There was a good letter in the Times today from a very smart woman -- Clarissa Farr, the High Mistress of St Pauls Girls School -- urging us to get Dads properly back into the family sphere, and to make work-place culture more family friendly for the blokes as well as the women. She is part of a campaign ("Dads for Daughters") which aims to address exactly that problem, and I am all behind it. But her letter started:"It's disappointing though not surprising that only 1 per cent of fathers have so far taken advantage of the new arrangements for shared parental leave."
I instantly knew that the estimable Ms Farr hadn't been listening to Radio 4's More or Less, presented by Tim Harford. Because a couple of week ago Harford had exploded this particular statistic, widely mis-reported, including now by Ms Farr. The 1% is correct, but it is 1% of men in the work force, not 1% of new fathers. Big difference. The take up rate for shared parental leave may still be lower than we might hope, but not as low as Ms Farr laments.