Equal Opportunity for Everyone at Work – Success Stories: Iceland

Equal Opportunity for Everyone at Work – Success Stories: Iceland

Iceland is a volcanic island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean near the Norwegian Sea with an abundance of both geography and history. Yes, history, because it is associated with the legacy of the Vikings. They kept their old traditions, but recently they opened up heading into the 21st century. Iceland, a success story of gender equality, but more importantly, in terms of decent work. As we all know, the Vikings had a very patriarchal society, where women had almost no role. When the Viking raids reached the British Isles, they took women as slaves. According to a legend, these women were the ancestors of Icelandic women. Their respect for traditions can be observed even today: there are no family names in Iceland unless you are a foreigner (or an official misspelled your name). Your name is always patronymic, meaning you get your name after your father (or mother). For example, Jón Olafsson. It means Jón, Olaf’s son. His father’s name is Olaf. Another example, Helga Pálsdottir. It means Helga, Pál’s daughter. This is a part of Viking heritage, this is embodied in all the other Nordic nations (like Sweden, Denmark) too, however, they do have family names. They became more influenced by others, but Iceland was very isolated. They were part of the Kalmar Union (1415-1523; comprising the four Nordic countries as well as the Faroe Islands and Greenland). With the dissolution of the Union, Iceland became a Norwegian dependency. The latter one was under Danish reign, so this was a personal union with the two countries. This meant somewhat free internal affairs for each country, but a common foreign policy and army. During the Kalmar Union, the Black Death severely decimated the population, around 70% of the population was annihilated. The 16th century brought a change to Iceland, as well as to other Nordic countries. King Christian III of Denmark converted to Lutheranism and spread the new religion throughout the nation. In 1550, the last Roman Catholic bishop was beheaded along with his two sons, this meant Iceland also chose Lutheranism. The Danes imposed harsh trade restrictions to Iceland in the 17th century, meaning only Denmark could trade with them and the ports of Reykjavik (the capital) were only open to Danish ships. Then smallpox further decimated the population, killing almost a third of the Icelandic people. Between the second half of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century was the darkest period of Icelandic history. They even had famine at that time, almost half of their livestock died. After the Napoleonic wars, the first independence movements started to form, backed by the Danish-educated intellectuals. In 1904, the Ministry for Iceland was established in the Danish cabinet. In 1918, they received full autonomy within Denmark, only the king was common to both. They functioned as a realm of the Danish territories. After the Nazis occupied Denmark, the Brits (and later, the United States) occupied Iceland to defend them against the Nazis. In 1946, they received full independence and abolished the kingdom, ratifying the Republican constitution. They never joined the EU, they are members of the EFTA, the European Free Trade Agreement. In 1994, they joined the European Economic Area, after which their economy was diversified and their GDP increased 32% by 2007. Unfortunately, they did not regulate banks well enough, and the global crisis caused the emigration of 5,000 people in 2009. They were close to bankruptcy in 2010. Then a woman, Johanna Sigurdardottir, rose to power. She managed to stabilize the economy, and it grew by 1.6% in 2012. Nowadays, their prime minister is another woman, namely Katrin Jakobsdottir (since 2017). She is a teacher of literature by profession. What does this signify? Iceland is not only a success story in gender equality but also quality education and decent work. A woman never abandons her country, either. Therefore, she is an idol to everyone in Iceland.

But why is this country a success story in decent work? Just after the crisis of 2008, the government introduced new laws, which affected workplaces a lot. The first one declared that gender discrimination was illegal. This affected the labour market as well. More recently, in 2018, the government took another action. They decided to accept the principle of “equal work, equal pay”. This means a woman must earn as much as a man earns for the same amount of work. Non-compliance means your company will pay a hefty fine. Gender discrimination became illegal in Iceland. The law will come into force in 2020. According to one of their ministers: “We want to break down the last of the gender barriers in the workplace. (…) History has shown that if you want to progress, you have to enforce it”. Furthermore, the same law requires that company boards must be at least 40% comprised of women. This is another step towards 21st-century-compliant companies. After the financial collapse of 2010, the government said: “women are the keys”. More and more women attained high-authority positions, which was also an important weapon against corruption. The law also states that every company with more than 25 employees must have a gender-equality program. What does that mean? Men should be more mature to comply with measures this century. There is a country, with around 320,000 inhabitants, with an abundance of geography, that could reach total gender equality and make it compulsory in schools. So, men should never oppress women because it will backfire. What country is successful at this in the 21st century? Which ones preserve traditions, but ask new questions, and bravely build a new world? Therefore, Iceland should be an icon for everyone around the world. Because they have done it. What are we still waiting for?

