Monday, 18 August 2014

We can do this on our own terms
I am so pleased that Claire Murphy took me out for lunch a year or so ago and shared her idea to create a women's mentoring project under the PR Week umbrella. It's been a great project - she gathered a group of some great mentors and matched them with high potential women looking for mentoring.  I've been very fortunate to work with a wonderful mentee and I've learned a lot from hearing her perspective and priorities. It's a great scheme and I hope it continues.  Here's a short video interview I did last week talking about it.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

It's official - you really do love us for our brains

Belle of the ball: Carol Vorderman is joined by two male models as she showcases's latest range
Source ISME, published Daily Mail
I confess I have always found Carol Vorderman irritating.  I feel bad about this - she is after all a world class maths genius and by any standards a successful role model for women. But my dark heart found those Christmas adverts for ISME made me want to throw things at the set. I'm sure you remember la
Vorderman  'smouldering' as I think the taboloid jargon has it. She posed with men young enough to be her sons in skin tight dresses, saying in accompanying interviews that her figure is a 'Ten Ton Tessie'.  Right.  Bring on the support girlfriend.  But last week I had an epiphany.  I agreed with her. Well it's August, no real news, a two week heatwave, I might put this down to temporary summer madness. 

She was writing about a story which was picked up widely in the media saying that men now preferred 'brainy' women.  Vorderman explained that .."the research published  in the American Socialogical Review analysed US marriage statistics between 1950 and 2000, and found that marriages in which the wife is more intelligent than the husband are no more likely to fail than if the balance is the other way round. Men have learnt to live with women who are cleverer than they are – and about time, too".

Does this mean that finally men find us more attractive for our personalities and brilliant insight than more prosaic merits? Hmm.  I'd like to believe that but if you read the paper carefully it says that as women's education continues to increase faster than men's (a very well documented trend across the developed world) more marriages consist of women who have more years of education that their partners - up to nearly a third from 20 per cent in the early 1970s. Which makes sense if you think about it.

Education is certainly the key.  LV did a great piece of research last summer which showed that women made up nearly half of primary breadwinners in their household. And the women in the survey put this progress down to better education: 
Women are much more likely to apply to university than men, UCAS figures show.
Source: The Daily Telegraph
Looking at the key reasons why these women believe they’ve been more successful in their earnings than their partners, the majority put it down to “education, education, education”. Reflecting the tendency for girls to outperform boys at all levels of education, over half (54%) of female breadwinners claim to have better GCSE and A-Level results than their partners, while 47% also have a superior university degree. Almost two thirds (60%) believe that these achievements have been extremely helpful in securing them high-flying jobs and aiding their progression up the career ladder.

According to figures released last week by the University and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS), a third more women than men applied for university entrance in 2014and the gap is widening year on year.

Women having real confidence that they don't need to trade between looking good and being bright to have a stable long term partnership is great news.  We should champion this with young women.  Thanks Carol - hat's off to you.