged for me from looking at OECD data. This shows conclusively how general the trend is for girls and women to do better than boys and men in education. But OECD countries are relatively wealthy, and not typical of all countries. I'm in Morocco at a meeting of the World Committe on Lifelong Learning. I've just learnt that girls here already outperform boys at the level of the baccalaureate. Moreover Faoud Chafiqi, a researcher who also works in the education ministry, reported that girls' aspirations for higher education are far stronger than boys. I assume, obviously, that the same tide is happening here as we have seen…
Read More

end of man?

I went recently to the RSA to listen to Hanna Rosin presenting her book on The End of Man. The book has been widely publicised so you may know her main thesis: that women have overtaken men, leaving them out in the cold and lacking identity and a role. I have quite a lot of time for much of the argument, and I like the contrast - as a generalisation - between women as 'plastic' ie adaptable, and men as 'cardboard' ie not adaptable and in some sense soggy ( though I haven't read the book so don't know if she actually uses this term). Where I'd put up a…
Read More

House husbandry and Cynthia Carroll

I said in my previous blog that in discussing the waste of female talent we should not focus all our attention on women at the top. And here I am immediately taking up the example of Cynthia Carroll, the CEO of Anglo-American who has just resigned. she is about as exceptional as it gets: not only CEO of a major FTSE company, but one in a sector notoriously male-dominated and (I imagine) macho in outlook at board level as well as (more reasonably) down the mines. So why comment on this? A journalist called me just now for a comment on the CC affair since he'd seen something from me…
Read More

Matching educational parity and development : a set of stages

There is an extraordinarily strong link between women succeeding in education and where countries are on global measures of development.  This is pretty well recognised by those who work in or with poorer countries (of which I'm not one).   Whether you choose primary or secondary enrolments, tertiary graduation or adult literacy rates, there is a very close correlation between how well women do and the country’s economic and social trajectory. Within the world of development education the priority is well recognised in the way aid money is allocated: in 2009-10, on average 60% of all the OECD countries’ aid to education in poorer countries (excluding US) was directed specifically to achieving greater gender equality…
Read More

The Odd Women – and a possible mirror today

I'm just reading George Gissing's The Odd Women, a curious novel centred on women's prospects in the late 19th century.  These were pretty dismal on  the whole.  The novel focusses on three sisters caught in a kind of genteel poverty.  Two of them are past marriageable age, and also have hardly any chance of a decent occupation but must live on the tiny income bequeathed by their father. The third is still pretty and eligible, but works 14-hour days in a draper's, with very little scope for meeting a suitable husband. The title refers to something which I find hard to explain:  the apparent existence then of half a million more women than men…
Read More

Labour Women sharing skills

I went yesterday to a Labour Women's Network meeting, and listened in on some very energetic discussions.  I was welcomed as a guy by ex-MEP Carol Tongue  standing  next to me  in the queue for registration, who said there were too few of us there (maybe 5%).  My being in a minority, and feeling an outsider despite the welcome, is not exactly a mirror image of a woman being in a meeting with 95% men, since a) that is unremarkable, and b) men do not consciously draw strength from their male majority.   Anyway, it was an energising experience even for an outsider, though I could only be there for part of the day. In…
Read More

Identity – and intersectionality !

I went last night to an event on ethnicity and identity, part of the British Library's excellent series on Myths and Realities.   It was a pleasure to see a panel consisting of three women, from  Black Britain, US Asian and Lebanese backgrounds, and to listen to them talking about the complexities of understanding identity in the varied contexts of diverse cultures.  Much food for thought, especially on the shifting categories we use to classify people from different ethnic groups - and indeed how we identify ourselves.  (As the child of two migrants, one  from Scotland and one from Austria with a Jewish background, but with an entirely English upbringing, I…
Read More

Geoge Entwistle and the Peter Principle

I've liked what I've seen of  the ex-DG of the BBC.  He seemed to me not only intelligent and reflective  but straightforward and unpretentious, and although this wasn't exactly given much of a chance to show itself there was a good sense of humour lurking behind there.  I didn't think he should resign, although it's beyond me why having done one honourable thing he should then accept double the pay-off he was entitled to. Is Entwistle an unusually prominent example of the Peter Principle?   Did he rise to his level of incompetence?  We'll never know for sure, since he was hardly given time to demonstrate whether or not he really had what…
Read More