Calls to Action:

  1. Read more about Iceland
  2. Read the following article on their pioneering steps towards gender equality: Seven Feminist Laws Iceland Has That the World Needs

– Gergely Lázár

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

8H-8H-8H

8H-8H-8H

Will we let someone use us as slaves? Will we just watch when someone makes more money but our money melts away so fast? Do we have to waive all rights to our life for someone else just to make them richer?

In the 19th Century, Albert PERSONS, Adolph FISCHER, George ENGEL and August SPIES in the USA abandoned their lives for everyone for better work conditions, for equality, and 8 hours of work. They aimed for better work conditions, living in peace and with dignity. But nothing is for free, and they faced oppression. They were punished and lost their lives after marches and protests (1). Afterwards, May 1st was declared “Labour Day” in numerous countries.

Years, even centuries passed. The world has seen the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd industrial revolutions (2)—capitalism, socialism, globalism, and other “-ism’s”. Each ideology has brought new ideas and ways of regulating working/living conditions. To date, what is the result? Developed countries took lessons from history and made conditions better for citizens, or maybe, can we say they became developed because they did so? What about 2nd/3rd world countries? Can the longest work hours make a country richer and more developed (3)? I think not because everyone should schedule a time to rest and for family, hobbies, etc. Only if we separate time equally for everything, we can be happy, positive and healthy. If we are healthy and happy, we can work better and effectively, which makes our country richer and more developed. But some bosses choose to ignore such standards for their benefit. They want to see their employees at work longer.

Let’s indulge in a small and easy brain gymnastics exercise. Let’s think about a customer relations clerk. He/she is the closest person to a customer during the day. The clerk must be joyful, helpful, healthy, confidential, friendly, and an analytical thinker. Let’s suppose that the clerk is working more than 8 hours a day. After 8 hours, can the clerk still be joyful or helpful? A customer will only see a tired face. Maybe an angry face and harsh words too. Not enough help, no smiling, nothing positive. So, this clerk cannot represent the company well. Moreover, because of him/her, the customer chooses to go elsewhere. Chalk on board: “a lost customer”.

It’s difficult to understand the persistence of such an employer. Just try to make your employee energetic and satisfied. After that, his/her performance will bring you more customers. The employer won’t get anything by making the employee more tired.

Whenever I go for a job interview, the first question is often “Can you work extra hours?” It means, “Can we use you whenever we want?” My answer would be “If your salary could be higher for more hours too!” I always insist “I am very careful about work hours because I have a life after work. Please take into account my personal life too.” Of course, with such an attitude, it is not possible to be hired! All the same, I will always defend the 8h-8h-8h rule. 8 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep, and 8 hours of recreation. Even if I could be unemployed for months, I will stand for decent work for everyone.

Are you with me?

– Oğuz Yılmazlar

  1. May Day History: How May 1 Became a Holiday for Workers
  2. The Third Industrial Revolution
  3. Which Nationalities Work the Longest Hours?

Life Without Nuclear Energy – Success Stories: Austria

Life Without Nuclear Energy – Success Stories: Austria

Austria is located in Central Europe. It is smaller than Hungary and the population is less. This article argues the non-necessity of nuclear energy. Is it possible to switch to renewable energy? Yes, it is. With responsible energy policy and responsible leaders. Again, let me refer back to Gender Equality, where Trudeau’s Cabinet was analyzed and why his ministers are real idols. I have to mention Austria as a successful country, both in terms of gender equality and clean energy. Striving for gender equality is also represented in their national anthem, as it says “Heimat großer Töchter und Söhne”, which translates to “Home to great daughters and sons”. Moreover, its lyrics have been written by a woman, called Paula von Predarović.

Turning back to clean energy, Austria was the powerhouse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Hungary was developing itself to be an agricultural power with its fertile soil. Therefore, only the food industry could develop in my country. Following the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1919, Austria slid to the right in terms of politics. The government of Austria was highly pro-Nazi between the two world wars. Before World War II, Austria was annexed by the Nazis (Anschluss). Then Soviets came in and Austria was forced to join the Soviet sphere. After ten years of a provisional government, the Austrian State Treaty was ratified (1955), which forbade Anschluss and Austria remained neutral. Therefore the Red Army left. This meant the country could return to their way, as they always did. Beginning in the 1960s, it turned out that they had become reliant on the Danube, and the government started to sympathize with nuclear energy. The government planned three reactors in the 1970s, the site was near Zwentendorf, Lower Austria, a bit northeast of Vienna. The ground was developed in 1972 and Siemens was responsible for the construction. The first uranium rods were placed in 1978, which meant the nuclear power plant was ready to be operated. However, demonstrations against the use of nuclear energy started in the surrounding villages (especially in Tulln). Nobody wanted to store fuel elements nearby. This dispute would have forced the government to store them abroad, which would have been very costly. Moreover, it would have endangered their energy sovereignty. Therefore the chancellor decided to have a referendum on whether Austria wanted nuclear power. With a small majority, people voted against nuclear power! Soon after this, the parliament passed a constitutional amendment that forbade the construction or operation of nuclear power plants. Everyone thought that the chancellor would fall after this referendum, but he remained in power. The nuclear plant was dismantled and the reactors were transported to German plants, which are scheduled to be shut down soon, too.

