“I would not want to join the culture. It’s really insidious and I have witnessed too many women fail. Women I have admired, women who have succeeded previously. All torn apart, all gone. It’s a hideous male macho culture at the top with favourites and deals in smoke filled rooms. It’s the first time in 25 years I have seen it this bad”. Not many organisations would be open and self-critical enough to publish this sort of comment from their staff. The civil service leadership and Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, should get credit for that openness. But they also need to take responsibility for what has happened – the survey underpinning the plan contains a number of comments that the prevailing Civil Service culture is inimical to women (or anyone different) succeeding – and that there has not just been stalling, but a reversal of progress over the last four years. These are issues the Institute has drawn attention to in earlier blogs, and they have also been debated in our Women Leaders events. So what happens next? The plan makes proposals for tackling issues around flexible working, maternity and shared parental leave – to reduce the […]

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