This website is now an archive following Jo Swinson's election to Parliament in June 2017.
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The Resolution Foundation has released that shows while the gender pay gap is narrowing for women in their 20s, it remains stubbornly persistent across the generations for women in their 30s and 40s. I discussed the issue on BBC's Radio 4 Today programme with commentator Jill Kirby, who argued that it the choices of women that drive the pay divide. You can listen to our full 5 minute exchange (skip to 01:51:48) or there is a 2 minute clip of part of our debate .
The Foreign Office was buzzing today, hosting TEDxWhitehallWomen: one member of staff told me how counter-intuitive it was to have people singing in the usually straight-laced, formal, gilded surroundings. I have such fond memories of the people I worked with in Whitehall when I was a Minister, so doing my first TEDx talk in Whitehall felt homely, despite the imposing environment.
The topic of TEDxWhitehallWomen is ‘time’. My message today is to let dads have the time to be dads.
Beware the “shrill equal pay brigade”, warned a Conservative MP in Parliament last month. While his sexist rhetoric displayed a staggering disdain for those championing fairer workplaces, he also managed to miss the point. Equal pay is only part of the picture – we need a better informed debate about gender equality in the workplace.
That’s why mandatory Gender Pay Gap reporting for large employers from April 2017 onwards is so important.
Government is often criticised for moving at a snail-like pace. Not this summer. The speed of politics has been breath-taking: from Cameron’s resignation to the Game of Thrones-esque Conservative leadership race, then the installation of a new Prime Minister and Government with ruthless efficiency the Labour party can only dream of. As the dust settles and the long process of negotiations begins, Brexit has shown us a country divided. Anyone viewing this as solely a political matter is missing a dimension.
On Monday night hosted an , on the idea of corporate purpose. It included gems such as the Patagonia philosophy of “let my people go surfing”, allowing employees time away from work to catch the best waves whenever they like, as long as they don’t let co-workers down. Yesterday I took part in the , in a panel event about going beyond compliance, towards a mindset of positively doing the right thing. CBI President Paul Drechsler set the scene with a passionate call for business to work as a force for good, and Telefonica O2 CEO Ronan Dunne posed the conundrum of business crying out for digital skills – yet ignoring the huge pool of digital talent in unemployed young people.
“People are the greatest asset for our organisation” – how often do we hear business leaders say that? But does the reality of the employee experience match the rhetoric, and do we even have the information to make that judgement?
There is much truth in the adage, ‘what gets measured gets done’, yet when it comes to understanding what is happening with the people – or ‘human capital’ – in an organisation, we are still in the early stages of working out how to measure it.
In a matter of hours, more than 30,000 people have signed a petition in support of Nicola Thorp, who was sent home without pay by temping company Portico for refusing to buy a pair of high heels to wear at her receptionist assignment at PwC. She was told flat shoes were not part of the dress code (which specified a heel height between 2 and 4 inches), and is calling for a change in the law. ACAS have a handy video about what can and can’t be in company dress codes, with more detailed information on their website. However it is not entirely clear cut.
Today is the first anniversary of couples being able to use shared parental leave.
Jo Swinson, who introduced shared parental leave while a Minister at the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, commented: “Shared parental leave can be the catalyst for long-overdue change to outdated stereotypes about men and women in the home and in the workplace. Changing the law to allow shared parental leave is my proudest achievement, though changing the culture to promote take-up is the ongoing challenge."
It would have looked odd to anyone walking past the glass-walled office, seeing me jumping up and down excitedly in high heels — rather unMinisterial. I
It was last March, and I’d just found out that we’d got “clearance” (Government-speak for agreement) for a new law to make large employers publish their gender pay gap. In the dying days of the last Parliament, the pressure was on to get the Small Business Bill passed.
I had spotted the chance to make gender pay reporting a reality, after 5 years of coalition stalemate, and convinced Nick Clegg that if we picked the fight again now we might win. As the election approached, I calculated the Conservatives would blink first.