The best and worst places to be a working woman

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To provide a benchmark for progress on gender equality in the labour market, The Economist has published its fifth annual “glass-ceiling index”. It combines data on higher education, workforce participation, pay, child-care costs, maternity and paternity rights, business-school applications and representation in senior jobs into a single measure of where women have the best—and worst—chances of equal treatment in the workplace. Each country’s score is a weighted average of its performance on ten indicators.

The overall picture painted by the data is that the long trend of improving conditions for working women has flatlined within the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries. In 2005, 60% of women were in the labour force; ten years later, this ratio had edged up only slightly to 63% (it was 80% for men in both years). With relatively few women climbing the ranks, and strong old-boys’ networks helping men reach the top, female representation in well-paid and high-status jobs is closer to a third than half. And the gender wage gap—male minus female wages, divided by male wages—is still around 15%, meaning women as a group earn 85% of what men do.

These broad averages conceal wide variation between countries. The Nordic countries clearly lead the world on gender equality at work. The top four positions this year belong to Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Finland, just as they did in 2016 (though Sweden and Norway did switch places). Women in these countries are more likely than men to have a university degree and be in the labour force. They make up 30-44% of company boards, compared with an average of 20% across the OECD. And voluntary political-party gender quotas mean that women are well-represented in parliaments. In October, women won a record 48% of the seats in Iceland’s lower house. At around two-fifths, Scandinavian women’s share of parliamentary seats ranks in the top 10% globally.

At the other end of the index are Japan, Turkey and South Korea. Women make up only around 15% of parliaments in these countries, and are underrepresented in management positions and on company boards. In South Korea, just 2% of corporate directors are female. Similarly, fewer women than men have completed tertiary education and are part of the labour force. Only 35% of Turkish women are working or looking for work, and a mere 16% have graduated from university.

Progress in gender equality has a tendency to build upon itself. In Iceland, which currently provides the most equal working environment for women according to our index, female workers staged a protest last October in which they marched out of their offices early to call attention to the country′s 14% gender pay gap. If Japanese women were to do likewise, they would be leaving much earlier.

Sources: OECDEuropean CommissionEurostatMSCI ESG ResearchGMACILOInter-Parliamentary UnionThe Economist
*Population (aged 25-64) with tertiary education†Female minus male rate‡Male minus female wages, divided by male wages**Lower or single house§Net earnings for France, Austria and Germany
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Hatred towards Christians on rise in India.

The surge of Hindu nationalist has seen an unprecedented hate towards Christians in most parts of India. Both leading political parties such as Congress and BJP have always used the communal card to gain votes, but this time the hate is directed towards the minority peaceful Indian Christians.  There have been several attacks on Christian worship places and on Christians directly by the members of the BJP and its allied political parties.

Christians are for the first time in India feeling insecure and discriminated. BJP’s earlier agenda was hatred towards the Muslims, but it didn’t work out well for the BJP, Sangh Parivar and VHP due to retaliatory attacks by the Muslims and pressure by the rich Arab nations. Therefore, the attacks have lately been diverted towards Christians.

The main points of ignition is “Missionary activities”, “Conversions”, “Foreign funding”, “Vatican support” and “Christian traitors” have been the key words used by the BJP and its allies to instigate the less literate or ignorant violent Hindus. Good thing is that educated and peaceful Hindus are not falling for this incitement trap, but the criminal ones are. Otherwise it would have been impossible for the Christians to live in India.

Facebook and Twitter is another place where hate filled posts are updated by some anti-Christian elements in India. Facebook is used by few to get into hateful debates against Christians and incite the other Hindus of hatred towards the Christians. Various unchecked historical posts are updated about Christians committing atrocities on Hindus during the colonial era, which leads the ignorant person to get incited.

Hate is the new theme used by some Hindus.

Lets look how the Indian Christians have survived the last 500 years or so in India against all odds:-

Christianity is India’s third-largest religion according to the census of 2011, with approximately 27.8 million followers, constituting 2.3 percent of India’s population.Christianity was introduced to India by Thomas the Apostle, who visited Muziris in Kerala in AD 52. There is a general scholarly consensus that Christianity was definitely established in India by the 6th century AD, including some communities who used Syriac liturgically, and it is possible that the religion’s existence there extends to as far back as the purported time of St.Thomas’s arrival.

Christians are found all across India and in all walks of life, with major populations in parts of South India, the Konkan Coast, and Northeast India.

Roman Catholicism was first introduced to India by Portuguese, Italian and Irish Jesuits in the 16th century. Most Christian schools, hospitals, primary care centres originated through the Roman Catholic missions brought by the trade of these countries. Evangelical Protestantism was later spread to India by the efforts of British, American, German, Scottish missionaries to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ among Indians Catholics. However, in last 20 years a mission of Born Again Christians is used by several Lower caste Hindus to convert the poor class Hindus and lower caste tribal people. 

The Portuguese were instrumental in forcibly converting the Saraswat Brahmins Population of Goa in the 14th century. Today’s Catholic population of Goa can directly or indirectly root their ancestry to the Hindu Saraswat Brahmins. The Portuguese used to plunder and desecrate the Hindu Brahmin temples and forcibly feed pork or beef to them in order to convert the Brahmins. The Brahmin community would later consider themselves as unclean and unworthy to following Hinduism. Few Brahmins escaped to nearby villages which was not under Portuguese control. Request of help was sent to the nearby Hindu kingdoms but all in vain. None of the Hindu kingdoms came to the rescue of the Saraswat Brahmins of Goa. The Saraswat Brahmins who were converted to Christianity would still follow some of the Hindu practices and customs but were punished by the Portuguese. Some Christian converts who were finding it difficult to practice their Hindu traditions fled to Udupi and Mangalore.  However, most converts remained in Goa to follow their new religion, “Catholicism”. Over a period of time the converts got integrated into the Portuguese culture and accepted the lifestyle. However, the migrated converts to Karnataka still followed the ancient Hindu traditions and customs.

The Christians of Goa are called as “Goans” and the Christians of Southern Karnataka are called as “Mangaloreans”.

( To be continued )