The Great Debate UK
Savita Kumra is a senior lecturer at Brunel Business School. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters will host a follow-the-sun live blog on March 8, 2011 to mark the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.
I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I get a feeling of déjà vu every time I see a headline decrying the lack of women on FTSE boards. Most recently, focus has been on the dearth of female non-executive directors on such boards and the solution of choice seems to be a number of organizations springing up to ‘mentor’ women so they are ready and able to take up these positions when the call comes.
Quite why this is seen as the way forward; when the approach has been tried for at least 10 years is not fully explained. What is clear is that the painfully slow progress of women onto FTSE boards is a fact and as Rittel and Webber would put it, a ‘wicked’ problem whose solution is as elusive as its continued presence as an issue is frustrating.
A recently commissioned study shows that of the 1,772 non-executive positions available on FTSE 350 boards; only 204 (11.5 percent) are held by women. Of those who make it, we know from work done at Cranfield School of Management that they are more likely than their male counterparts to have titles, they are more likely to have experience in a greater number of sectors and they are more likely to have greater experience serving on minor boards before breaking into the major leagues of the FTSE.
Ruth Simpson is professor in management at Brunel Business School in West London and founding member of the Centre for Research in Emotion Work and Employment Studies. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters is hosting a live blog for the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2011.
Are we in a post-feminist era or are conventional images of masculinity and femininity re-surfacing in society? I argue that rather than gender disadvantage being a thing of the past, as captured in understandings of post-feminism, gender is becoming more entrenched. In fact post-feminism itself – the belief that sexism is over – has allowed renewed disadvantage to emerge.
Susan Buckingham is a Professor in the Centre for Human Geography and Director of Social Work, at Brunel University in West London. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters is hosting a live blog on March 8, 2011, to mark International Women’s Day.
In a recent public lecture on “Changing Britain” at Brunel University, I explored the proposition that society is becoming feminised. I examined current pay and employment data to argue that, while some statistics can be used to argue that some women are becoming more equal with men in some areas, the failure of women to significantly penetrate key decision making bodies, and continuing horizontal job segregation means that “girl power” is more a chimera than reality in the UK today.
Caroline Gatrell is a Senior Lecturer at Lancaster University Management School. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters will host a follow-the-sun live blog on March 8, 2011, the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.
It is around 35 years since equal opportunities legislation came into force in the UK. In theory, this should mean that employed women are treated fairly at work, and paid the same as men in equivalent jobs.
-Geoff Trickey is managing director of The Psychological Consultancy. The opinions expressed are his own.-
France is being rocked by its biggest financial scandal as Societe Generale is standing against ‘rogue trader’ Jerome Kerviel who is accused of gambling away nearly five billion euros. The core tenet of the argument comes down to risk. That as an employee Jerome was “encouraged” by his bosses to take risks while his bosses accuses him of taking “inhuman” risks.
-Dave Coplin is national technology officer at Microsoft. Any opinions expressed are his own.-
The British economy may technically be out of recession, but it is still not creating the jobs and growth needed to turn back the clock to the upbeat days of the past. And with a looming fiscal crisis, it’s not hard to see why some commentators are predicting the terminal decline of the British economy. I don’t think the situation for Britain is dire — yet. But if businesses want to regenerate economic engines in the future they do need to change.
-Damian Stancombe is head of corporate defined contribution at Punter Southall. The opinions expressed are his own.-
Pensions were a prominent feature of the chancellors’ debate recently, and are becoming a key battleground in the run-up to the election. Perhaps more interesting for us, however, has been the reaction of UK plc to the pensions issue and any government-led ‘solution’.
-Melanie Franklin is CEO at Maven Training. The opinions expressed are her own.-
Businesses should have learned by now, from the unexpected eruptions of volcanic ash and the global havoc it has wreaked, that flexibility, creativity and the ability to adapt to an unpredictable environment is crucial to survival.
Having the skills to manage a crisis, such as what to do when 25 percent of the workforce may not turn up to work on Monday morning and how to manage the impact, is vital. Those that learned such project management skills will have been putting contingency plans in place as early as Thursday – when the mass flight cancellations started totting up into the thousands.
Your business is Peter Harwood’s business — at least it becomes his business if you seek the help of employment relations service Acas to help mediate a collective conflict in your workplace.
As chief conciliator at the Advisory, Concilation and Arbitration Service, Harwood has mediated hundreds of employment tribunal cases over the past 20 years, including recent high-profile disputes between British Airways and Unite union; Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union; Network Rail and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers; oil company Total and Unite.
Businesses and employees embroiled in conflict are tapping into a free conciliation service to avoid expensive employment tribunal claims at a rate that has doubled since September 2009, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service reports.
Acas, governed by an independent council funded by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills, fields about 87,000 tribunal cases a year to sort out disputes between employers and employees.