Which nuclear power plant is the safest? The one which is never brought into operation!

Austria made a decision. They do not want nuclear power. This meant the government turned towards renewable energy. In 2005, solar plants were installed on the structure in question, backed by Vienna University of Technology. The energy generated was fed into the Austrian electricity grid in 2009. The university founded a research centre for photovoltaics at the site. This is a very important milestone for Austria and their journey towards sustainability. The Austrian mentality has always been: “do it our way, and stay away from conflicts”. Leaders are real idols who serve as an example to the people. Where did this “do it our way” mentality lead? Austria produced as much electricity as providers started to pay customers for the use of their privately-generated electricity. In other words, the country is free from dependency on other countries thanks to the electricity surplus they have. This means they will have enough power for the decades to come. They invest a lot in renewable energy. They have run out of their coal supplies, but the thermal power station (which was built instead of the nuclear plant) made a new step towards clean energy: recycling waste heat. This meant electricity became more and more affordable in Austria. They do not need nuclear energy to be successful. However, globally speaking, nuclear power is still needed as renewable energy is not at the same level of being as efficient. In the next few decades, renewable energy will gain more prestige and people should be educated on the use of clean energy. Governments should sponsor installing solar cells on buildings and private houses. They should also cut the price of energy-efficient electric appliances. Without these measures, energy will never be affordable.

Let’s turn to wind power, which is also crucial for Austria. They started to build wind farms in the 1990s. The first farm was placed into operation in Zurndorf in 1997. Later on, six plants were added to the park. The plant output quickly tripled within a year. Until 2018, the installed capacity of wind farms exceeded 3,000 megawatts. A wind park with only 6 megawatts can save the earth from at least ten million tons of carbon dioxide every year. The Austrian government has always been an example of being ambitious. According to Nikolaus Berlakovich (who was Minister of the Environment), by 2020, Austria will generate 34% of its energy from renewable sources, and by 2050, this will reach to 100%. Therefore, they will become self-sufficient in clean and affordable energy. This is where Austria should serve as a model for us to be environmentally-conscious.

– Gergely Lázár

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

Choose Your Side!

Choose Your Side!

Let’s check the two sides of energy sources and make a decision. Which side is the best for us? Which side is best for YOU?

Group A:

  • Solar
  • Wind
  • Geothermal
  • Hydropower
  • Biomass

Common Features: Renewable, Natural, Harmless (1).

Group B:

  • Petroleum
  • Coal
  • Natural Gas
  • Uranium

Common Features: Non-Renewable, Harmful (2).

If YOU want to destroy, finding a way is easy! But we aim to live in better conditions, don’t we?

– Oğuz Yılmazlar

  1. Biomass Explained
  2. Non-Renewable Energy Sources

P.S. April 26th is the day to memorialise the Chernobyl disaster. May those who lost their lives rest in peace. Solace and respect to people who got ill afterwards and have had to cope with it for years.

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

Water is a Source of Life – or Not?

Water is a Source of Life – or Not?

Without water, we can only live for a couple of hours. This is taught at schools. Two-thirds of our body is water. It is extremely important to keep this balance in our lives. But some people tend to forget about it and start polluting or even manipulating life underwater, which eventually leads to biological disasters. Do we want to pollute the source of life? Or, do we want clean air and water everywhere?

