Aspirations and hurdles

I’ve just had a fascinating  discussion with David Hemery, the former Olympic gold medallist hurdler, and founder of 21st Century Legacy, a charity devoted to raising children’s aspirations to greatness. The meeting was set up to explore our apparently opposing views of aspiration.  David is absolutely committed to getting children to find their spark of greatness and to pursue it.  Too many people say how ‘passionate’ they are about something when they don’t really mean it;  David didn’t use the word, but he evidently is, in a very unassuming way, passionate about linking aspiration to social justice.  So he’s for onwards and upwards. By contrast I’m  interested in people –…
Read More

Valuing work – what measures?

Mrs Moneypenny, a Financial Times columnist, wrote this weekend about how depressing she finds it that Mary Barra, the new head of General Motors, is being paid a basic salary of $1.6 million.  This is 25% less than her male equivalent at Ford. The gap is a significant one, and not atypical, though I find it hard to get too worked up about discrimination at this level.  What I find depressing is Mrs M's subsequent argument.  Apparently Ms Barra's predecessor at GM is being rehired as a consultant, at $4m (we aren't told if this is an annual fee, but I assume so). Mrs M comments: "That is someone who…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

We're working our way through a box set of Bergman films, and came last night to Autumn Sonata. It stars Liv Ullman and Ingrid Bergman, as mother and daughter. There's a lot of quite heavy duty digging-down as LU reproaches her mother, a high-flying classical pianist, for neglecting her and, especially, her handicapped sister. In this film at least, Bergman doesn't leave much to the imagination as far as psychological exploration is concerned. At the time, this very explicit examining of parent-child relationships must have been revelatory. It still packs a punch, due especially to Ullman's extraordinarily expressive performance.     There's a scene in which LU, or rather her…
Read More

Honours crossover

Today marks another crossover point:  for the first time more women than men received honours from the Queen.   This must in part be a result of   the educational crossovers that have seen women move steadily ahead in qualifications.    In other words,   it's some reflection of  how women are appearing more in significant positions at work.  Of course women have always figured in the voluntary sector section of the honours list, and received some measure of recognition there - even though at the low end of the honours satis list.  But  the human capital picture (qualifications and skills) is now looking more like the social capital picture…
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

Aspirations and hurdles

I’ve just had a fascinating  discussion with David Hemery, the former Olympic gold medallist hurdler, and founder of 21st Century Legacy, a charity devoted to raising children’s aspirations to greatness. The meeting was set up to explore our apparently opposing views of aspiration.  David is absolutely committed to getting children to find their spark of greatness and to pursue it.  Too many people say how ‘passionate’ they are about something when they don’t really mean it;  David didn’t use the word, but he evidently is, in a very unassuming way, passionate about linking aspiration to social justice.  So he’s for onwards and upwards. By contrast I’m  interested in people –…
Read More

Valuing work – what measures?

Mrs Moneypenny, a Financial Times columnist, wrote this weekend about how depressing she finds it that Mary Barra, the new head of General Motors, is being paid a basic salary of $1.6 million.  This is 25% less than her male equivalent at Ford. The gap is a significant one, and not atypical, though I find it hard to get too worked up about discrimination at this level.  What I find depressing is Mrs M's subsequent argument.  Apparently Ms Barra's predecessor at GM is being rehired as a consultant, at $4m (we aren't told if this is an annual fee, but I assume so). Mrs M comments: "That is someone who…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

We're working our way through a box set of Bergman films, and came last night to Autumn Sonata. It stars Liv Ullman and Ingrid Bergman, as mother and daughter. There's a lot of quite heavy duty digging-down as LU reproaches her mother, a high-flying classical pianist, for neglecting her and, especially, her handicapped sister. In this film at least, Bergman doesn't leave much to the imagination as far as psychological exploration is concerned. At the time, this very explicit examining of parent-child relationships must have been revelatory. It still packs a punch, due especially to Ullman's extraordinarily expressive performance.     There's a scene in which LU, or rather her…
Read More

Honours crossover

Today marks another crossover point:  for the first time more women than men received honours from the Queen.   This must in part be a result of   the educational crossovers that have seen women move steadily ahead in qualifications.    In other words,   it's some reflection of  how women are appearing more in significant positions at work.  Of course women have always figured in the voluntary sector section of the honours list, and received some measure of recognition there - even though at the low end of the honours satis list.  But  the human capital picture (qualifications and skills) is now looking more like the social capital picture…
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

Aspirations and hurdles

I’ve just had a fascinating  discussion with David Hemery, the former Olympic gold medallist hurdler, and founder of 21st Century Legacy, a charity devoted to raising children’s aspirations to greatness. The meeting was set up to explore our apparently opposing views of aspiration.  David is absolutely committed to getting children to find their spark of greatness and to pursue it.  Too many people say how ‘passionate’ they are about something when they don’t really mean it;  David didn’t use the word, but he evidently is, in a very unassuming way, passionate about linking aspiration to social justice.  So he’s for onwards and upwards. By contrast I’m  interested in people –…
Read More

Valuing work – what measures?

