#WomeninLnD 2018

How women are treated at work and what women are able to do in work is an important discussion to have. This blog post is going to grow and change a little bit as new elements come to light, even on the day I published it!

Donald H Taylor recently published a follow up to his 2015 Women don’t get as far in L&D article, Women in L&D – still not at the top. Based on research of 2,635 members of the Learning and Skills Group, it showed that the senior roles in learning and development were filled more often by men than women. An infographic in the article highlights the split in the support roles as predominantly female, the practitioner and mid-authority roles as not quite 50/50 and the massive 69% of senior authority roles that are held by men.

Pay gap

This blog isn’t specifically about the gender pay gap, though that is part of the wider challenge for women in work.

The video below highlights the average differences between male and female pay, which in some cases is a lot. It’s important to note that this average includes both genders at the top and bottom, rather than like for like jobs. However it does highlight that if there are more senior men paid well (which there are a lot of), then this is where the huge disparities can come from.


From Don’s 2015 article, Lauren Keith of Brightwave wrote Why I don’t wear dresses: The status of femininity in the workplace. Lauren wrote about how she feels she behaves differently, “like a girl”, when wearing more feminine clothes and the impact that can have in the workplace. Lauren points out a summary of the problem women in the workplace are dealing with:

  • “We’re not socialised to be as confident and assertive as men.
  • Our ‘feminine’ characteristics are subconsciously judged biasedly by male bosses against a different set of ‘masculine’ ones.
  • Our ‘masculine’ characteristics are considered suspicious by our bosses.”

I’ve experienced men reacting differently to me based on wearing skirts rather than trousers and so on. I didn’t feel offended by it, but is it right that I noticed the difference? Did it have an impact on what or how I was doing something or perceived? Is this something you’ve noticed about yourself or others?

Behaviour at work

A fascinating article on gender in the Harvard Business Review by Gretchen Gavett shared a research study where people wore sensors at work to get data about their interactions, as well as email and meeting schedule data analysis. Shockingly, the results of the analysis showed: “No perceptible differences were observed in the behaviour of men and women. They had the same number of contacts, spent the same amount of time with senior leaders, and allocated their time similarly. They also spend the same amount of time in online and face-to-face conversations. Yet women weren’t advancing and men were.”

The study concluded with “Gender inequality is due to bias, not differences in behaviour.”

Another study looked at bias in online classes, with a field experiment about responses in forum posts from names that denoted gender and race. It found that “instructors are 94% more likely to respond to forum posts by white male students” and that “comments placed by white females are more likely to receive a response from white female peers”. This entrenched gender bias is something that we are not always aware of, but something that needs to be tackled not only at a societal level, but also within organisations.

Our own behaviour

Between the first version of this blog and the second publishing, I was having a Skype text chat with Vivien Hudson as a general catch-up and part of our conversation rang so true to me about the challenges we are discussing here.

Viv is talking about being busy and, before this screen grab, some of the effects that has on her as a person. But the response is a picture of a female super hero – a supermum. That this is just part of being a working mum and she has to get on with it.

And this I think typifies a some of the challenges with our own behaviour and how females are perceived. Viv has been selected for a keynote presentation, which is a huge professional accolade. And whilst excited, she also then immediately adds a comment bringing her down to earth.

Even this morning I got some feedback that I’m too self-deprecating, to the point that it’s annoying and impacts my credibility. And yet we are in a society where we don’t want to be seen as arrogant or big-headed. It’s a challenge. And thanks for the insight Viv and letting me share our conversation.

If you can’t see it…

Going back to Don Taylor’s 2018 article, he found that there were different reactions when he published the piece. There where the “I recognise this” from some women, the push back of “wrong article, wrong title” from a few men and an interesting third reaction from some other men, around the concept of “I’ve always had women bosses”.