My country lies in a basin, at the confluence of many rivers. The two most significant ones are the Danube and the Tisza. The Danube is shorter in length in Hungary, but it discharges more water. It is the second-longest river in Europe with a total length of 2850 km. The basin flows through Hungary and Romania, the two countries that are extremely dependent on the Danube. Hungary and Romania are home to environmental hazards, affecting both the Danube and the Tisza. Let’s begin with the Danube. On its right bank, there is a nuclear power plant (I will discuss the non-necessity of nuclear power in my next article) in the city of Paks, which employs thousands of people and is responsible for generating more than 50% of the Hungarian electricity supply. However, the problem is that nuclear waste flows dangerously close to the Danube. In case of a disaster, like Chernobyl, one cannot imagine how serious an effect it can have on the Danube. Moreover, Paks is close to a tectonic fault. Even though Chernobyl is not likely to take place again (as Paks automatically shuts down in case of breakdowns), imagine the damage done to the environment? More importantly, the fault line is close, what can we do in case of an earthquake? More recently, it has been agreed this nuclear power plant will be expanded with Russia contributing. What does that signify? The Danube will be more vulnerable to nuclear hazards as a nuclear power plant needs tons of water to cool itself. Now, the plan is to build two cooling towers, so even more water will be used. Everyone knows that this water will be heated in the plant. Last but not least, heated and contaminated water will be released into the river, which is harmful to the flora and fauna. On top of that, the weather in Hungary is becoming dryer and dryer due to climate change. Because of the nuclear plant, the temperature of the Danube is always higher near Paks than near Budapest. Where does it lead to? The flora and fauna will get dangerously close to extinction, as more heated water would be released into the Danube.

Let’s focus on the other major river of Hungary, the Tisza. It originates from Romania with two rivers (Black Tisa and White Tisa), which confluence in Ukraine near the city of Rakhiv. Eventually, it flows into the Danube at Titel, Serbia. The river used to be around 1,400 kilometres long, but it has been shortened to 1,000 kilometres to keep villages safe from flooding. Still, it is the longest river in Hungary. They are the two biggest gravity dams of Hungary, at Kisköre and Tiszalök. Originally, its purpose was not to provide electricity, rather to bloat the Tisza River and to create a reservoir. Therefore, its performance was not very high. There were plans to build hydraulic power plants on the Danube as well, but these had to be suspended due to environmental concerns. This issue is still facing a lot of controversies. Turning back to the Tisza, it has already gone through a serious environmental disaster, when cyanide spilt into the river following a dam burst near a gold mine in Romania. The mine was a joint venture between an Australian company and the Romanian government. One night, the dam, holding contaminated waters burst and at least 100 tons of cyanide spilled into the Somes River, and then into the Tisza. The spill caused extreme high cyanide concentration levels (700 times higher than the permissible level). This meant drinking supplies of more than 2 million Hungarian people had to be cut off. This also meant more than 50% of the wildlife was killed by the toxicity. Five weeks later, heavy metals (zinc, lead and copper) spilled into the river, and it caused further disaster. Both the company and the government blamed the disaster on extreme snowfall and the cold weather. According to the European Union, the mine was badly designed, with a complete lack of an emergency plan. Fishing businesses suffered extreme losses and around 15,000 people lost their jobs. This means the company is at fault for the incident. The wildlife was severely damaged, how come they cannot accept responsibility? Following the disaster, the Romanian government banned drinking tap water around the Danube, as well. Later on, they tried to ban cyanide in gold and silver mines, but they have not been successful yet. This dam failure was not the first one in Romanian history. In 1971, the Tailings Dam near Certej Mine burst. Almost 90 people were killed, as the flood destroyed apartments and dormitories as well. Similar dam failure took place in Hungary, in 2010, near Ajka. Ajka used to be the capital of Hungarian aluminium mining. The red mud (a byproduct of aluminium-oxide) burst the dam and flooded the area near Devecser and Kolontár. This highly alkaline product is very harmful to the soil and the rivers as well. The mud even contaminated the Danube. The government blamed the company and later nationalized it to gain more control.

All in all, water is the source of life, so we should look after it, rather than polluting it or devastating wildlife by releasing radioactive water into the rivers. Our rivers have been widely cherished by our poets. Why should we pollute them as well? Who said it is a good idea to place environmental hazards like gold mines and nuclear power plants near our main rivers?

– Gergely Lázár

  1. Paks Nuclear Power Plant
  2. The Danube
  3. The Tisza
  4. 2000 Baia Mare Cyanide Spill
  5. Ajka Alumina Plant Accident

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

Water War on the Door

Water War on the Door

In a few articles, I have already talked about how humankind is, and why 17 Sustainable Development Goals have emerged. But we see that problems are still similar. Also, I have already talked about water wars, which will occur in the future. As a person who is interested in politics, history, and wars, I would like to focus on water wars again.

Mother Nature endowed us with lakes, oceans, drinkable water, sun, stars, trees, and lands—all for free—but afterwards, the idiocy of humankind takes the stage… Fighting against nature itself, conquering its scarce resources, and competing against each other to reach them. It’s like an endless vicious circle with no end in sight. What’s more, water wars will intensify sooner than you think.

The Nile-Euphrates-Tigris (Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Sudan), the Brahmaputra-Ganges (India, Bangladesh), the Indus (Pakistan), and the Colorado (USA) areas host critical water sources (1). As we know, climate change and global warming are leading country politics. States must adapt because we are sharing the same world, and these water sources will become even more significant.