Mrs Moneypenny, a Financial Times columnist, wrote this weekend about how depressing she finds it that Mary Barra, the new head of General Motors, is being paid a basic salary of $1.6 million.  This is 25% less than her male equivalent at Ford. The gap is a significant one, and not atypical, though I find it hard to get too worked up about discrimination at this level.  What I find depressing is Mrs M's subsequent argument.  Apparently Ms Barra's predecessor at GM is being rehired as a consultant, at $4m (we aren't told if this is an annual fee, but I assume so). Mrs M comments: "That is someone who…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

We're working our way through a box set of Bergman films, and came last night to Autumn Sonata. It stars Liv Ullman and Ingrid Bergman, as mother and daughter. There's a lot of quite heavy duty digging-down as LU reproaches her mother, a high-flying classical pianist, for neglecting her and, especially, her handicapped sister. In this film at least, Bergman doesn't leave much to the imagination as far as psychological exploration is concerned. At the time, this very explicit examining of parent-child relationships must have been revelatory. It still packs a punch, due especially to Ullman's extraordinarily expressive performance.     There's a scene in which LU, or rather her…
Read More

Honours crossover

Today marks another crossover point:  for the first time more women than men received honours from the Queen.   This must in part be a result of   the educational crossovers that have seen women move steadily ahead in qualifications.    In other words,   it's some reflection of  how women are appearing more in significant positions at work.  Of course women have always figured in the voluntary sector section of the honours list, and received some measure of recognition there - even though at the low end of the honours satis list.  But  the human capital picture (qualifications and skills) is now looking more like the social capital picture…
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

Aspirations and hurdles

I’ve just had a fascinating  discussion with David Hemery, the former Olympic gold medallist hurdler, and founder of 21st Century Legacy, a charity devoted to raising children’s aspirations to greatness. The meeting was set up to explore our apparently opposing views of aspiration.  David is absolutely committed to getting children to find their spark of greatness and to pursue it.  Too many people say how ‘passionate’ they are about something when they don’t really mean it;  David didn’t use the word, but he evidently is, in a very unassuming way, passionate about linking aspiration to social justice.  So he’s for onwards and upwards. By contrast I’m  interested in people –…
Read More

Valuing work – what measures?

Mrs Moneypenny, a Financial Times columnist, wrote this weekend about how depressing she finds it that Mary Barra, the new head of General Motors, is being paid a basic salary of $1.6 million.  This is 25% less than her male equivalent at Ford. The gap is a significant one, and not atypical, though I find it hard to get too worked up about discrimination at this level.  What I find depressing is Mrs M's subsequent argument.  Apparently Ms Barra's predecessor at GM is being rehired as a consultant, at $4m (we aren't told if this is an annual fee, but I assume so). Mrs M comments: "That is someone who…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

We're working our way through a box set of Bergman films, and came last night to Autumn Sonata. It stars Liv Ullman and Ingrid Bergman, as mother and daughter. There's a lot of quite heavy duty digging-down as LU reproaches her mother, a high-flying classical pianist, for neglecting her and, especially, her handicapped sister. In this film at least, Bergman doesn't leave much to the imagination as far as psychological exploration is concerned. At the time, this very explicit examining of parent-child relationships must have been revelatory. It still packs a punch, due especially to Ullman's extraordinarily expressive performance.     There's a scene in which LU, or rather her…
Read More

Honours crossover

Today marks another crossover point:  for the first time more women than men received honours from the Queen.   This must in part be a result of   the educational crossovers that have seen women move steadily ahead in qualifications.    In other words,   it's some reflection of  how women are appearing more in significant positions at work.  Of course women have always figured in the voluntary sector section of the honours list, and received some measure of recognition there - even though at the low end of the honours satis list.  But  the human capital picture (qualifications and skills) is now looking more like the social capital picture…
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

Aspirations and hurdles

I’ve just had a fascinating  discussion with David Hemery, the former Olympic gold medallist hurdler, and founder of 21st Century Legacy, a charity devoted to raising children’s aspirations to greatness. The meeting was set up to explore our apparently opposing views of aspiration.  David is absolutely committed to getting children to find their spark of greatness and to pursue it.  Too many people say how ‘passionate’ they are about something when they don’t really mean it;  David didn’t use the word, but he evidently is, in a very unassuming way, passionate about linking aspiration to social justice.  So he’s for onwards and upwards. By contrast I’m  interested in people –…
Read More

Valuing work – what measures?