Going for it: the psychology of job application

I took part yesterday in a good event organised jointly by the Chartered Management Institute and Women in Management, under the joint leadership of Ann Francke and Sandra Pollock.   Ann interviewed Cherie Blair.  Cherie referred to studies which show that if a woman thinks she can do only 90% of a job she tends not to go for it, whereas a man who thinks he can do 60% will not hesitate.  I don't know of any research on this, but  from anecdotal conversations (for instance with recruitment agencies) had formulated something very similar, as part of the third PP factor: psychology/self-confidence.  My rule-of-thumb is that if men think they can do 70% of…
Read More

Postgraduates, pipelines and scissors

I've just read an excellent report on postgraduate education by the Higher Education Commission.   It makes urgent points about the need  to integrate postgraduate education into our overall HE system, and not treat it as a discrete part, for instance on funding. Postgraduate  numbers are now roughly the same as undergraduate numbers 30 years ago. In terms of  social class the profile of today's  postgraduates strongly resembles the profile of undergraduates then - ie strongly favouring those from  better off backgrounds.    This is why the HEC report calls it 'the next frontier for widening participation' - ie the challenge is to broaden the social intake at this level (not that the challenge of broadening the social…
Read More

It’s not just OECD countries

The Paula Principle emerged for me from looking at OECD data. This shows conclusively how general the trend is for girls and women to do better than boys and men in education. But OECD countries are relatively wealthy, and not typical of all countries. I'm in Morocco at a meeting of the World Committe on Lifelong Learning. I've just learnt that girls here already outperform boys at the level of the baccalaureate. Moreover Faoud Chafiqi, a researcher who also works in the education ministry, reported that girls' aspirations for higher education are far stronger than boys. I assume, obviously, that the same tide is happening here as we have seen…
Read More

end of man?

I went recently to the RSA to listen to Hanna Rosin presenting her book on The End of Man. The book has been widely publicised so you may know her main thesis: that women have overtaken men, leaving them out in the cold and lacking identity and a role. I have quite a lot of time for much of the argument, and I like the contrast - as a generalisation - between women as 'plastic' ie adaptable, and men as 'cardboard' ie not adaptable and in some sense soggy ( though I haven't read the book so don't know if she actually uses this term). Where I'd put up a…
Read More

House husbandry and Cynthia Carroll

I said in my previous blog that in discussing the waste of female talent we should not focus all our attention on women at the top. And here I am immediately taking up the example of Cynthia Carroll, the CEO of Anglo-American who has just resigned. she is about as exceptional as it gets: not only CEO of a major FTSE company, but one in a sector notoriously male-dominated and (I imagine) macho in outlook at board level as well as (more reasonably) down the mines. So why comment on this? A journalist called me just now for a comment on the CC affair since he'd seen something from me…
Read More

Matching educational parity and development : a set of stages

There is an extraordinarily strong link between women succeeding in education and where countries are on global measures of development.  This is pretty well recognised by those who work in or with poorer countries (of which I'm not one).   Whether you choose primary or secondary enrolments, tertiary graduation or adult literacy rates, there is a very close correlation between how well women do and the country’s economic and social trajectory. Within the world of development education the priority is well recognised in the way aid money is allocated: in 2009-10, on average 60% of all the OECD countries’ aid to education in poorer countries (excluding US) was directed specifically to achieving greater gender equality…
Read More

The Odd Women – and a possible mirror today

I'm just reading George Gissing's The Odd Women, a curious novel centred on women's prospects in the late 19th century.  These were pretty dismal on  the whole.  The novel focusses on three sisters caught in a kind of genteel poverty.  Two of them are past marriageable age, and also have hardly any chance of a decent occupation but must live on the tiny income bequeathed by their father. The third is still pretty and eligible, but works 14-hour days in a draper's, with very little scope for meeting a suitable husband. The title refers to something which I find hard to explain:  the apparent existence then of half a million more women than men…
Read More

Labour Women sharing skills

I went yesterday to a Labour Women's Network meeting, and listened in on some very energetic discussions.  I was welcomed as a guy by ex-MEP Carol Tongue  standing  next to me  in the queue for registration, who said there were too few of us there (maybe 5%).  My being in a minority, and feeling an outsider despite the welcome, is not exactly a mirror image of a woman being in a meeting with 95% men, since a) that is unremarkable, and b) men do not consciously draw strength from their male majority.   Anyway, it was an energising experience even for an outsider, though I could only be there for part of the day. In…
Read More

Identity – and intersectionality !

