Ben Black, Director, My Family Care

Work+Family Summary: May 2015

Ben Black, Director, My Family Care

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Regular work+family updates for
HR and diversity professionals.

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 and eldercare news to boot...


Christine Lagarde - it's a dog's life

Actually it was researchers from Linkoping University who referred to the dogs. They produced findings illustrating that bitches had infinitely better people skills than their male canine peers!

Madame Lagarde meanwhile, noted that more women at the top of financial institutions would help stop occasional lapses in ethical integrity.

Female leaders

Leisure giant Whitbread appointed Alison Brittan its first female boss. Loretta Lynch made the world take notice by leading the US' assault on Fifa. And Amazon appointed a woman to its number 2 position - Maria Renz becoming Jeff Bezos' shadow.

It wasn't all good news though. Catherine Garret-Cox, otherwise known as Catherine the Great, didn't do herself any favours. Positioning yourself as a great female leader and then complaining about the attention when things go wrong doesn't help the cause.

Government and childcare

The new cabinet arrived in some style breaking all kinds of diversity and gender barriers. More 'free childcare' for working parents is high on the agenda, with plans to increase the free nursery care from 15 to 30 hours a week even being brought forward!

We're watching with interest - the current entitlement to free nursery care is fundamentally flawed...


Interesting stuff from Badenoch & Clark: they spoke to 1,000 women earning over £60k a year about why the glass ceiling persists. It's a good piece of research which shows just how ingrained some of the male behaviours are in the corporate world.

There was also a study from 20-First. Top universities might be churning out 60% female graduates but it's a 60% split in favour of the men by the time they apply for business school. Go figure!

Other news

PwC and Grant Thornton both made tentative strides towards addressing the socio-economic diversity of their leaderships. Looking more broadly than 'A' levels (which favour the best educated rather than the most talented children) is a small but very important first step. Expect other employers to follow suit.

May also saw the launch of the Women's Equality Party; watch this space is the initial message!

Ben Black

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Regular work+family updates for
HR and diversity professionals.