Mrs Moneypenny, a Financial Times columnist, wrote this weekend about how depressing she finds it that Mary Barra, the new head of General Motors, is being paid a basic salary of $1.6 million.  This is 25% less than her male equivalent at Ford. The gap is a significant one, and not atypical, though I find it hard to get too worked up about discrimination at this level.  What I find depressing is Mrs M's subsequent argument.  Apparently Ms Barra's predecessor at GM is being rehired as a consultant, at $4m (we aren't told if this is an annual fee, but I assume so). Mrs M comments: "That is someone who…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

We're working our way through a box set of Bergman films, and came last night to Autumn Sonata. It stars Liv Ullman and Ingrid Bergman, as mother and daughter. There's a lot of quite heavy duty digging-down as LU reproaches her mother, a high-flying classical pianist, for neglecting her and, especially, her handicapped sister. In this film at least, Bergman doesn't leave much to the imagination as far as psychological exploration is concerned. At the time, this very explicit examining of parent-child relationships must have been revelatory. It still packs a punch, due especially to Ullman's extraordinarily expressive performance.     There's a scene in which LU, or rather her…
Read More

Honours crossover

Today marks another crossover point:  for the first time more women than men received honours from the Queen.   This must in part be a result of   the educational crossovers that have seen women move steadily ahead in qualifications.    In other words,   it's some reflection of  how women are appearing more in significant positions at work.  Of course women have always figured in the voluntary sector section of the honours list, and received some measure of recognition there - even though at the low end of the honours satis list.  But  the human capital picture (qualifications and skills) is now looking more like the social capital picture…
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

Aspirations and hurdles

I’ve just had a fascinating  discussion with David Hemery, the former Olympic gold medallist hurdler, and founder of 21st Century Legacy, a charity devoted to raising children’s aspirations to greatness. The meeting was set up to explore our apparently opposing views of aspiration.  David is absolutely committed to getting children to find their spark of greatness and to pursue it.  Too many people say how ‘passionate’ they are about something when they don’t really mean it;  David didn’t use the word, but he evidently is, in a very unassuming way, passionate about linking aspiration to social justice.  So he’s for onwards and upwards. By contrast I’m  interested in people –…
Read More

Valuing work – what measures?

Mrs Moneypenny, a Financial Times columnist, wrote this weekend about how depressing she finds it that Mary Barra, the new head of General Motors, is being paid a basic salary of $1.6 million.  This is 25% less than her male equivalent at Ford. The gap is a significant one, and not atypical, though I find it hard to get too worked up about discrimination at this level.  What I find depressing is Mrs M's subsequent argument.  Apparently Ms Barra's predecessor at GM is being rehired as a consultant, at $4m (we aren't told if this is an annual fee, but I assume so). Mrs M comments: "That is someone who…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

We're working our way through a box set of Bergman films, and came last night to Autumn Sonata. It stars Liv Ullman and Ingrid Bergman, as mother and daughter. There's a lot of quite heavy duty digging-down as LU reproaches her mother, a high-flying classical pianist, for neglecting her and, especially, her handicapped sister. In this film at least, Bergman doesn't leave much to the imagination as far as psychological exploration is concerned. At the time, this very explicit examining of parent-child relationships must have been revelatory. It still packs a punch, due especially to Ullman's extraordinarily expressive performance.     There's a scene in which LU, or rather her…
Read More

Honours crossover

Today marks another crossover point:  for the first time more women than men received honours from the Queen.   This must in part be a result of   the educational crossovers that have seen women move steadily ahead in qualifications.    In other words,   it's some reflection of  how women are appearing more in significant positions at work.  Of course women have always figured in the voluntary sector section of the honours list, and received some measure of recognition there - even though at the low end of the honours satis list.  But  the human capital picture (qualifications and skills) is now looking more like the social capital picture…
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

Aspirations and hurdles

I’ve just had a fascinating  discussion with David Hemery, the former Olympic gold medallist hurdler, and founder of 21st Century Legacy, a charity devoted to raising children’s aspirations to greatness. The meeting was set up to explore our apparently opposing views of aspiration.  David is absolutely committed to getting children to find their spark of greatness and to pursue it.  Too many people say how ‘passionate’ they are about something when they don’t really mean it;  David didn’t use the word, but he evidently is, in a very unassuming way, passionate about linking aspiration to social justice.  So he’s for onwards and upwards. By contrast I’m  interested in people –…
Read More

Valuing work – what measures?