On the positive, this is good news – that personal experience doesn’t trump the wider data, but it does add to the conversation. Don’s insight is looking beyond that experience, and focusing on what can’t be so easily seen, which is the blocker to that woman boss getting to the next stage in her career and the organisation hierarchy.

Donald H Taylor and Jo Cook at Online Educa Berlin 2016Don comments on the findings that “as men, it’s not part of our direct experience, so we need to be more vigilant to see evidence of it. That will come from keeping our eyes open, and – importantly – from having open conversations with women about their experience of work.”

If you can’t beat them, leave them?

Don and I got into a conversation about the research sample, the above notes, the “why” is this a problem as well as the “what” we can do about it. Something I had been pondering for a while, as a small business owner, is do more women leave organisations to start out on their own because of this?

In Don’s research he found that gender attainment of senior-authority roles by age showed that there was a difference (i.e. more men were senior) in people’s early 20s of 5%, through to a much bigger 11% by the time people are in their 50s, with that gap really growing from age 40 onwards.

However when Don and I dug into the unpublished data a bit more, I was surprised. Companies with 20-100 employees had 75% men and even smaller companies of under 20 employees had 70% men in their makeup. My experience is of knowing many female company owners, consultants or the self-employed – but my experience is very obviously biased!

What to do about it?

This is a huge issue, related to history, geography, culture and so much more. Looking at this through an international lens Sue Bryant wrote for Country Navigator with some ideas that can help women in different leadership cultures.

In this Training Journal article from 2015, women in senior L&D roles were asked how they got to their positions, with elements such as authenticity, establishing a reputation to have a voice and flexibility being commented upon. In the article, “finding the right organisation” was a key piece of advice. In Don’s article he points out that women appear more likely to achieve senior-authority roles in larger organisations. Why is that? Culture? HR policies? Something else you can suggest?

Watch the panel discussion I was a part of and of course, your thoughts and comments below.

Learning Technologies 2018 – videos and more!

Learning Technologies is a huge free exhibition and paid-for conference in London every year. I’ve been going for more years than I care to remember and it gets better every year.

You can see the conference programme here.

You can see all of the tweets on #LT18UK. The back channel is a great way to get involved with an event if you aren’t there in person.

Day one exhibition walkabout

Ar Deputy Editor of TJ, I thought doing a live Periscope video broadcast at the exhibition might be a great way to get the message out from some of the exhibitors, as well as highlight the event to people who aren’t sure about coming, or can’t make it.

This walkabout included:

There was some great feedback on the exhibition walkabout, so we decided to do more on day two!

Quick reflection

Towards the end of day one Jon Kennard, Editor of Training Journal, and I did a quick review video:

Towards Maturity research launch

L&D research company Towards Maturity exclusively launched their latest annual benchmark report at LT18 and I was proud to do the Periscope live video broadcast of it from TJ. This was delivered by Laura Overton and Genny Dixon.

Day one reflection with Mike


  • David Kelly and Steve Wheeler
  • Charles Jennings
  • Sukh Pabial
  • Towards Maturity and Laura Overton
  • And more

Day two walkabout one

Walkabout two

The final walkabout

#LT18UK second day reflection with Mike

Mike and I reflection day two, talking about:

One of Mike’s tweets was included in the DPG Storify round up too!

Ross Garner from GoodPractice did a great “1 second a day” video, which gives a lovely insight to activities:



Learning Exchanges at Learning Technologies Exhibition

Jo and Sunder Ramachandran after the Learning eXchange at the Learning Technologies Conference

Another year, another Learning Technologies conference and exhibition – and more Learning eXchanges!

The Learning eXchanges are an opportunity to have a more intimate and informal conversation with Conference speakers, on the free exhibition floor.

These conversations are always hosted on the Towards Maturity stand and co-facilitated between TM and Training Journal.

Read more about the 2018 eXchange programme here.

And on Twitter you can follow these specifically with #LT18ex this year.

