Gender Equality in Iceland

In a country of only 330,000 people, there are 19 such primary and nursery schools, empowering girls from an early age. Since 2010, Iceland has topped the World Economic Forum’s gender gap index. The Economist recently named Iceland the world’s best place for working women. What is the reason for this gender success story? For centuries, Iceland’s women stayed at home as their went to sea. Without men at home, women played the roles of farmer, hunter, architect, builder. They ...

Gender inequality index

In 2010, the UNDP introduced the Gender Inequality Index. Figure 1 shows the GII for 2014. Figure 1 Gender inequality index, 2014. Based on data in the Human Development Report. The lowest gender inequality (meaning women are better off) in 2014 were, in rank order, Slovenia, Switzerland and Germany. The USA, ranked 8 for HDI was ranked 55 for GII, and Qatar ranked 32 for HDI, was 116 for GII. In contrast, at the bottom end of the scale (lowest first) ...

Global Patterns and Classification of Economic Development

According to the World bank, a high income country (HIC) has a per capita income of over US$12,735 in 2014. The term HIC is often used interchangeably with ‘developed’ or ‘more developed’ or ‘advanced’. Low income countries are defined as those with less than US$1,025, and Middle income countries (MICs) are between US$1,026 and US$12,475. A distinction is sometime made between lower middle income countries (US$1025-US$4.36) and Upper middle income countries (US$4036- US$12,476). Some 5 billion people live in middle ...

How technology is endangering the call centre

Call centres have created millions of jobs in the emerging world. However, technology threatens to take those jobs away again. The new SM Aura shopping centre in Manila contains an enormous call centre on its top floor. Call centres need young, well-educated middle-class people, as workers rather than customers. The Call Centre is run by Teleperformance, a TNC based in France. Seldom has any country been so transformed by one industry as the Philippines has been by call centres. The first ...

Zika Fever

Zika, a mosquito-borne virus that arrived in Brazil in May 2015, has since spread into 17 other countries in the Americas. Until October, Zika was not thought much of a threat: only a fifth of infected people fall ill, usually with just mild fever, rash, joint aches and red eyes. Since then, though, evidence has been piling up that it may cause birth defects in children and neurological problems in adults. On January 15th America’s Centres for Disease Control and ...

China, Global Warming and Air Pollution

When the Kyoto Protocol was being discussed, the USA was the world’s biggest polluter, and would not agree to mandatory reductions. Now, China is the world’s biggest polluter but it is showing signs change. China emits more greenhouse gases than any other country partly because of its population size: 1.4 billion, compared with 300m for the USA. Much of the pollution it causes comes from making goods for other countries. Once the pollution that goes into traded goods is assigned to ...

Eradicating Malaria

Since 2000, malaria deaths around the world have fallen by nearly half. The steepest drop has come in sub-Saharan Africa, where 90% of fatalities occur. Malaria still kills around 450,000 people each year - most of them children in Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that better control prevented the deaths of 3.9m African children between 2001 and 2013. In the first half of the 20th century malaria killed 2 million people a year. Controlling malaria has required not just ...

Ban Ki-Moon Assesses the Success of the Millennium Development Goals

A recent article in the Guardian outlines the successes of the Millennium Development Goals. In July 2015, The UN’s final Report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) claimed that it was ‘the most successful anti-poverty movement in history’. However, although it has taken over a billion people out of extreme poverty its achievements have been mixed and the world remains very unequal. The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said that the MDGs had produced some astonishing results, it had left too many ...

The Mathematical Sciences in the 21st century

In the last day of 2013 it seems appropriate to browse two books published by the National Academies Press - both of them represent reports of an interesting project The Mathematical Sciences in 2025. They can be read online freely (and after a registration a PDF version can be downloaded as well). I find particularly interesting and informative the first report Fueling Innovation and Discovery:The Mathematical Sciences in the 21st Century It aims to "describe recent advances in the mathematical sciences and advances enabled ...

Upwardly mobile in Silicon Savannah

  Africa is one of the few areas of the world whose economy is growing at a healthy pace; some 6% a year. McKinsey, the consultant, reports that African consumer spending has risen from US$860bn in 2008 to almost $1 trillion now. Africa is also the world's fastest growing technology market, with mobile penetration reaching reached 649 million connections. The continent has become a key testbed for new on-the-go services for smartphones and tablet computers. For each of the past five ...