Humankind! You do not stop damaging. You do not stop killing, polluting, enslaving. And you do not care how our world is! Is everything for you?

We are tired of seeing dead people every day (at least on the news). If we are fighting for peace, we can tolerate it, but this fight only benefits a few while innocent people are dying.

As you know, if something is scarce, it’s more valuable, and history teaches us that if something is in short supply and valuable, there is a war for it—without a doubt! Gory and wild wars are awaiting us if we are complacent. Year by year we are getting close to them.

Read, one more time, the article Where Will the “Water Wars” of the Future Be Fought?, and tell me which area is safe, even now? Turkey or the Middle East? Egypt or Sudan? India or Pakistan? We can only say that the Colorado is, but we should remember that the USA has never been faced with even WW1-2 on its lands. So, for now, the Colorado is safe for humanity but we cannot be sure about the rest.

So, shall we say that the Water Wars have already begun? Yes, or No?—it doesn’t matter! Another big catastrophe is waiting for us around the corner, and, alas, another time we can point the finger at humankind itself. How poor! How pitiful! How pathetic!

– Oğuz Yılmazlar

  1. Where Will the “Water Wars” of the Future Be Fought? Also, please check Here’s Where the Post-Apocalyptic Water Wars Will Be Fought for more.

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

The Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI)

The Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI)

When I was researching SDG 5, I knew from past experiences and arguments that it was going to be a tough topic for me to write about.

In my previous article on Gender Equality, I tried to look at the usual controversy of being one-sided when it comes to equality. That’s why I root for the critic that insists that having an index like the GGGI is only measuring women’s issues. This is true to some extent. Although to distance myself from my previous argument, this index is measuring the very basics in society. It is not designed to measure only women’s issues.

It was created to analyse the very basics of society and its institutions.

“The report examines four overall areas of inequality between men and women in 130 economies around the globe, over 93% of the world’s population (1).”

1. Economic Participation and Opportunity

a) Salaries: you would consider the UK among one of the most equal salary-providing nations, right? Well, that is about to be quickly debunked. Thanks to new regulations as employers must provide data on gender concerning pay. Check it out per profession by yourself using this online database. Even in a profession like nursing, which is considered a somewhat feminine profession, men get slightly more than women. Isn’t that interesting?

86% are women in such positions, but they make hourly a tiny bit less, which makes a difference annually. How come?

b) Participation level: using the same statistics, let’s pick a higher position, Chief Executives and Senior Officials.

30% of such positions in Britain are held by women. How come?

c) Access to high-skilled employment: “Examples of skilled labour include engineers, software development, paramedics, police officers, soldiers, physicians, crane operators, truck drivers, machinist, drafters, plumbers, craftsmen, cooks and accountants (2).”

Almost all jobs listed are traditionally considered “male jobs”, so to be less biased, let’s check accountants, cooks, and software developers.

So, in Britain, women hold 45% of all jobs in accounting, whether they are full-time or part-time. For the former alone, they hold only 41%. In other words, they are still making nearly £8000 less a year on average than their male counterparts.

Above is another example that focuses on full-time employment where females make less (£3000 annually) than males, even though they hold 75% of such positions in the UK. It is worth noting here that, as part-time cooks, women make more money; and for all employment types combined, again, it is women making an additional £1000 annually.

Another male-dominated sector, programmers, we can see men fill 91% of these positions, and make yearly £5000 more than women. (I calculated this statistic as it is somehow not showing, but £18.05/hour is around £35,883 annually).

2. Educational Attainment

a) Higher education: “Women aged 18 are 35% more likely to start a degree course than their male counterparts (3).”

Closing the gender pay gap in the UK (discussed above) is not impossible because women are not skilled or educated enough as that is not a valid argument. I wanted to get that out of the way before anyone chose to use that as an excuse.

This could be an argument for male issues to be included in SDG 5 if the situation looked the same globally. Although, international statistics show disadvantages for women instead.

Sex Differences in Education

There is a conspicuous gap in gender participation in secondary education, as seen above in all regions.

b) Literacy: On a global level woman are still behind, “The literacy rate for men is 87%, the rate for women is 77% (4)”.

3. Political Empowerment

a) Woman in political decision making:

In the UK, “Overall, 32% of MPs are women, but there are significant variations between parties (5)”.

Globally, “Only 23% of the world’s politicians are women (6)”.

Globally, we have nearly the same amount of males as females:

In 2017, 49.56% of the world’s population was female, only +0.88% more was male. Both genders constitute nearly half of the global population, so why are 77% of political decisions made by males globally (7)?

Please explain to me: If that fact isn’t tragic, then what is? I am not a huge fan of quotas, but I vividly see a need for some sort of conscious change here. Can you?

