Sunday, November 16, 2008

Norway Top, Iran Near Bottom on Gender

The constitutional monarchy of Norway and home of the Nobel Prize stewards leads the world with the smallest gender gap. Iran is a dark ages basement dweller at 116 out of 130 on gender equality for the 18th largest sized country on Earth. The world's number one super power democracy is solidly behind Norway, Finland, Sweden, Iceland and New Zealand coming in at #27. Sadly, that's an improvement over last year. Persian and Iranian civilization has been around in some form since before 4000 BC. The USA only gave suffrage to women in 1920 with a constitutional amendment passing by one vote. Since the 21st millennium began, Norway had a firm grip on the top spot in human development with an enlightened universal Scandinavian welfare model. Just to get to the top spot Norway had to move up just two places on their Nordic neighbors.
The UK came 13th and slipped from 11th place last year while France was among those countries whose ranking rose sharply, from 51st to 15th place helped by gains in economic participation and political empowerment.
Syria, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia all fell in the ranking and showed a drop in overall scores. Progress in closing the gap is not only "possible" but can be achieved in a relatively short space of time said the forum.
The index surveyed economic participation, educational attainment, political empowerment and health and survival.
Women in senior leadership roles in government, business and other organization needs to happen in more nations but the bugaboo of diversifying escapes rational discussion and implementation year after year. Looks bleak in the United Kingdom as the pay gap widens as the UK falls two places to number 13 on the World Economic Forum's Flobal Gender gap index, especially for women with the top job in a business. Canada took a greased toboggan down Mount Robson sliding to an ungainly stop 13 spots down from their prior perch. Turkey considered by those in Bush's state department as the most moderate Muslim nation sparkles in infamy at 123 out of 130 as the formerly secular nation grows ever more rigidly conservative in it politics. Don't hold your breath for the Bush guys to mention that out loud either as Turkey's air space is a vital American interest.
Women in the US still have trouble reaching equal status and equal pay. In Missouri, three female anchors are suing their former television station for tossing them off the air while their balder, fatter and squinting male counterparts got to stay on the tube. Gender bias shows up in a multitude of areas while significant accomplishments receive noteworthy attention. The United States military broke the so-called brass ceiling pinning a fourth star on General Ann E. Dunwoody's dress uniform. The 55 year old is the top commander of the Army Matériel Command unit which supplies all soldiers with weapons and gear. She is a master jumper and which led to her creds as the 82nd Airborne's first female battalion commander at Fort Bragg.
"It was clear to me that my Army experience was just going to be a two-year detour en route to my fitness profession," she added. "So when asked, `Ann, did you ever think you were going to be a general officer, to say nothing about a four-star?' I say, `Not in my wildest dreams.'

"There is no one more surprised than I — except, of course, my husband. You know what they say, `Behind every successful woman there is an astonished man.'"

Too bad that is has such the ring of truth - still in the USA and everywhere else...

In a story of intolerance from a temperate religion comes the story of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She fought against the cultural norms on three continents suffering horrible deprivations along the way. While I may not agree with all of her political views, her courage and intellect are diamonds of the first water and her story is the beginning of her legend. She titled the book strongly, Infidel. A Great Read!

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