The pay gap between men and women is increasing. And one of the main reasons for this is because women aren't getting the promotions or progressing with their careers at the same rate as men. The current rules around flexible working are not robust enough (employees can request flexible working but employers can just as easily refuse it), and attitudes need to change.
Everyone has the right to request flexible working, whether or not you are a parent or a carer. And flexible working comes in many forms. It's not just about working fewer hours. It could be working compressed hours, or from home, or agreeing different hours during term time and the school holidays.
It's a simple fact that without good teachers, recognised and rewarded as highly skilled professionals and with working conditions to enable them to focus on teaching and learning, children and young people will not receive their entitlement to high quality education provision. Yet that simple fact seems to be alien to too many of those employing and managing the teaching workforce.
Flexible working is just one example of a policy area in which I hope to bridge the gap between the 'average' man and WE, which I see as a key area WE need to focus on. Some of my favourite people in the entire world are men - my husband and three young sons being top of the list! My message is that WE are not anti-men, WE don't want to see men airbrushed out of society, in fact, WE believe that equality for all will mean a better deal for women AND men.
The AAT study suggests that the reasons are highly complex and often linked. While there is criticism about the kind of information that the government wants to see published and the lack of any analysis or context to it, it is surely a step forward. It is hard to deal with a problem in the absence of hard data, even if the data itself needs to be subject to analysis.
I think flexible working is the new way forward and for us and our market, it is the only way forward. Now is the time for employers to be brave, to seize the opportunity and embrace the future model of working. Flexible working is not just about a better work/life balance, but about making us all - employees and businesses alike - more effective.
It was, in coffee shops of all sizes and variants, that our imaginations seemed to really come alive, thrown into greater relief by dint of the creative environment we inhabited. They were places of leisure, places of conversation - places of work, I noted, watching heads bent studiously over textbooks or poring over sketchbooks.
Much as City firms have benefited significantly from developing innovative flexible working schemes to attract and retain talented staff, it strikes me that a solution that could go a long way in addressing GP recruitment issues is actually to encourage more flexible working, for both sexes, not to try and restrict it.