4. Health and Survival

a) Life expectancy: In general, women live longer, which can be another reason for SDG 5 to include targets for male issues, too. I completely support such action and see the need to focus attention on this topic.

b) Sex ratio at birth: I thought there was not much of a concern here, as nature has its way when it comes to sex at birth, but there is. An intervention influences the global male birth rate to be higher than it would be naturally, which shocked me to the core… Yes, gender-specific abortions are a thing! There is a “higher than the natural proportion of male births globally, mostly due to son preference in East Asia and South Asia (8)”.

There you have it.

The above are all the four categories explained in detail, based on which the statistics are collected and the GGGI is estimated.

Now, let’s spill the real “tea”.

International Comparison

The Global Gender Gap Report 2017 Infographic (9)

While running through the ascending sorted list of the GGGI, I was expecting to see Africa at the very bottom.

Actually, according to the data, in 2018, Yemen (Middle East) scored the lowest. After that was Pakistan (South Asia), Syria (Middle East) and Chad (Africa). The list continued mainly with countries from Africa and the Middle East, occasionally with a few from Asian regions.

After scanning through 40 nations, it occurred to me to look at my region, Europe. Scrolling down slowly, I was wondering on a list of nearly 200 country names where Europe would appear in the Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI).

I have learned a lot from writing this SDG 5 report. I can proudly say that many of my biases were settled in my previous article. However, some stereotypes even burst for me in researching and writing for this one.

Never would I have ever thought, the first country name, from the bottom scrolling up representing Europe would be my country, Hungary, in dismal 44th place (from the bottom).

Perhaps, that was the biggest myth I was making myself mistakenly believe—that in Central Europe, especially in my country, women were facing fewer social inequalities.

To my surprise, after Hungary, it took a little while to find the next European country: Malta, at 55th.

Even countries like Malaysia, Sri Lanka, or even Ebola-affected Liberia and Senegal have a narrower gender gap than Hungary, according to this Index.

In 62nd place is the Czech Republic, Slovakia is 64th. With them included, at least we are in the same sub-region, Central-East Europe, and share a quite similar political, economic, religious and legal environment, compared to all the other countries mentioned above.

How come my country is so behind in gender equality, compared to the others in the region? How come I have never really noticed it, in respect to all those four main aspects? Well, that is not true, regarding equal pay, I have noticed. But to score that bad in the GGGI, Hungary has to be quite unequal in the rest too. Oh, yes, political decision making—the current cabinet, I believe, has only one woman out of 14 heads.

What do you think about your motherland or country of residence? How do you experience gender inequality in a local, national, regional or global level? Share your thoughts with me.

Calls to Action:

  1. Read more on the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.
  2. Discuss the following topic with your sympathizers: What is to be done to reduce inequalities affecting all genders? Which above mentioned inequalities are the most urgent to tackle according to you, and why?
  3. Find a project and reach out to the host entity to support them with advice or funds to deliver it, especially West African entities as there is an urgent need to provide SDG-related changes there.
  4. Sponsor and motivate someone in your world to take on a Global Volunteer project with AIESEC. I suggest Creative Mind in the Benin Republic.

– Krisztina Kapuvari

  1. Global Gender Gap Report
  2. Skill Worker
  3. UK Male University Numbers Continue to Fall Behind
  4. Male and Female Literacy Rates by Country
  5. Election 2017: Record Number of Female MPs
  6. Only 23% of the World’s Politicians Are Women. It’s Time for That to Change
  7. Population, Female (% of Total Population)
  8. Gender Imbalance
  9. The Global Gender Gap Report 2017 Infographic
  • Created and Screenshots by Krisztina@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
  • Illustrated by Oguz@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
  • Proofed and Edited by Greg@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
  • Edited and Published by Lee@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
  • Supported and Funded by Advertising-Free Online Sales of What Are You Still Waiting For? Publications and Affiliation with WordPress

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

Is SDG No. 5 Actually About Gender Equality?

Is SDG No. 5 Actually About Gender Equality?

Gender Equality, is this a dreamy liberal agenda or a serious profound problem we need to face?

Well, it is always hard to answer. If you ask women, they will instantly associate their replies with all those inequalities they have collectively faced within society, even today.

An overused statistic of the measured societal bias against the female half of the population should be spotlighted here to showcase our instant shared reaction.

“Based on data between 2000 and 2016 from about 90 countries, women spend roughly three times as many hours in unpaid domestic and care work as men.”

Source: The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 Overview

I am well aware this sounds like a broken record, but the fact is: it is, unfortunately, still a fact today.

Also, many can argue, as a woman, I naturally drown in sympathies associated with issues immersing fellow women.

