Charlotte Street Partners



How after has worked out before

Written by Sabina Kadić-Mackenzie, partner
6 February 2020

This is the value of my unpaid work each year. Childcare, cleaning, cooking – money or time, it all adds up to too much whichever way you look at it.
Still, despite spending more time at home than ever over the past 12 months, most of us are struggling to find adequate time for family, work, and even ourselves.
I was struck this week by Louise O’Shea’s comments on just this subject. As a mother and the chief executive of, she made the observation that mums at work don’t take any nonsense, because, she says, “they simply don’t have time to”.
My colleagues might agree. But doesn’t that apply to dads too, you ask? Of course it does, and in increasing numbers. We have the lockdown to thank for that.
Lockdown, combined with school closures, has hit working mums and dads hard, but as the first piece in this week’s Read on the Street shows, further change is afoot. Whereas flexible working was once reserved for a minority, the approach to home working we are all experiencing now is going to significantly help parents in the future – but only if business leaders integrate the lessons we have learned into their strategies for the aftermath.
** You can gauge the value of your own unpaid using this nifty calculator from the Office of National Statistics. Let us know how you fared @cstreetpartners.

  1. The flexible working conundrum

Let’s discuss the childcare crisis. A survey in 2015 conducted by job site Working Mums, found that more than a fifth of working mothers said that they were forced to leave their job because a flexible working request was turned down. In 2019, 32% of working parents reported that they felt discriminated against because of their flexible working arrangements.
With flexible working now becoming the norm, the question remains – why did it take a global pandemic for companies to finally address what mothers have been campaigning for all along?
Read in Wired.

2. The economist placing value on black women’s overlooked work

Every year, women do trillions of pounds worth of unpaid household work across the globe. In the United States alone, that total amounted to roughly $1.2 trillion in 2019, a figure nearly the size of the New York State economy. Now Nina Banks, an associate professor of economics at Bucknell University, is taking that idea a step further. She argues there is another form of work that has been historically overlooked: community activism by Black and other marginalized women.
Read in The Economist.

3. Covid brought toxic work culture online

Working from home has blurred the line between professional and personal behaviour. Ellen Pao observes that without guidelines, the tools used for remote working risk enabling bullying and discrimination.
Read in Wired.

4. The world Amazon made

Jeff Bezos’ relentless quest for ‘customer ecstasy’ made him one of the world’s richest people – now he’s looking to the unlimited resources of space. Will he mastermind the consumerism of the future?
Read in The Guardian.

5. What happened after civilisation collapsed

On occasion over the past year, it’s been tempting to feel like we are living through the end of days, but what would the real thing actually be like? The Bronze Age began around 5,000 years ago, and two millennia later had resulted in a prosperous, globalised and connected hub of ancient civilisations. Then it collapsed violently and suddenly, and we are still not entirely sure why. NPR’s excellent Throughline series looks at what might have happened, and the options strike a very current tone – from mass migration, to climate change, to a series of natural disasters. What lessons can we learn from such a collapse and how can we avoid similar mistakes in the 21st century?
Listen at Apple podcasts.

6. Adrift in the multiverse

In reading this, you have (hopefully) made a conscious choice to receive our content. In many ways most of our online lives are defined by this sort of self-selection and by the bubbles we build. Denied access to most shared spaces and incidental human contact in the real world, it might be time to start wondering what society will miss if parallel but disconnected lives become the norm.
Read at Charlotte Street Partners.

And finally… Start with this

You know a podcast is making you cleverer when it involves homework. Each episode of ‘Start with This’ gives listeners something to consume, and something to create: usually a book or TV show in the first instance, and a writing assignment in the second. The object is to help boost your creativity, and the subjects of the episodes are satisfyingly varied, from ‘Present Tense’ to ‘Non-Lovecraftian Horror’.
Listen to it at Night Vale Presents.

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