Top choices

- Mandy Coalter from Harvard Business Review

We need nuanced solutions to business’ gender challenge

Solutions to gender inequality in business are simple in concept but tricky in implementation

I recently asked my four-year-old son what he wants to be when he grows up. His reply surprised me: ‘A daddy’. ‘And what job would you like to do?’ I enquired. ‘I could work half the week,’ he said, ‘and then look after my child the other half.’

Although he was holding a mirror to the life of his own parents I was terribly proud of my modern young man. We are seeing a shift in society where the desire for flexible working, time with family, and the other joys of life are no longer simply the preserves of women. However, it will take a drive from men who want to work more flexibly to change the way we as a society currently view part-time working: as low status, low paid and career-limiting.

HR magazine’s recent online article ‘Women “hugely outnumbered” on boards’ reflects the fact that we still have a long way to go, with fewer than half of companies having increased their female representation over the last few years. Despite the achievements that followed the Davies review, female representation remains stubbornly low, particularly in executive director roles. It was heartening to see the NHS announce that it will be striving for half of board directors to be women – however, one wonders if that is ambitious enough in a sector that employs more than 75% women.

Read more