I went last night to an event on ethnicity and identity, part of the British Library's excellent series on Myths and Realities.   It was a pleasure to see a panel consisting of three women, from  Black Britain, US Asian and Lebanese backgrounds, and to listen to them talking about the complexities of understanding identity in the varied contexts of diverse cultures.  Much food for thought, especially on the shifting categories we use to classify people from different ethnic groups - and indeed how we identify ourselves.  (As the child of two migrants, one  from Scotland and one from Austria with a Jewish background, but with an entirely English upbringing, I…
Read More

Geoge Entwistle and the Peter Principle

I've liked what I've seen of  the ex-DG of the BBC.  He seemed to me not only intelligent and reflective  but straightforward and unpretentious, and although this wasn't exactly given much of a chance to show itself there was a good sense of humour lurking behind there.  I didn't think he should resign, although it's beyond me why having done one honourable thing he should then accept double the pay-off he was entitled to. Is Entwistle an unusually prominent example of the Peter Principle?   Did he rise to his level of incompetence?  We'll never know for sure, since he was hardly given time to demonstrate whether or not he really had what…
Read More

Going for it: the psychology of job application

I took part yesterday in a good event organised jointly by the Chartered Management Institute and Women in Management, under the joint leadership of Ann Francke and Sandra Pollock.   Ann interviewed Cherie Blair.  Cherie referred to studies which show that if a woman thinks she can do only 90% of a job she tends not to go for it, whereas a man who thinks he can do 60% will not hesitate.  I don't know of any research on this, but  from anecdotal conversations (for instance with recruitment agencies) had formulated something very similar, as part of the third PP factor: psychology/self-confidence.  My rule-of-thumb is that if men think they can do 70% of…
Read More

Postgraduates, pipelines and scissors

I've just read an excellent report on postgraduate education by the Higher Education Commission.   It makes urgent points about the need  to integrate postgraduate education into our overall HE system, and not treat it as a discrete part, for instance on funding. Postgraduate  numbers are now roughly the same as undergraduate numbers 30 years ago. In terms of  social class the profile of today's  postgraduates strongly resembles the profile of undergraduates then - ie strongly favouring those from  better off backgrounds.    This is why the HEC report calls it 'the next frontier for widening participation' - ie the challenge is to broaden the social intake at this level (not that the challenge of broadening the social…
Read More

It’s not just OECD countries

The Paula Principle emerged for me from looking at OECD data. This shows conclusively how general the trend is for girls and women to do better than boys and men in education. But OECD countries are relatively wealthy, and not typical of all countries. I'm in Morocco at a meeting of the World Committe on Lifelong Learning. I've just learnt that girls here already outperform boys at the level of the baccalaureate. Moreover Faoud Chafiqi, a researcher who also works in the education ministry, reported that girls' aspirations for higher education are far stronger than boys. I assume, obviously, that the same tide is happening here as we have seen…
Read More

end of man?

I went recently to the RSA to listen to Hanna Rosin presenting her book on The End of Man. The book has been widely publicised so you may know her main thesis: that women have overtaken men, leaving them out in the cold and lacking identity and a role. I have quite a lot of time for much of the argument, and I like the contrast - as a generalisation - between women as 'plastic' ie adaptable, and men as 'cardboard' ie not adaptable and in some sense soggy ( though I haven't read the book so don't know if she actually uses this term). Where I'd put up a…
Read More

House husbandry and Cynthia Carroll

I said in my previous blog that in discussing the waste of female talent we should not focus all our attention on women at the top. And here I am immediately taking up the example of Cynthia Carroll, the CEO of Anglo-American who has just resigned. she is about as exceptional as it gets: not only CEO of a major FTSE company, but one in a sector notoriously male-dominated and (I imagine) macho in outlook at board level as well as (more reasonably) down the mines. So why comment on this? A journalist called me just now for a comment on the CC affair since he'd seen something from me…
Read More

Matching educational parity and development : a set of stages

There is an extraordinarily strong link between women succeeding in education and where countries are on global measures of development.  This is pretty well recognised by those who work in or with poorer countries (of which I'm not one).   Whether you choose primary or secondary enrolments, tertiary graduation or adult literacy rates, there is a very close correlation between how well women do and the country’s economic and social trajectory. Within the world of development education the priority is well recognised in the way aid money is allocated: in 2009-10, on average 60% of all the OECD countries’ aid to education in poorer countries (excluding US) was directed specifically to achieving greater gender equality…
Read More