Mrs Moneypenny, a Financial Times columnist, wrote this weekend about how depressing she finds it that Mary Barra, the new head of General Motors, is being paid a basic salary of $1.6 million.  This is 25% less than her male equivalent at Ford. The gap is a significant one, and not atypical, though I find it hard to get too worked up about discrimination at this level.  What I find depressing is Mrs M's subsequent argument.  Apparently Ms Barra's predecessor at GM is being rehired as a consultant, at $4m (we aren't told if this is an annual fee, but I assume so). Mrs M comments: "That is someone who…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

We're working our way through a box set of Bergman films, and came last night to Autumn Sonata. It stars Liv Ullman and Ingrid Bergman, as mother and daughter. There's a lot of quite heavy duty digging-down as LU reproaches her mother, a high-flying classical pianist, for neglecting her and, especially, her handicapped sister. In this film at least, Bergman doesn't leave much to the imagination as far as psychological exploration is concerned. At the time, this very explicit examining of parent-child relationships must have been revelatory. It still packs a punch, due especially to Ullman's extraordinarily expressive performance.     There's a scene in which LU, or rather her…
Read More

Honours crossover

Today marks another crossover point:  for the first time more women than men received honours from the Queen.   This must in part be a result of   the educational crossovers that have seen women move steadily ahead in qualifications.    In other words,   it's some reflection of  how women are appearing more in significant positions at work.  Of course women have always figured in the voluntary sector section of the honours list, and received some measure of recognition there - even though at the low end of the honours satis list.  But  the human capital picture (qualifications and skills) is now looking more like the social capital picture…
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

Aspirations and hurdles

I’ve just had a fascinating  discussion with David Hemery, the former Olympic gold medallist hurdler, and founder of 21st Century Legacy, a charity devoted to raising children’s aspirations to greatness. The meeting was set up to explore our apparently opposing views of aspiration.  David is absolutely committed to getting children to find their spark of greatness and to pursue it.  Too many people say how ‘passionate’ they are about something when they don’t really mean it;  David didn’t use the word, but he evidently is, in a very unassuming way, passionate about linking aspiration to social justice.  So he’s for onwards and upwards. By contrast I’m  interested in people –…
Read More

Valuing work – what measures?

Mrs Moneypenny, a Financial Times columnist, wrote this weekend about how depressing she finds it that Mary Barra, the new head of General Motors, is being paid a basic salary of $1.6 million.  This is 25% less than her male equivalent at Ford. The gap is a significant one, and not atypical, though I find it hard to get too worked up about discrimination at this level.  What I find depressing is Mrs M's subsequent argument.  Apparently Ms Barra's predecessor at GM is being rehired as a consultant, at $4m (we aren't told if this is an annual fee, but I assume so). Mrs M comments: "That is someone who…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

We're working our way through a box set of Bergman films, and came last night to Autumn Sonata. It stars Liv Ullman and Ingrid Bergman, as mother and daughter. There's a lot of quite heavy duty digging-down as LU reproaches her mother, a high-flying classical pianist, for neglecting her and, especially, her handicapped sister. In this film at least, Bergman doesn't leave much to the imagination as far as psychological exploration is concerned. At the time, this very explicit examining of parent-child relationships must have been revelatory. It still packs a punch, due especially to Ullman's extraordinarily expressive performance.     There's a scene in which LU, or rather her…
Read More

Honours crossover

Today marks another crossover point:  for the first time more women than men received honours from the Queen.   This must in part be a result of   the educational crossovers that have seen women move steadily ahead in qualifications.    In other words,   it's some reflection of  how women are appearing more in significant positions at work.  Of course women have always figured in the voluntary sector section of the honours list, and received some measure of recognition there - even though at the low end of the honours satis list.  But  the human capital picture (qualifications and skills) is now looking more like the social capital picture…
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

Aspirations and hurdles

I’ve just had a fascinating  discussion with David Hemery, the former Olympic gold medallist hurdler, and founder of 21st Century Legacy, a charity devoted to raising children’s aspirations to greatness. The meeting was set up to explore our apparently opposing views of aspiration.  David is absolutely committed to getting children to find their spark of greatness and to pursue it.  Too many people say how ‘passionate’ they are about something when they don’t really mean it;  David didn’t use the word, but he evidently is, in a very unassuming way, passionate about linking aspiration to social justice.  So he’s for onwards and upwards. By contrast I’m  interested in people –…
Read More

Valuing work – what measures?

