Monday, May 16, 2005

A News Summary with a Feminist Flavor

The Newsweek story controls the discussion this morning. It will be used by Karl Rove to hammer down the last few heads standing proud of the media, the few who are still trying to criticize the administration. See Arthur Silber's blog for a good discussion of the actual issues.

In better news, Kuwait is going to let women vote and run for political offices, though not this year:

"We made it. This is history," said prominent activist Roula al-Dashti. "Our target is the parliamentary polls in 2007. I'm starting my campaign from today," she told reporters.


A study on gender equality finds that the Scandinavian women do best. Maybe it's because the Viking raids got rid of all the aggression and desire for hierarchies? Let's hope my theory is wrong, because that would be bad news for the rest of the world's women, at least in terms of how long they have to wait and what needs to happen first. Kidding, just kidding. But in any case:

Women in the Nordic countries are most likely to be paid on a par with men and experience equal job opportunities, according to a global report released Monday. At the other end of the spectrum, Egypt, Turkey and Pakistan have the widest economic gaps between men and women.

The World Economic Forum's report also singled out the United States for criticism, saying it lagged behind many Western European nations.

The report used criteria including equal pay for equal work and female access to the labor market to rank 58 countries - all 30 OECD nations and another 28 emerging markets - on a "Gender Gap Index." It also examined the representation of women in politics, access to education and access to reproductive health care.

No country on the list managed to close the gap entirely, the Swiss-based think tank found.

"Gender inequality is one of the most prominent examples of injustice in the world today," said Augusto Lopez-Claros, WEF Chief Economist and author of the report.

Lopez-Clarez said that women continue to be discriminated against, often on the basis of cultural, religious and historical beliefs, and countries that fail to close the gender gap do so at their own risk.

"Countries that do not fully capitalize on one-half of their human resources are clearly undermining their competitive potential," he said.

That no country has managed to close the gap entirely is not surprising. The reverse system has operated for thousands of years, and it is overly optimistic to assume that its effects will be wholly gone in a little more than one generation.