The Odd Women – and a possible mirror today

I'm just reading George Gissing's The Odd Women, a curious novel centred on women's prospects in the late 19th century.  These were pretty dismal on  the whole.  The novel focusses on three sisters caught in a kind of genteel poverty.  Two of them are past marriageable age, and also have hardly any chance of a decent occupation but must live on the tiny income bequeathed by their father. The third is still pretty and eligible, but works 14-hour days in a draper's, with very little scope for meeting a suitable husband. The title refers to something which I find hard to explain:  the apparent existence then of half a million more women than men…
Read More

Labour Women sharing skills

I went yesterday to a Labour Women's Network meeting, and listened in on some very energetic discussions.  I was welcomed as a guy by ex-MEP Carol Tongue  standing  next to me  in the queue for registration, who said there were too few of us there (maybe 5%).  My being in a minority, and feeling an outsider despite the welcome, is not exactly a mirror image of a woman being in a meeting with 95% men, since a) that is unremarkable, and b) men do not consciously draw strength from their male majority.   Anyway, it was an energising experience even for an outsider, though I could only be there for part of the day. In…
Read More

Identity – and intersectionality !

I went last night to an event on ethnicity and identity, part of the British Library's excellent series on Myths and Realities.   It was a pleasure to see a panel consisting of three women, from  Black Britain, US Asian and Lebanese backgrounds, and to listen to them talking about the complexities of understanding identity in the varied contexts of diverse cultures.  Much food for thought, especially on the shifting categories we use to classify people from different ethnic groups - and indeed how we identify ourselves.  (As the child of two migrants, one  from Scotland and one from Austria with a Jewish background, but with an entirely English upbringing, I…
Read More

Geoge Entwistle and the Peter Principle

I've liked what I've seen of  the ex-DG of the BBC.  He seemed to me not only intelligent and reflective  but straightforward and unpretentious, and although this wasn't exactly given much of a chance to show itself there was a good sense of humour lurking behind there.  I didn't think he should resign, although it's beyond me why having done one honourable thing he should then accept double the pay-off he was entitled to. Is Entwistle an unusually prominent example of the Peter Principle?   Did he rise to his level of incompetence?  We'll never know for sure, since he was hardly given time to demonstrate whether or not he really had what…
Read More

Going for it: the psychology of job application

I took part yesterday in a good event organised jointly by the Chartered Management Institute and Women in Management, under the joint leadership of Ann Francke and Sandra Pollock.   Ann interviewed Cherie Blair.  Cherie referred to studies which show that if a woman thinks she can do only 90% of a job she tends not to go for it, whereas a man who thinks he can do 60% will not hesitate.  I don't know of any research on this, but  from anecdotal conversations (for instance with recruitment agencies) had formulated something very similar, as part of the third PP factor: psychology/self-confidence.  My rule-of-thumb is that if men think they can do 70% of…
Read More

Postgraduates, pipelines and scissors

I've just read an excellent report on postgraduate education by the Higher Education Commission.   It makes urgent points about the need  to integrate postgraduate education into our overall HE system, and not treat it as a discrete part, for instance on funding. Postgraduate  numbers are now roughly the same as undergraduate numbers 30 years ago. In terms of  social class the profile of today's  postgraduates strongly resembles the profile of undergraduates then - ie strongly favouring those from  better off backgrounds.    This is why the HEC report calls it 'the next frontier for widening participation' - ie the challenge is to broaden the social intake at this level (not that the challenge of broadening the social…
Read More

It’s not just OECD countries

The Paula Principle emerged for me from looking at OECD data. This shows conclusively how general the trend is for girls and women to do better than boys and men in education. But OECD countries are relatively wealthy, and not typical of all countries. I'm in Morocco at a meeting of the World Committe on Lifelong Learning. I've just learnt that girls here already outperform boys at the level of the baccalaureate. Moreover Faoud Chafiqi, a researcher who also works in the education ministry, reported that girls' aspirations for higher education are far stronger than boys. I assume, obviously, that the same tide is happening here as we have seen…
Read More

end of man?

