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A Third of Women Take on the Role of Breadwinner

20th July 2010

Today a new survey has announced that a third of women – around 30% - are currently earning more than their partners.  19% are reported to be earning approximately the same and 1 in 10 has a husband who stays at home while they go out to work.  Only 11% of those questioned had any desire to “stop working completely”.  The findings were cited by Grazia magazine in their ‘Work and Women Survey 2010’ and there is speculation that the effect of the recession on male employment may be a factor.  A study completed by Portsmouth University very recently also claimed that men are less enthusiastic about work until they near their retirement and then there is a sudden leap, thereby encouraging companies to hang onto older male workers who are reportedly more “engaged”.  Such surveys are very  important and do trace important trends and yet there is always more than meets the eye beneath the surface of quantitative data, especially as the first survey only questioned 2000 women and the Portsmouth study focused solely on educational organisations. 

In other areas for example, women are still under-represented in the work-force, especially in the world of science and technology.  Last week the Equality Minister Lynne Featherstone announced that only 5.3% of employed women worked in science as she launched a new report at Westminster called ‘Women Mean Business: Why Women are Essential to Science, Engineering and Technology’.  There are a few rare and very talented exceptions including the likes of keynote speaker Baroness Susan Greenfield CBE who was the first female Director of The Royal Institution of Great Britain and has been experiencing her own discriminatory struggles of late.  Other great speakers include Rachel Armstrong who has developed her own entirely sustainable ‘living systems’ for use in everything from architecture to the human body, and ecological journalist, speaker and awards host Lucy Siegle who writes regularly for the Observer. 
In terms of inspiring female entrepreneurs in the world of work and business, Jo Fairley (the co-founder of Green & Blacks), Kanya King, Deborah Meaden, Jo Elvin, Michelle Mone OBE, Karren Brady and Mary Portas have all forged a path in male-dominated worlds.  In political terms, Diane Abbott has had to take a break from filming This Week with Michael Portillo to focus on the Labour leadership campaign and Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller also featured on the news today, taking her seat at the Iraq Enquiry as former Director-General of MI5 from 2002-2007.  Eliza is a truly memorable keynote speaker, alongside Dame Stella Rimmington, also former Director of MI5.

Women are certainly moving forwards but discrepancies also remain, and questions of male identity and their role in the workplace and at home are also on the table for discussion - as highlighted by the arrival of the new radio programme ‘Men’s Hour’ which had its very first airing this Sunday on Radio 5 Live with guest interviewees Andy McNab and Hugh Dennis.  It may take a while to achieve the success and acclaim of the long-established Woman’s Hour on Radio 4 with Jenni Murray but it will be interesting to see how it fares over the next few months.

Whether a memorable male or female speaker is what you need, we work with a huge range of both.  Our central concern is to find the right speaker for your event. 

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