Want a flavour of what to expect or if you should bother to sign up? Read more below from me on previous years 😀

Making the most of your live online session webinar recording

In case you missed the sold-out Learning Technologies Summer Forum Conference session from Jo Cook, this was a chance to get all the same information!

Click here to watch the webinar recording.


The LTSF17 session description and what is covered in the webinar version too


Click here to see tweets of the Learning Technologies Summer Forum 2017 session.


Click to register for the free Lightbulb Moment webinars with Jo Cook!



Tweets covering the LTSF17 live online learning conference session

“Making the most of your live online session” was the presentation I delivered at Learning Technologies Conference Summer Forum 2017.

Click for LTSF webinar session description

LTSF webinar session description

These are the tweets that covered my session about webinars and the virtual classroom.

Ady Howes had a 360 degree camera and recorded the session. I’ll update this page when we have a video link!

My session was one of the last of the day, against stiff competition of conference Chairman himself, Donald H Taylor, as well as 702010 God Charles Jennings! I still had a packed, sold out room though.

As Kate mentions, each conference session has a person tweeting the highlights, which was the lovely Joan Keevill.

Many thanks to @Obhi and @Designs_JoanK for their tweets.

Remember to download the paper that goes with this session.

And you can also join us for the webinar version!

#LTMOOC16 Technology to enhance

For the Beyond The Next Button MOOC from Curatr we are asked to research some technology and share about it. This is good as, to be honest, without being MADE to do it, I would have read some stuff and moved on. I wouldn’t have truly got involved. 


I enjoyed reading about Periscope, for live video broadcast via Twitter. This has been used a lot by Kate Graham at Learning Technologies and I look forward to using this for some live events myself.

2016-04-02 12.48.02

I had a play with it last night on my iPhone and it was pretty easy to install the app, link with Twitter and start broadcasting. It took a couple of goes to play with a few basic tools, such as how to stop broadcasting!

It took a bit more looking and Googling to follow Kate Graham’s advice to save video to the device to be used later – – Periscope broadcast videos are only live for 24 hours.

I think one of the challenging things with something like Periscope is the “live broadcast” element of it. I used a Twitter account that I no longer use, so it’s basically a test rather than going out to all my followers or that of Training Journal, which is where I want to use the technology.

However there is also benefit in Working Out Loud and I will probably do this now from @LightbulbJo so that I can get feedback from my Personal Learning Network, share what I’m learning and also encourage others to do the same.

Phone technology

The other thing I’ve been playing with is a new phone. I have a Samsung Galaxy S5 that runs on Android paying system. Great phone, love it, no need to change other than upgrade hardware soon.

For a particular client and training programme soon, I need to know the hardware they have, which is a company provided iPhone 5c. So I got one off of eBay for a hundred quid, a cheap SIM for £1 (backup phone now on a different network, which is always useful) and started playing with it.

Largely I’m  using it as a small wifi tablet and must admit is turning into my Training Journal device (I’m Deputy Editor part time).

It’s interesting to consider whether it’s useful to be comfortable using technology that’s similar but different, meaning you have to be agile and flexible in your use; or if its confusing and annoying when things are in different places!

The unexpected highlight of the new-to-me iPhone is the time lapse camera. How can I use this to record something for ages, but have a super speed version to look at? Set it up in a corner whilst I deliver a webinar to see what I do behind the scenes? Put it at a training day to show people moving around? Don’t know yet, something that has got my creative juices flowing!

Also on the MOOC…

Ian Helps shared about Biteable for video editing and I want to try this out soon.

With the amount of tools available, I love this comment:

Gosh, where to begin? I think this just emphasises the need to identify the problem first. Then maybe think of a creative solution (i.e. if tech could do anything, could it do this?). Then trial 2-3 niche tools.

Craig Taylor, who designed and is facilitating the MOOC, shared a curated list of top technical tools: http://c4lpt.co.uk/top100tools/

Right, back to the programme and learning more!