I went recently to the RSA to listen to Hanna Rosin presenting her book on The End of Man. The book has been widely publicised so you may know her main thesis: that women have overtaken men, leaving them out in the cold and lacking identity and a role. I have quite a lot of time for much of the argument, and I like the contrast - as a generalisation - between women as 'plastic' ie adaptable, and men as 'cardboard' ie not adaptable and in some sense soggy ( though I haven't read the book so don't know if she actually uses this term). Where I'd put up a…
Read More

House husbandry and Cynthia Carroll

I said in my previous blog that in discussing the waste of female talent we should not focus all our attention on women at the top. And here I am immediately taking up the example of Cynthia Carroll, the CEO of Anglo-American who has just resigned. she is about as exceptional as it gets: not only CEO of a major FTSE company, but one in a sector notoriously male-dominated and (I imagine) macho in outlook at board level as well as (more reasonably) down the mines. So why comment on this? A journalist called me just now for a comment on the CC affair since he'd seen something from me…
Read More

Matching educational parity and development : a set of stages

There is an extraordinarily strong link between women succeeding in education and where countries are on global measures of development.  This is pretty well recognised by those who work in or with poorer countries (of which I'm not one).   Whether you choose primary or secondary enrolments, tertiary graduation or adult literacy rates, there is a very close correlation between how well women do and the country’s economic and social trajectory. Within the world of development education the priority is well recognised in the way aid money is allocated: in 2009-10, on average 60% of all the OECD countries’ aid to education in poorer countries (excluding US) was directed specifically to achieving greater gender equality…
Read More

The Odd Women – and a possible mirror today

I'm just reading George Gissing's The Odd Women, a curious novel centred on women's prospects in the late 19th century.  These were pretty dismal on  the whole.  The novel focusses on three sisters caught in a kind of genteel poverty.  Two of them are past marriageable age, and also have hardly any chance of a decent occupation but must live on the tiny income bequeathed by their father. The third is still pretty and eligible, but works 14-hour days in a draper's, with very little scope for meeting a suitable husband. The title refers to something which I find hard to explain:  the apparent existence then of half a million more women than men…
Read More

Labour Women sharing skills

I went yesterday to a Labour Women's Network meeting, and listened in on some very energetic discussions.  I was welcomed as a guy by ex-MEP Carol Tongue  standing  next to me  in the queue for registration, who said there were too few of us there (maybe 5%).  My being in a minority, and feeling an outsider despite the welcome, is not exactly a mirror image of a woman being in a meeting with 95% men, since a) that is unremarkable, and b) men do not consciously draw strength from their male majority.   Anyway, it was an energising experience even for an outsider, though I could only be there for part of the day. In…
Read More

Identity – and intersectionality !

I went last night to an event on ethnicity and identity, part of the British Library's excellent series on Myths and Realities.   It was a pleasure to see a panel consisting of three women, from  Black Britain, US Asian and Lebanese backgrounds, and to listen to them talking about the complexities of understanding identity in the varied contexts of diverse cultures.  Much food for thought, especially on the shifting categories we use to classify people from different ethnic groups - and indeed how we identify ourselves.  (As the child of two migrants, one  from Scotland and one from Austria with a Jewish background, but with an entirely English upbringing, I…
Read More

Geoge Entwistle and the Peter Principle

I've liked what I've seen of  the ex-DG of the BBC.  He seemed to me not only intelligent and reflective  but straightforward and unpretentious, and although this wasn't exactly given much of a chance to show itself there was a good sense of humour lurking behind there.  I didn't think he should resign, although it's beyond me why having done one honourable thing he should then accept double the pay-off he was entitled to. Is Entwistle an unusually prominent example of the Peter Principle?   Did he rise to his level of incompetence?  We'll never know for sure, since he was hardly given time to demonstrate whether or not he really had what…
Read More

Going for it: the psychology of job application

I took part yesterday in a good event organised jointly by the Chartered Management Institute and Women in Management, under the joint leadership of Ann Francke and Sandra Pollock.   Ann interviewed Cherie Blair.  Cherie referred to studies which show that if a woman thinks she can do only 90% of a job she tends not to go for it, whereas a man who thinks he can do 60% will not hesitate.  I don't know of any research on this, but  from anecdotal conversations (for instance with recruitment agencies) had formulated something very similar, as part of the third PP factor: psychology/self-confidence.  My rule-of-thumb is that if men think they can do 70% of…
Read More

