Linda Scott gave her inaugural lecture as the "DP World Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation" at the Oxford Saïd Business School last week.
As a formal inaugural lecture there was a degree of ceremony to proceedings and the event started with the lecturer meeting the Vice-Chancellor outside the lecture theatre and them processing in "preceded by a bedel" - which, though an Oxford term, is one that escaped me during my 3 years there.
Ceremonial entrance and appropriate cap tipping over she started her talk in which she looked at a number of aspects of gender inequality. To quote from the abstract of her talk. "Global data collected in the past fifteen years has shown that gender inequality is a measurable phenomenon that occurs in all nations and has massively negative effects on a range of important dimensions from national prosperity to environmental degradation to violence and disease levels. Closing the gender gap is therefore now a world priority. The data also show, contrary to years of academic arguments, that industrial capitalism, far from being the cause of gender oppression, has actually produced better conditions for women."
In an hour she could clearly only scratch the surface of the work that she has done over a number of years but she made a compelling case and identified various issues with conventional economic thinking in this area. She also spoke about 2 specific projects that she has been involved with drawing lessons and insights from them but also recognising the challenges and some of the negative press that these sorts of activities can engender.
The lecture finished with another round of cap tipping and then she and the vice chancellor (preceded of course by the aforementioned bedel) processed out of the lecture theatre. It was at this point that the audience, being upstanding for their exit, realised that it is difficult to know when to sit down again if a procession goes past you to an exit behind :-) Social etiquette dilemma duly resolved we made our way out to a drinks reception in the foyer.
The lecture is available on the Business School's YouTube channel and if you are interested in the topic I think you'll find her an engaging and compelling speaker. Text and slides for the lecture are on her Double X Economy website