To be honest, after self-checking, yes, that is true.

So, for the first time in my life, I made myself look into this situation (as much as I could) as a man. I was well-aware of what was paining my folks on this side of the gender divide, so it was about time I put myself in the other side’s shoes.

It didn’t occur to me till today, that SDG 5, labelled Gender Equality, has only targets regarding problems of women to be reached by 2030.

We can argue, this is to eliminate specific issues women are faced with to at least less sickening levels, and to bring back a little bit more gender-neutral balance to societal life to start with. Others can argue, this is an example of how men are discriminated against. Yes, even under Gender Equality SDG targets.

Instead of being short-sighted, overly annoyed, or siding with males or females, I seek understanding.

Historically, women were left out of politics, decision making on both societal and household levels, education, etc. These issues are all getting slowly better nowadays, at least seemingly. We can celebrate this.

An average person thinking about gender issues is naturally calculating a balance between women and men. If it continues this way, it will always be a zero-sum game, where the gain of one is the loss of the other.

“An allocation is not Pareto optimal if there is an alternative allocation where improvements can be made to at least one participant’s well-being without reducing any other participant’s well-being. If there is a transfer that satisfies this condition, the reallocation is called a “Pareto improvement”. When no further Pareto improvements are possible, the allocation is a “Pareto optimum”. (1)

If we take game-theory to support our analysis of Gender Equality, we can see that Pareto optimum has not been reached yet and there is still room for improvements that can be gained for both women AND men, and even for other spectrums of gender.

Instead of on one or the other, the only thing we need to do is to focus our attention on the whole.

Being a huge advocate of SDGs, today’s paradigm switch made me realize an important thing: even though current SDG 5 targets are important to the whole and won’t reduce the well-being of men, we are not looking for “Pareto improvements” on the other side just yet.

And that is sending a very bad message.

If we assume men agree that letting women into education, politics, decision making/influencing, etc. is not a loss for men’s well-being, we can agree that mainstream gender equality goals, even on a global level are one-sided, are a threat to men’s equality.

This second phenomenon is as hurtful as thinking that giving women equality is disadvantageous to men.

Not having taken into account men’s issues in Gender Equality is aggravating me. I don’t want to argue that women have many more issues against their gender, and they have existed much longer etc. Even if we were to assume it is true, what difference would it make today if we exclude problems from our goal list that are potentially targeting the male half of the population?

Well, we can still say: “men are less likely to be facing discrimination based on gender, therefore let’s first deal with more urgent issues”. Sounds fair, right?

My argument here is the same. It is not a zero-sum game.

Caring about issues that discriminate against men won’t increase inequalities for women.

I mean, we should pay attention to all issues, at least proportionately, as they occur in society.

Women can only gain if the Gender Gap Index is expanded, from mainly measuring woman issues, to include all gender issues. Perhaps males would stand behind it more if it, not only measured statistics highlighting one part of the population but, provided a full picture.

Wouldn’t it be better to be bolstered up by arguments that “X” issue happens with “Y” probability to women while “Z” issue happens with “A” probability to men? Therefore, paying attention to both, allocating resources accordingly.

Wouldn’t it be better to also deal with issues only men are facing for everyone such as higher suicide rate, homelessness, and paternity fraud?

My opinion is, using the Marshall cross I learned as an economist, equilibrium is dynamic.

On the way to the point of balance, first, we usually overshoot it, and then get a bit closer, as we get closer and closer to it.

I believe that men are sensing this overstepping and that is why some decide not to back women who fight for their equality. Also, I believe, some women are overstepping way too far from the imaginary line in the middle.

Source: The Economy: Unit 8 Supply and Demand: Price-Taking and Competitive Markets

So, in a nutshell, regarding normal (price-sensitive) goods, if you increase Price, people want to buy less of the good (Quantity) and you will end up keeping your books on the shelves. As seen above, with the equilibrium price of 8 dollars, 24 books are sold, a.k.a. all of what is supplied. But with a higher price, it would be possible to produce more units than with a lower price (36 books) but there would be only 17 books sold due to less demand.

However, if there were more students and we were selling books at a university, for example, the demand curve would change, which would allow for a higher equilibrium allowing us to buy and sell more books. Or, if the demand was predicted to be the same, we would need the bookstore to buy less than the original stock of 24, to find the equilibrium again at a higher price. More precisely, only 17 would be needed.

Therefore, as in Economics, when measuring demand and supply in the market, and with Gender Equality, I welcome new participants in the arguments from both sides. As, according to the laws of the Marshall cross, they are all necessary to help us get closer to the desired balanced state eventually.

Our job is to keep extreme reactions, like physical and mental violence, out of the picture and to work on freeing ourselves up to accept all potential truths from opposing sides.