Postgraduates, pipelines and scissors

I've just read an excellent report on postgraduate education by the Higher Education Commission.   It makes urgent points about the need  to integrate postgraduate education into our overall HE system, and not treat it as a discrete part, for instance on funding. Postgraduate  numbers are now roughly the same as undergraduate numbers 30 years ago. In terms of  social class the profile of today's  postgraduates strongly resembles the profile of undergraduates then - ie strongly favouring those from  better off backgrounds.    This is why the HEC report calls it 'the next frontier for widening participation' - ie the challenge is to broaden the social intake at this level (not that the challenge of broadening the social…
Read More

It’s not just OECD countries

The Paula Principle emerged for me from looking at OECD data. This shows conclusively how general the trend is for girls and women to do better than boys and men in education. But OECD countries are relatively wealthy, and not typical of all countries. I'm in Morocco at a meeting of the World Committe on Lifelong Learning. I've just learnt that girls here already outperform boys at the level of the baccalaureate. Moreover Faoud Chafiqi, a researcher who also works in the education ministry, reported that girls' aspirations for higher education are far stronger than boys. I assume, obviously, that the same tide is happening here as we have seen…
Read More

end of man?

I went recently to the RSA to listen to Hanna Rosin presenting her book on The End of Man. The book has been widely publicised so you may know her main thesis: that women have overtaken men, leaving them out in the cold and lacking identity and a role. I have quite a lot of time for much of the argument, and I like the contrast - as a generalisation - between women as 'plastic' ie adaptable, and men as 'cardboard' ie not adaptable and in some sense soggy ( though I haven't read the book so don't know if she actually uses this term). Where I'd put up a…
Read More

House husbandry and Cynthia Carroll

I said in my previous blog that in discussing the waste of female talent we should not focus all our attention on women at the top. And here I am immediately taking up the example of Cynthia Carroll, the CEO of Anglo-American who has just resigned. she is about as exceptional as it gets: not only CEO of a major FTSE company, but one in a sector notoriously male-dominated and (I imagine) macho in outlook at board level as well as (more reasonably) down the mines. So why comment on this? A journalist called me just now for a comment on the CC affair since he'd seen something from me…
Read More

Matching educational parity and development : a set of stages

There is an extraordinarily strong link between women succeeding in education and where countries are on global measures of development.  This is pretty well recognised by those who work in or with poorer countries (of which I'm not one).   Whether you choose primary or secondary enrolments, tertiary graduation or adult literacy rates, there is a very close correlation between how well women do and the country’s economic and social trajectory. Within the world of development education the priority is well recognised in the way aid money is allocated: in 2009-10, on average 60% of all the OECD countries’ aid to education in poorer countries (excluding US) was directed specifically to achieving greater gender equality…
Read More

The Odd Women – and a possible mirror today

I'm just reading George Gissing's The Odd Women, a curious novel centred on women's prospects in the late 19th century.  These were pretty dismal on  the whole.  The novel focusses on three sisters caught in a kind of genteel poverty.  Two of them are past marriageable age, and also have hardly any chance of a decent occupation but must live on the tiny income bequeathed by their father. The third is still pretty and eligible, but works 14-hour days in a draper's, with very little scope for meeting a suitable husband. The title refers to something which I find hard to explain:  the apparent existence then of half a million more women than men…
Read More

Labour Women sharing skills

I went yesterday to a Labour Women's Network meeting, and listened in on some very energetic discussions.  I was welcomed as a guy by ex-MEP Carol Tongue  standing  next to me  in the queue for registration, who said there were too few of us there (maybe 5%).  My being in a minority, and feeling an outsider despite the welcome, is not exactly a mirror image of a woman being in a meeting with 95% men, since a) that is unremarkable, and b) men do not consciously draw strength from their male majority.   Anyway, it was an energising experience even for an outsider, though I could only be there for part of the day. In…
Read More

Identity – and intersectionality !

I went last night to an event on ethnicity and identity, part of the British Library's excellent series on Myths and Realities.   It was a pleasure to see a panel consisting of three women, from  Black Britain, US Asian and Lebanese backgrounds, and to listen to them talking about the complexities of understanding identity in the varied contexts of diverse cultures.  Much food for thought, especially on the shifting categories we use to classify people from different ethnic groups - and indeed how we identify ourselves.  (As the child of two migrants, one  from Scotland and one from Austria with a Jewish background, but with an entirely English upbringing, I…
Read More