Mrs Moneypenny, a Financial Times columnist, wrote this weekend about how depressing she finds it that Mary Barra, the new head of General Motors, is being paid a basic salary of $1.6 million.  This is 25% less than her male equivalent at Ford. The gap is a significant one, and not atypical, though I find it hard to get too worked up about discrimination at this level.  What I find depressing is Mrs M's subsequent argument.  Apparently Ms Barra's predecessor at GM is being rehired as a consultant, at $4m (we aren't told if this is an annual fee, but I assume so). Mrs M comments: "That is someone who…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

We're working our way through a box set of Bergman films, and came last night to Autumn Sonata. It stars Liv Ullman and Ingrid Bergman, as mother and daughter. There's a lot of quite heavy duty digging-down as LU reproaches her mother, a high-flying classical pianist, for neglecting her and, especially, her handicapped sister. In this film at least, Bergman doesn't leave much to the imagination as far as psychological exploration is concerned. At the time, this very explicit examining of parent-child relationships must have been revelatory. It still packs a punch, due especially to Ullman's extraordinarily expressive performance.     There's a scene in which LU, or rather her…
Read More

Honours crossover

Today marks another crossover point:  for the first time more women than men received honours from the Queen.   This must in part be a result of   the educational crossovers that have seen women move steadily ahead in qualifications.    In other words,   it's some reflection of  how women are appearing more in significant positions at work.  Of course women have always figured in the voluntary sector section of the honours list, and received some measure of recognition there - even though at the low end of the honours satis list.  But  the human capital picture (qualifications and skills) is now looking more like the social capital picture…
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

Aspirations and hurdles

I’ve just had a fascinating  discussion with David Hemery, the former Olympic gold medallist hurdler, and founder of 21st Century Legacy, a charity devoted to raising children’s aspirations to greatness. The meeting was set up to explore our apparently opposing views of aspiration.  David is absolutely committed to getting children to find their spark of greatness and to pursue it.  Too many people say how ‘passionate’ they are about something when they don’t really mean it;  David didn’t use the word, but he evidently is, in a very unassuming way, passionate about linking aspiration to social justice.  So he’s for onwards and upwards. By contrast I’m  interested in people –…
Read More

Valuing work – what measures?

Mrs Moneypenny, a Financial Times columnist, wrote this weekend about how depressing she finds it that Mary Barra, the new head of General Motors, is being paid a basic salary of $1.6 million.  This is 25% less than her male equivalent at Ford. The gap is a significant one, and not atypical, though I find it hard to get too worked up about discrimination at this level.  What I find depressing is Mrs M's subsequent argument.  Apparently Ms Barra's predecessor at GM is being rehired as a consultant, at $4m (we aren't told if this is an annual fee, but I assume so). Mrs M comments: "That is someone who…
Read More

Autumn Sonata

We're working our way through a box set of Bergman films, and came last night to Autumn Sonata. It stars Liv Ullman and Ingrid Bergman, as mother and daughter. There's a lot of quite heavy duty digging-down as LU reproaches her mother, a high-flying classical pianist, for neglecting her and, especially, her handicapped sister. In this film at least, Bergman doesn't leave much to the imagination as far as psychological exploration is concerned. At the time, this very explicit examining of parent-child relationships must have been revelatory. It still packs a punch, due especially to Ullman's extraordinarily expressive performance.     There's a scene in which LU, or rather her…
Read More

Honours crossover

Today marks another crossover point:  for the first time more women than men received honours from the Queen.   This must in part be a result of   the educational crossovers that have seen women move steadily ahead in qualifications.    In other words,   it's some reflection of  how women are appearing more in significant positions at work.  Of course women have always figured in the voluntary sector section of the honours list, and received some measure of recognition there - even though at the low end of the honours satis list.  But  the human capital picture (qualifications and skills) is now looking more like the social capital picture…
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