Pale, male stale: How to break the cycle

Too many businesses are run by people who look and sound like me, says Econsultancy's managing partner Richard Robinson. It's time we break with the past.

by Richard Robinson

Long ago I dreamt of being a primary school teacher. This is a profession where a mere 15% of staff are men, but my younger-self believed I could make a difference. Plus, I was fascinated by how people learn as they grow. I remember being told by my female tutor: 'Understand how people learn, and you understand how to influence behaviour, and you’ll have the key to everything.' 

I headed off to Oxford Polytechnic, better known today as Oxford Brookes University, and when the time came, I was sent to a primary school in Temple Cowley to start my first teaching practise. The school was bustling with energy, and my first assembly was packed with over-excited children who hushed while the head-mistress made a short speech to welcome me onto the staff. I remember a ripple of noise from the children, many eyes focused on me, nudges, winks and pointing. I thought nothing of it.

Five minutes later, I was met in the corridor by a group of eight year-old boys bursting with questions. Loudest of all was a voice shouting: 'What are you doing here?' 

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