Geoge Entwistle and the Peter Principle

I've liked what I've seen of  the ex-DG of the BBC.  He seemed to me not only intelligent and reflective  but straightforward and unpretentious, and although this wasn't exactly given much of a chance to show itself there was a good sense of humour lurking behind there.  I didn't think he should resign, although it's beyond me why having done one honourable thing he should then accept double the pay-off he was entitled to. Is Entwistle an unusually prominent example of the Peter Principle?   Did he rise to his level of incompetence?  We'll never know for sure, since he was hardly given time to demonstrate whether or not he really had what…
Read More

Going for it: the psychology of job application

I took part yesterday in a good event organised jointly by the Chartered Management Institute and Women in Management, under the joint leadership of Ann Francke and Sandra Pollock.   Ann interviewed Cherie Blair.  Cherie referred to studies which show that if a woman thinks she can do only 90% of a job she tends not to go for it, whereas a man who thinks he can do 60% will not hesitate.  I don't know of any research on this, but  from anecdotal conversations (for instance with recruitment agencies) had formulated something very similar, as part of the third PP factor: psychology/self-confidence.  My rule-of-thumb is that if men think they can do 70% of…
Read More

Postgraduates, pipelines and scissors

I've just read an excellent report on postgraduate education by the Higher Education Commission.   It makes urgent points about the need  to integrate postgraduate education into our overall HE system, and not treat it as a discrete part, for instance on funding. Postgraduate  numbers are now roughly the same as undergraduate numbers 30 years ago. In terms of  social class the profile of today's  postgraduates strongly resembles the profile of undergraduates then - ie strongly favouring those from  better off backgrounds.    This is why the HEC report calls it 'the next frontier for widening participation' - ie the challenge is to broaden the social intake at this level (not that the challenge of broadening the social…
Read More

It’s not just OECD countries

The Paula Principle emerged for me from looking at OECD data. This shows conclusively how general the trend is for girls and women to do better than boys and men in education. But OECD countries are relatively wealthy, and not typical of all countries. I'm in Morocco at a meeting of the World Committe on Lifelong Learning. I've just learnt that girls here already outperform boys at the level of the baccalaureate. Moreover Faoud Chafiqi, a researcher who also works in the education ministry, reported that girls' aspirations for higher education are far stronger than boys. I assume, obviously, that the same tide is happening here as we have seen…
Read More

end of man?

I went recently to the RSA to listen to Hanna Rosin presenting her book on The End of Man. The book has been widely publicised so you may know her main thesis: that women have overtaken men, leaving them out in the cold and lacking identity and a role. I have quite a lot of time for much of the argument, and I like the contrast - as a generalisation - between women as 'plastic' ie adaptable, and men as 'cardboard' ie not adaptable and in some sense soggy ( though I haven't read the book so don't know if she actually uses this term). Where I'd put up a…
Read More

House husbandry and Cynthia Carroll

I said in my previous blog that in discussing the waste of female talent we should not focus all our attention on women at the top. And here I am immediately taking up the example of Cynthia Carroll, the CEO of Anglo-American who has just resigned. she is about as exceptional as it gets: not only CEO of a major FTSE company, but one in a sector notoriously male-dominated and (I imagine) macho in outlook at board level as well as (more reasonably) down the mines. So why comment on this? A journalist called me just now for a comment on the CC affair since he'd seen something from me…
Read More

Matching educational parity and development : a set of stages

There is an extraordinarily strong link between women succeeding in education and where countries are on global measures of development.  This is pretty well recognised by those who work in or with poorer countries (of which I'm not one).   Whether you choose primary or secondary enrolments, tertiary graduation or adult literacy rates, there is a very close correlation between how well women do and the country’s economic and social trajectory. Within the world of development education the priority is well recognised in the way aid money is allocated: in 2009-10, on average 60% of all the OECD countries’ aid to education in poorer countries (excluding US) was directed specifically to achieving greater gender equality…
Read More

The Odd Women – and a possible mirror today

I'm just reading George Gissing's The Odd Women, a curious novel centred on women's prospects in the late 19th century.  These were pretty dismal on  the whole.  The novel focusses on three sisters caught in a kind of genteel poverty.  Two of them are past marriageable age, and also have hardly any chance of a decent occupation but must live on the tiny income bequeathed by their father. The third is still pretty and eligible, but works 14-hour days in a draper's, with very little scope for meeting a suitable husband. The title refers to something which I find hard to explain:  the apparent existence then of half a million more women than men…
Read More

Labour Women sharing skills

I went yesterday to a Labour Women's Network meeting, and listened in on some very energetic discussions.  I was welcomed as a guy by ex-MEP Carol Tongue  standing  next to me  in the queue for registration, who said there were too few of us there (maybe 5%).  My being in a minority, and feeling an outsider despite the welcome, is not exactly a mirror image of a woman being in a meeting with 95% men, since a) that is unremarkable, and b) men do not consciously draw strength from their male majority.   Anyway, it was an energising experience even for an outsider, though I could only be there for part of the day. In…
Read More

Identity – and intersectionality !

