Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How immense is the sexism hitch in economics?

During a Sunday service at Champions of Christ recently Pastor Happy Gondwe called people who wanted to be prayed for and scores of girls were among the first to come forward. What startled me was what the girls had asked the pastor to pray for them. Yes they had asked the pastor to pray for intelligence in physical science and mathematics. And true their wishes the pastor prayed for the little girls who yes  I was perplexed that at such a young age they saw the need to excel in science subjects.
I could  not resist to  recall of  a recent economist’s recent list of the 25 most influential economists which did not include a single woman. Many male former central bankers and regional Federal Reserve Bank governors had been  included on the list, but the Economist gave itself a special rule to exclude active central bankers, which meant that Janet Yellen—arguably the world’s most influential economist—didn’t make the list.
I could not stop to think of the two economists in my family yes Eunice Kamwendo and Marsha Kamanga. My father had been many things and it included his degree in economics. And sure these two cousins of mine had looked up to him as their role model.  We are proud of these people because mostly artistic.
Well the absence of female economists the elite list poked University of Michigan Professor and New York Times columnist Justin Wolfers to  respond with a tweeted list of influential women economists. Among the names on the list included quite a number of African female economists.
But still I could not stop to ask why are top-notch female economists not being taken seriously? Why are they having trouble being recognized for their contributions to the profession? Why do women still have a hard time in the economics profession in general? There is no shortage of potential explanations.
In their recent academic paper “Women in Academic Science: A Changing Landscape,” Stephen J. Ceci, Donna K. Ginther, Shulamit Kahn, and Wendy M. Williams document the gender gap in economics and discuss many possible hurdles at each stage of a female economist’s career. And in a recent Bloomberg View article, University of Michigan Economics PhD Noah Smith adds to this list of potential hurdles the climate created by many male economists who defend their sexist views as hard-nosed truth telling.
 And even when women do reach these higher levels—despite the difficulty of getting their work published in male-dominated journals and in getting promoted even when they do get their work published—their wages remain lower.
Many male economists underestimate the headwinds women face in economics, but they exist at every stage of a woman’s career. Just as an annual economic growth rate of about .33% per year in the 18th century and 1% in the 19th century transformed the world in the First and Second Industrial Revolutions, women in economics face many forces both large and small that add up to a huge overall damper on the number of women who make it to the higher ranks of our profession.
And even when women do reach these higher levels—despite the difficulty of getting their work published in male-dominated journals and in getting promoted even when they do get their work published—their wages remain lower.
 Students don’t give female professors the same respect as they do male professors. Compare ratings given to online teachers who represent themselves as female to one set of students and male to another, as in the experiment these instructors recently conducted.
 Female assistant professors have to worry about whether they dare take advantage of tenure clock extensions to have a child, while male assistant professors have no worries about taking advantage of the tenure clock extensions they get when their wives have a child. For the men, it is a simple strategic choice; for the women, it is reminder to their colleagues that (with rare exceptions) they bear the heaviest burden of taking care of a young child—a burden that might take time away from their research.
 Women in economics often get mistaken at social events for an economist’s spouse instead of being recognized as economists themselves.
 Fostering awareness of issues like these, and a hundred others of the same ilk, is one of the biggest things that can be done to improve women’s lot in economics.

Greater gender equality in economics could also be fostered by a better power balance among colleagues. What we mean is that female economists should be encouraged to assert their power, but male economists should find it hard or impossible to exert illegitimate, sexist power over their female colleagues. If this sounds obvious, it’s much harder than it seems.
If men are allowed to be jerks without suffering serious consequences, while women aren’t, then even well-behaved men have a threat-point that women are denied. One of the most primal reasons to treat someone nicely is the fear of a mistreated person’s anger or revenge. That doesn’t work well for women, because getting angry either makes them look like a harridan, or look overly emotional—both of which carry a big penalty in lost status.

We don’t think the answer here is to change the culture so that women can be jerks, too, but to move toward holding everyone, both men and women, to account for bad behavior.  For many men, it will be a revelation to be called out on the ways in which they demean others. Some may not even realize all the ways they routinely put others down—especially those in vulnerable positions who dare not strike back. But if you talk to a few women who spend time in economics departments, you will hear the stories.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Report says thousands of children growing in violent homes

By Penelope Paliani-Kamanga
A report released during the 16 days of Activism by the United Nations Children’s Fund has revealed that over 2, 4 million children in Malawi are growing under domestic infested homes raising fears that Malawi could be breeding a violent generation.
Unicef Child Protection Officer Asefa Dano said at a press conference that children growing up in such families were likely to grow and become violent adults and parents.
He said a study which was conducted countrywide found out that in most households children were being subjected to physical and verbal violence where they would either be beaten or see their parents fighting.
He said that despite intervention and initiatives against child abuse and domestic violence by both the state and others stakeholder’s violence in the homes was still on the higher side.
The report stated that the rate of co-occurrence of Malawian children experiencing physical abuse and being exposed to domestic violence, and experiencing sexual abuse and being exposed to domestic violence have been estimated at 20 percent and 10 percent respectively.
Dano said the media is awash with tragedy stories, children being raped, and beaten by parents who are supposed to be caring for them and now these children count 2.4 million.
He said these children grow up in resentment as there is a correlation between child growth and his or her growing environment.
“Those children who are growing up in houses where there is domestic violence, they also learn to be violent in future. Children also who are growing up in domestic violence, they are also likely to experience themselves domestic violence.
"Information from other countries indicates that 64 % of children who live in violent homes are themselves abused as well,” said Mr. Dano.

