I’ve been living a sheltered and abnormal life in London. In my everyday work almost all my colleagues are thoughtful and reflective, and the working environment generally supportive. I spend plenty of my free time with people for whom gender and equality issues are extremely important, and I’ve spent more time in Sweden in the last 2 years than in any country other than the UK. I get my news from the internet, using mainstream but serious news channels such as the BBC, hence avoiding advertising and overt gender stereotypes.
Yet here this week in Berlin at Young KÃ¶nigswinter something is not right. Despite this being a conference for young people, very traditional gender roles have been clear to see. The men are the ones doing the talking (I’m guilty of that too…), the panels are dominated by men, and above all in social situations a certain masculine dominance is pervasive. Maybe the reasons why Germany and the UK have some of the largest gender pay gaps in Europe should be on the agenda at next year’s conference.