Gender pay-gap, still alive and kicking…


Gender pay disparity and juggling work and home are the most critical issues for women working in the G20 countries, according to a perception poll released today by the Thomson Reuters Foundation with support from The Rockefeller Foundation. Conducted by Ipsos MORI, the survey of more than 9,500 women in 19 nations in the G20 (excluding the European Union) uncovers the five biggest challenges faced by women at work.

The survey finds that 44% of the women questioned identified work-life balance as their top concern in the workplace. Receiving equal pay to men doing the same job was the second biggest concern (39%), followed by lack of flexible working hours (32%), having access to the same career opportunities as men Work-life balance is ranked as the top concern in Russia and four of the five Asian G20 countries (South Korea, India, China and Japan), where women mostly quote cultural expectations and the lack of flexible working hours as some of the main ongoing issues. Women in South Africa and Mexico expressed the least concern about work-life balance.

The report reveals that four in every 10 women see the gender pay gap as a key issue, with seven nations listing this discrepancy as the major challenge for women. France, Germany and the United States lead the table of the countries where women are concerned the most about inequality of pay despite recent World Economic Forum data indicating these economies have, in fact, some of the narrowest pay gaps among G20 nations. Women in Britain, Australia, Brazil, and Canada also ranked the gender pay gap as their biggest workplace worry, while in China women expressed the least concern.

Harassment in the workplace is also among the five top critical issues, flagged by women in Turkey, Mexico and Argentina as the key challenge at work, and identified by 29% of women overall as a major concern. Nearly one third of women in the poll admit to having experienced harassment, although more than 60% do not report it. Indian women are the most likely to speak up, a change of attitude since the fatal attack of a female student on a bus in Delhi in 2012. The incident sparked widespread protests about violence against women, and the poll now finds 53% of women say they would always or most of the time report harassment. Women in South Korea are the least likely to report harassment.

“The poll shows that when women see a real possibility for change, they seize it. India is the perfect example. Women are finding the courage to speak up and demand fairer treatment,” said Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “On the contrary, in countries where expectations are low, as in Turkey, women tend to remain silent, as they perceive inequality as part of the status quo. That is why it’s so important to go beyond the hard data and bring women’s perception into the picture.

“The poll highlights a clear gap between women’s expectations job and career opportunities and the reality on the ground—but it also shows us that there is reason to hope. If we can raise expectations through policy and practice, the findings indicate that we can accelerate progress for women around the world,” said Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “It’s our collective duty to make sure that this research translates into changing perception and concrete action that ultimately leads to more inclusive economies for all—when women and men are given the same opportunities, everyone wins.”

The poll also uncovers positive trends. Younger women, in the so-called Millennial generation, are more upbeat than older colleagues when it comes to their role in the workplace. The survey finds 40% of women aged under 35 believe they have the same chance of success as men in having their own business compared to 33% of women aged 50 to 64. Younger women are also more optimistic about earning equal pay to men and having children without damaging their career.

A recent report from McKinsey Global Institute published earlier this month shows that tackling workplace inequality could boost the global economy by $12 trillion over the next 10 years.

The poll findings are available on line on the site

Be my personal shopper

How many times have you needed a second opinion on an outfit?  Let's face it, our girlfreinds can't always be there to give that crucial vote on whether you buy or ditch that skirt you have been umming and arring about for what seemed like an eternity.

It's comforting to know that there we have some pretty amazing personal shoppers available at our beckon call to seal the fate of your next 'must have' fashion find! We spoke to Harvey Nichols Mya Elagrice about her flourishing career as a Personal Shopper for one of the most luxury department stores in the world.

Mya Elgarice HN Manchester (1)

Tell us about what your job entails as a personal shopper?

It’s certainly never dull being a Personal Shopper. We’re helping to define our client’s style, so it’ very varied every day as to whether you’re dressing an outfit from head to toe or just providing the finishing touches. A day at the beach or an evening at the BAFTAs, you don’t get more of an exciting challenge than that.

What type of personality do you think makes for a great personal shopper?

A natural eye for style obviously helps, but it’s more about the understanding of fashion and your clients. You need to have a natural rapport, to be able to listen to what your client is looking for and going beyond to find what suits them.

Tell us about the perfect personal shopping experience at Harvey Nichols? What can shoppers look forward to?

Harvey Nichols Manchester remains as the destination of choice for the ultimate Personal Shopping experience. We’re at the forefront of fashion every day, so our knowledge is second to none when it comes to the seasonal trends and new brands to watch. With one-on-one consultations in our private

personal shopping suite, we can provide advice on a seasonal wardrobe update, as well as a more customised service for special occasions such as an upcoming wedding, or simply which jeans will fit you like a glove, and we all need them!

How can you be sure your customer is genuinely happy with outfit you have picked for him/her?

Our client recommendations and those who regularly utilise our service again and again, if we’re seeing our clients come back happy, we know we’re doing it right.

Are there any celebrities you have dressed up that you could share with us?

Yes, plenty! We’re in close proximity to the Phone 4U Arena and our store is located within one of the largest sporting cities in our country, but client confidentiality is very important to us.

Do you need a huge budget to seek the help of a personal shopper or is it a service open to anyone?

Absolutely not! Our portfolio of brands available instore or via Click + Collect allows our customers to shop at any price point; Finders Keepers and Maison Scotch to IRO and Gucci, and from £20 - £2000.

And it isn’t limited to our Fashion and Accessories, we can simply provide a bit of inspiration for the perfect gift, or help select the finest food and wine from our Second Floor, and it’s completely complimentary!

What are the perks of your job?