I went last night to an event on ethnicity and identity, part of the British Library's excellent series on Myths and Realities.   It was a pleasure to see a panel consisting of three women, from  Black Britain, US Asian and Lebanese backgrounds, and to listen to them talking about the complexities of understanding identity in the varied contexts of diverse cultures.  Much food for thought, especially on the shifting categories we use to classify people from different ethnic groups - and indeed how we identify ourselves.  (As the child of two migrants, one  from Scotland and one from Austria with a Jewish background, but with an entirely English upbringing, I…
Read More

Geoge Entwistle and the Peter Principle

I've liked what I've seen of  the ex-DG of the BBC.  He seemed to me not only intelligent and reflective  but straightforward and unpretentious, and although this wasn't exactly given much of a chance to show itself there was a good sense of humour lurking behind there.  I didn't think he should resign, although it's beyond me why having done one honourable thing he should then accept double the pay-off he was entitled to. Is Entwistle an unusually prominent example of the Peter Principle?   Did he rise to his level of incompetence?  We'll never know for sure, since he was hardly given time to demonstrate whether or not he really had what…
Read More

Going for it: the psychology of job application

I took part yesterday in a good event organised jointly by the Chartered Management Institute and Women in Management, under the joint leadership of Ann Francke and Sandra Pollock.   Ann interviewed Cherie Blair.  Cherie referred to studies which show that if a woman thinks she can do only 90% of a job she tends not to go for it, whereas a man who thinks he can do 60% will not hesitate.  I don't know of any research on this, but  from anecdotal conversations (for instance with recruitment agencies) had formulated something very similar, as part of the third PP factor: psychology/self-confidence.  My rule-of-thumb is that if men think they can do 70% of…
Read More

Postgraduates, pipelines and scissors

I've just read an excellent report on postgraduate education by the Higher Education Commission.   It makes urgent points about the need  to integrate postgraduate education into our overall HE system, and not treat it as a discrete part, for instance on funding. Postgraduate  numbers are now roughly the same as undergraduate numbers 30 years ago. In terms of  social class the profile of today's  postgraduates strongly resembles the profile of undergraduates then - ie strongly favouring those from  better off backgrounds.    This is why the HEC report calls it 'the next frontier for widening participation' - ie the challenge is to broaden the social intake at this level (not that the challenge of broadening the social…
Read More

It’s not just OECD countries

The Paula Principle emerged for me from looking at OECD data. This shows conclusively how general the trend is for girls and women to do better than boys and men in education. But OECD countries are relatively wealthy, and not typical of all countries. I'm in Morocco at a meeting of the World Committe on Lifelong Learning. I've just learnt that girls here already outperform boys at the level of the baccalaureate. Moreover Faoud Chafiqi, a researcher who also works in the education ministry, reported that girls' aspirations for higher education are far stronger than boys. I assume, obviously, that the same tide is happening here as we have seen…
Read More

end of man?

I went recently to the RSA to listen to Hanna Rosin presenting her book on The End of Man. The book has been widely publicised so you may know her main thesis: that women have overtaken men, leaving them out in the cold and lacking identity and a role. I have quite a lot of time for much of the argument, and I like the contrast - as a generalisation - between women as 'plastic' ie adaptable, and men as 'cardboard' ie not adaptable and in some sense soggy ( though I haven't read the book so don't know if she actually uses this term). Where I'd put up a…
Read More

House husbandry and Cynthia Carroll

I said in my previous blog that in discussing the waste of female talent we should not focus all our attention on women at the top. And here I am immediately taking up the example of Cynthia Carroll, the CEO of Anglo-American who has just resigned. she is about as exceptional as it gets: not only CEO of a major FTSE company, but one in a sector notoriously male-dominated and (I imagine) macho in outlook at board level as well as (more reasonably) down the mines. So why comment on this? A journalist called me just now for a comment on the CC affair since he'd seen something from me…
Read More