Calls to Action:

  1. Read more on the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.
  2. Discuss the following topic with your sympathizers: How could you be more open to listening to the other side? Do you agree it will help us get closer to equality? Do you see inequalities as a zero-sum game? Where are they perceived as a zero-sum game, where not?
  3. Find a project and reach out to the host entity to support them with advice or funds to deliver it, especially West African entities as there is an urgent need to provide SDG-related changes there.
  4. Sponsor and motivate someone in your world to take on a Global Volunteer project with AIESEC. I suggest Creative Mind in the Benin Republic.

– Krisztina Kapuvari

  1. Pareto Efficiency
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The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

The Unwomanly Face of War

OY 19 04 12 SDG 05

The Unwomanly Face of War

“I knew my father was killed. My brother as well. I am sad for my mom. That beautiful woman is lonely now. She cannot live without my father. She asked me why I was joining the war. I said that to get revenge on my father…” – Ulyana Osipovna Nemzer

A book I have been reading for a while affected me so much and inspired me to write this article. This jarring book was written by a Russian lady, called Svetlana Alexievich. The title of the book is “у войны не женское лицо”, which translates to “The Unwomanly Face of War” (1).

The book is about Soviet women who became soldiers in WW2. Their stories and memories were collected by the writer. They were nurses, snipers, tankers, gunners, doctors, washerwomen, etc. Same war, but different stories—blood, broken bones, shredded organs, broken hopes, screams, and terrible states of health. These women influenced the war’s result for sure. Even if they had disadvantages according to men, they did whatever they could. Even after the war, its effect never left them. They lived with memories and trauma of the war. Reading these stories from witnesses is shocking for the readers and motivates them to do something for world peace.

Every nation and land have had dark times during their history. Everybody was a part of it: men, women, kids, older people and so on. Bullets don’t discriminate based on gender. They do their duty. The question is whether you want to overcome a struggle or not. Gender is irrelevant if you are determined to overcome one, and you are together. The book drives this point home.

So, what’s the point of gender discrimination? Do you think that a woman can live without a man or vice versa? Do we still have to talk about gender discrimination even in the 21st century? Will we still follow the outworn traditions of the middle ages? If we need women-power in war, why don’t we want to see it in business (2) or politics (3)? My judgment does not apply to all countries, but some. All the same, traditions, religions or other primeval reasons stop women in their tracks. They embolden men to be self-righteous against women, at least they are partial to think so.

We are here to change this strange ideology!

“It seems to me that I have lived 2 lives. One as a man, another as a woman” – Stanislava Petrovna Volkova

– Oğuz Yılmazlar

  1. The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II
  2. 2019 Women in Business Trends
  3. Women in Parliaments: World Classification

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.

Are We More Savage?

Are We More Savage?

Every generation has different properties, aspects, and opinions. Generations are faced with different difficulties and also beauties. Words, sentences, and things that make them happy or sad change over time. What about relationships between men and women? Are they still similar or different?

A vulgar video titled, “Women Get a Taste of the Gender Equality They’ve Always Wanted”, impelled me to write this article.

In the video, I could see that in the ’50s and ’60s men knew how to treat a lady, quite kindly and thoughtfully. Then, increasingly, I noticed that men became less kind and refined over time. What was the reason?

I could see that women were taking a more active role in society. Studying, having a job, earning more money than previous generations, and so on. Nowadays, women have a much better status in the community, too. In the past, women were more unprotected. That’s why their husbands acted as shields. But now, most women do not need a shield. They do whatever they want. On the whole, they want to be equal with men in every field of life.

Men have noticed that women are competing with them. At school, and work etc. I believe men innately want to come first, protect women, and lay down the law. But nowadays, most liberated women do not accept their leadership. I guess it makes some men more aggressive, thinking that there is no need to be kind if we are all equal. In such cases, these ignorant men don’t hesitate to use muscle power as they are, by and large, more muscular than women. Also, women are getting more aggressive too, just like in the video I saw. Somehow, relations between the sexes are getting weaker, more savage, and uglier.

Is violence only physical? No! I guess lots of men still do not think that men and women are equal. Also, some of them don’t like to use their muscles. Three other types of violence include: economic, verbal and sexual (1).

On sexual violence, a nice quote came to mind “instead of teaching morality to your daughter, teach good manners to your son”.

Violence is violence. It never facilitates community development. Even if men and women are different and have different qualities, such discrepancies shouldn’t create inequality. God and nature don’t grant extra authority to any gender, we were all created equal. Just teach this to the next generation to see less violence in the future.

– Oğuz Yılmazlar

  1. What Is Violence Against Women?

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.