Ben Black, Director, My Family Care

Work+Family Summary: Oct 2015

Ben Black, Director, My Family Care

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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...


Talented women and diverse boards

The business case for getting more talented women to the top at the expense, presumably, of some of the less talented men just gets stronger and stronger.

McKinsey looked at how much advancing women's equality across the world would contribute to the global economy and came up with the figure of $12 trillion (yes, you read that correctly). McKinsey's also busy with Sheryl Sandberg's LeanIn organisation to look at just how under-represented women are across the world. A wearily familiar picture emerges. It's depressing. Diverse boards just work better. And for the hard data have a look at Grant Thornton's brilliant Women in Business survey.

With FTSE 100 companies reaching their voluntary target of 25% women, Lord Davies is challenging FTSE 350 firms to raise the bar and attain 33% by 2020.

Extending shared parental leave to grandparents

It might have been poo-pooed as a gimmick but we thought the plan to extend shared parental leave to grandparents was entirely sensible.

Elsewhere everything seems slightly quiet on the childcare front currently. It's easy to understand why - the Tories plans on childcare are fundamentally flawed. A rethink is underway. It's all a bit of a mess but still better than careering off in the wrong direction. The Family and Childcare Trust's "National Family Report Card" illustrated quite neatly how confusion around childcare is pushing the UK down the list of the world's most family-friendly places.

Societal change is needed

We'll never get to be that happy thing called "equal" until some of society's deep-seated stigmas are smashed.

The Journal of Law and Human Behaviour isn't everyone's normal bedtime reading but have a look at their study: Anger Reduces Women's Ability to Influence Others. Men get angry and their influence increases; women get angry and their influence decreases. That's just wrong.

It's Good to be Queen - It's Easier to be King is a fascinating look at just how's society's expectations can turn the tiny psychological differences between the genders into a Men and from Mars; Women are from Venus version of reality that we all know so well.

In that context great to see the new Barbie advert showing her doing all kinds of proper jobs!

Eldercare - I could write the same summary each month

This time it's the Health and Social Care Information Centre highlighting the state of our social care. More interesting is the analysis from Age UK. One of the primary reasons for the NHS's financial woes is the huge additional burden placed on it by elderly people failed by the social care support available.

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It all seemed to be happening in London in October

Has London really become the world's capital for feminists? First we had the premiere of Suffragette and then the all-conquering Balanced Business Forum rolling in to town.

We also had Tina Brown doing her thing at the Women in the World Conference and even the Feminism in London conference. Phew.

And finally - recognising female artists

The Surrealists were quite a liberal egalitarian lot weren't they? But have you ever noticed just how few women make the list of the world's most famous modern artists. Sotheby's Cherchez La femme show demonstrated that the talent was always there; just not the recognition.

Ben Black


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Regular work+family updates for
HR and diversity professionals.