I’m very fortunate to work as a Personal Shopper at Harvey Nichols Manchester, but most of the time it feels like you’re shopping for your closest friends and that’s definitely the biggest perk, who wouldn’t love that!

As a personal shopper do you have specific designers you particularly like to incorporate in to your outfit?

My go-to-designer is always Isabel Marant, her shoes are so chic and my work attire wouldn’t be complete without them, I need to look my best for my clients at all times and that means wearing her heels!

If you could dress any A-List celebrity, who would it be and why?

It might seem an odd choice, but for me it would be Anna Wintour, she's recognised as such an icon by the who's who's of the fashion elite so imagine what an insightful afternoon that would be. Her style is always very polished but I'd definitely try to tempt her away from her trusty nude shoes.

How to be model scouted

Copyright Boss Model Managment 
So you think you got what it takes to be a top model? Boss Model Management over two decades have pioneered and catapulted home grown-talent to a worldwide audience.
A-Listed spoke to spoke to Lauren Mellor, Manchester's Boss Management's senior model scout about what she looks for in finding the 'picture perfect' model…
Describe the job of a model scout? 
The job as a model scout is also the one of a model booker. As the Senior Model Booker at Boss Models scouting is a small proportion of my job but it is the most exciting and rewarding.
Doing what I do changes lives and this is something that I am very mindful of when approaching a potential ’scoutee’, depending on their background, age and who they are out and about with; for instance, I have had some rather awkward looks from girlfriends of guys that I am scouting. 
I do set aside time to scout and have a scouting schedule, however it is nearly always outside of these times that I find what I am looking for; normally when it’s throwing it down with rain, I am ladened with shopping bags and am already running late to somewhere.
My scouting antenna is never switched off, my boss will tell you that I was born to scout and she was too. Together we have scouted some incredibly successful models for the agency that triumph in the fashion capitals worldwide. We’re very proud of what we do. 
You are always looking for the next big thing…what is it that stands out to you about a potential top model?
I am constantly on the search. And I look for all kinds of natural beauty and nothing too manufactured. The list is HUGE and height is, as always, crucial but to give you an idea of other key things that I look for is great skin- glowing and healthy. Symmetry, good cheekbones and full lips with a great smile with straight, white teeth. 
Good proportion of facial features and nothing that's too round or fleshy looking. Along with an awesomely fit, honed and toned proportional body that’s in exceptional shape and a good measure of confidence on the side will go in their favour too.  
Models like Kate Moss, Care Delevingne all have their own unique look and style, is this essential when you scout for models?
It’s all about being a blank canvas that our clients can mould from one thing to the next. And it's not just about being pretty, I’m looking for that little something that as a booker you just know it when you see it.
Along with great looks a model also needs to be down to earth, hard working, communicative, dedicated, with an engaging personality if they want to make it. It’s the hardest job interview you can do – being judged not only on ability, personality, performance, grace, and movement, but also on looks – which are only a part of what makes a great model.
There are thousands of pretty girls and handsome guys out there. Just because we don't take them on as models, we dont mean that they're not great to look at. Plain Jane features translate into some great images. It's always the unsuspecting ones that you scout that have never thought about modelling that are the true gems. And something unique.
This could be something that is a little unconventional like Cara and Kate, or maybe geeky or gothic looking like Erin O'Connor. Lauren Hutton made a great career with her gappy teeth as her USP.  
Peoples perception of beauty has been changing over the last few years, unconventional interesting looking people are the ones who are really in demand - whilst we need commercial, pretty or handsome girls and boys for the majority of advertising clients, we are always on the look out for someone with something very special, quirky features that somehow work together – not necessarily one particular feature on its own, but rather how the composition of the face is made up and what that suggests to us – mystery, intelligence, magnetism…
Are there certain places you go to scout for models?
Anywhere basically that’s busy which drives my fiancé mad as I will always opt to walk throughthe busiest route possible. Festivals, shopping centres, high streets, train stations and universities tend to be the most fruitful hotspots. I try to avoid scouting in bars and clubs, as there’s generally too much noise, too much make up on the girls and frustrating when the ‘scoutee’ looses my business card.
What are the highs and lows of your job?
It can seem like I am juggling several thousand balls whilst spinning the same amount of plates working on the booking desk, it isn’t glamorous and is stressful. We are a very busy agency with all the needs of our models and clients at the forefront of what we do.
It is not a job for the faint hearted, it requires stamina, organisation and determination. I come into work looking a million dollars compared to when I leave in the evening, when I look like I have fought ten rounds with Mike Tyson and I am not exaggerating there too much.
However the joy of the job hugely out ways all the stress, I wouldn’t be here otherwise and seeing the models develop and be as successful as they possibly can be is unbelievably rewarding. I am an achiever and I like to see everyone else achieve too.
Modelling is a cut throat industry, what advice would you give to budding models?
Think positively. Ignore the poison. Keep active everyday. Look after your body and most of all be a natural beauty.  A lot of what people see now in the magazines, on the red carpet or on the TV tends to be very heavily made up with make up, fake tans, false lashes, hair extensions and this is not what the industry is about.
It is very different to what we're after in the modelling industry, we're looking for that blank canvas. Girls and guys that can be turned into a multitude of different looks from one day to the next.
Celebrities are set into one particular style, they're already 'made' and this is unfortunately what people are aspiring to and it’s not real. What everybody needs to remember, is that a lot of the images that people see of celebrities are cleverly airbrushed, making their skin look smoother, waist looks smaller and legs made longer. It is not a true impression of what they look like in the flesh and it’s all about being, and enjoying, the natural healthy self.