Ben Black's monthly summary of everything you need to know about work+family - female leadership, flexible working, gender diversity, and a bit of childcare/eldercare news to boot...
Gender Pay Gap
April was all about the gender pay gap. Have a look at the BBC's gender pay gap summary for a great overview. If you were hoping the reporting requirements would work like a magic wand then it's all very depressing.
As many firms actually reported an increased pay gap as reported a smaller one. Helena Morrissey was at her angry best, castigating the hot air spouted by modern (and mostly male) CEOs and their woolly commitments to fixing it.
Measuring is just the first step
But here's the thing, at least we are finally measuring it. That's an important first step. Fixing gender pay is going to take an awfully long time. If it could be done easily it would have already happened. And don't necessarily criticise those employers - like the public sector overall - where the gender pay gap has increased. One of the many fixes is better hiring in the first place. Recruiting more women into the junior ranks isn't going to look very pretty initially for the results.
Bigger challenge to change attitudes
The bigger challenge, though, isn't about employers. It's society as a whole, and changing years of embedded attitudes and practices about the different roles of men and women.
When it comes to society, it's not only about convincing girls that it's ok to take STEM subjects and have careers and start businesses. It's also about men becoming carers, nannies, nurses and secretaries.
Male-dominated AI world
To understand the tortuous journey that society needs to go on have a look at Google's recent travails. Google is an amazing business and an amazing employer. But it's also quite a male place - understandable because it hires techies and coders who are mainly men.
Artificial intelligence is going to shape society for the next hundred years, and guess who is writing it all? Yep. It's nearly all men. That's not really Google's fault but that hasn't stopped it being blamed anyway.
Shared Parental Leave
One of the keys to closing the gender pay gap is convincing more men to take up shared parental leave. There are various reasons the take up has been so low. One of them is mothers not wanting to share their hard-earned leave. I know! Back to my point about societal shifts from both men and women.
April saw the TUC calling for a shift in the SPL to increase the incredibly disappointing take-up to date.
Individual companies in the news
- O2 extended paid parental leave to 14 weeks across the globe
- Diageo decided to offer all parents, men and women, a full 52 weeks of parental leave with the first 26 weeks being fully paid
- Daejeon Holdings, this little-known property giant got headlines of the other kind when it became the only FTSE 250 company still without a female director.
Closure of children's centres
The slow demise of the Sure Start children's centres continued with Lambeth announcing the closure of a further five. About a third of all children's centres have now closed. Building a Council funded children's centre in a deprived area is great. Building them everywhere and competing head on with the private sector never made much sense to anyone.
Top employers for women
And finally, the Times released its list of the top 50 employers for women. No less than 31 were clients of the Bright Horizons Work+Family group. Congratulations to one and all.