In today’s ‘The week that was…’ – the correct figure for women in leadership is 50%, NUS summit on lad culture in higher education discusses the role of students’ union leaders and does an employee’s same sex partner have equal right to receive a survivor’s pension?

Professor Binna Kandola OBE asks,”Given that women are as equally capable of being leaders both now and in the future, why does the Davies report aim for a mere 25% on female board representation and why does the 30% Club set the target five points higher?” Calling these figures “arbitrary”, Kandola argues that the “correct figure is clearly 50%”. He also adds that leadership criteria is still contained of overwhelmingly ‘male’ attributes. This is not to say that women can’t/don’t have those attributes but that these attributes, such as vision, engagement, deployment, are so strongly associated with men that it would be simpler to say: “We’re looking for a bloke.”

The National Union of Students recently held a summit on ‘Confronting lad culture in higher education‘. Among other issues, the role of students’ union society leaders was discussed: “It is typically these leaders who are responsible for coming up with initiation ideas, or even writing misogynistic group emails…” Some students’ unions are taking charge and Oxford University has introduced ‘Good Lad workshops’ for men in such positions. These workshops discuss issues of masculinity, consent and peer pressure.

A recent case dealt with whether an employee’s same sex partner had the right to receive a survivor’s benefit under an employer’s occupational pension scheme. The claim of discrimination was upheld by the Employment Tribunal on the basis that paying a civil partner less under the survivor’s pension than a hypothetical wife was unlawful. The Tribunal said that the Equality Act 2010 (section 61) requires every occupational pension scheme to have a non-discrimination rule. However, the Employment Appeal Tribunal overturned the Tribunal’s decision on the basis that civil partners could not claim equal treatment for the period prior to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 coming into force.

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