Dano said that the traumatisation of children exposed to domestic violence presents an important challenge to legislators, policymakers and community welfare providers.
This was substantiated with statistics from the Police Victim Support Unit in Blantyre where it was reported that at least every day about 10 cases of domestic violence are reported at the various police unit countrywide.
“And most cases they come from well built families where there are children in the houses,” read the report from the police.
MIAA Executive Director Robert Ngaiyaye said the faith community also has also a crucial role to play in sensitizing communities and reducing violence, abuse, exploitation and negligence of children.
“The children of this country face a lot of challenges in terms of abuse, torture, and neglect by even guardians who take care of them. And therefore it is significant that we must have a day set aside to pray for these evils.
As religious leaders we are guided by the word God and we have the responsibility to ensure that children are well protected,” said Ngaiyaye
Gender Activist Tione Mwanza said there was need to put in place a range of policy initiatives and programs that seek to address domestic violence and child abuse, and more specifically those that address children’s exposure to domestic violence.
Research indicates that there are a number of strategies that could inform effective responses to this problem, including: increased awareness of children’s exposure to domestic violence as a form of child abuse; early intervention, which has been identified as crucial to disrupting the intergenerational transmission of domestic violence.

Mwanza said that growing up in a violent home is one of the most terrifying and traumatic experiences a child can go through. “It’s an experience that a child will not forget. It’s an experience that can affect every aspect of a child’s life, growth and their development.”

He said there is a definite correlation between domestic violence and child abuse. Growing up in a violent home can set patterns for children patterns that can cause them to commit violence and abuse, and continue the cycle of violence and abuse.

Children living in violent homes are often too frightened have low self esteem and embarrassed to speak out.  They are also more apt to become high school dropouts, substance abusers, pregnant teens, gun users, and become juvenile and adult criminals.
It’s reported that 50 percent of the men who frequently assault their wives, also frequently abuse their children. School-age kids who grow up in violent homes generally exhibit a range of problem behaviors such as: depression, anxiety, and violence towards their peers.
When a parent terrorizes another parent, their children are terrorized too! Anger is deeply set within those children … anger that is so deep and long-lasting that when that child reaches adulthood, the damage is already done.
The terrorist parent leaves his children an incredible legacy of pain and problems -- societal and emotional problems that may never disappear.

Thandi a survivor of domestic violence said: “She didn’t think she ever could have known what an impact and witnessing domestic violence would have on her son’s life. Her son witnessed domestic violence continuously for the first six years of his life. His behavior became progressively worse, especially as he began to socialize with other kids.
In kindergarten he became outraged if something did not go his way, and on many occasions, bit other children so hard that he drew blood. He would often slam and break things for no apparent reason, and had constant violent temper tantrums. It was at this time that this victim found the courage to leave the violent relationship she had with her son’s father.
He was physically aggressive towards other students, and constantly walked out of class when teachers confronted him with his disruptive behavior. The school alerted the mother to the fact that her son’s behavior wasn’t normal. Although her struggle as a victim is over, she must now stand by and watch her son struggle through the same journey.
She feels she failed to protect him. There is nothing she can do to make it better, as her son experiences the effects of a family legacy that has claimed many victims. She has now sought psychological assistance for her son to deal with this long and painful legacy.

We know that violence is learned behavior. Children learn it from their parents and the cycle continues.

We also know that whatever is learned can be unlearned. It is up to all of us to be educated and learn all of the signs, symptoms and what we can do to stop children from hurting – to destroy the legacy!


- 6 times more likely to commit suicide

- 24 times more likely to be sexually assaulted

- 67 times more likely to engage in delinquent behavior as an adolescent

- 100 times more likely to be abusers themselves

Friday, June 12, 2015

People Just wanted to say that am back after staying away for many many years. Let the talk begin

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Unending Gender war?

A few days ago I heard some people telling a story of a dental nurse that her dentist had looked up the address of her patient before deciding how much to charge her. The patient lived in a good part of town, and so the bill for the removal of her wisdom tooth was bumped up - without her knowledge, of course.
That's not fair! was my initial reaction.

But then, I suppose, the dentist would argue that she can charge whatever she likes, and, further, that by doing this sort of thing, she would not have to charge so much to her less well-heeled patients.

If the dentist charges the same to everyone, then this is a bit unfair on the poorer patients. On the other hand, if she charges the wealthier more, then this would be a bit unfair on the wealthier patients.

So, in practice, both things seem to be generally acceptable. And, on the whole, it all seems to be more a question of balance. Provided that the wealthier are not charged too much more than poorer folk because of their financial position, they do not create too much of a fuss about it.

But for any given differential between the two, a fuss, at some level, is usually made.

And the only point that I am trying to make in this article is that there is no real solution to the problem. There is no right and morally correct thing to do. It is all a question of balance.

And so there will always be a tussle between the two camps.

But 'tussle' is surely too tame a word for what is, in fact, much more like a war!

And it will probably remain so for a considerable length of time to come because there is no solution. There is no right and morally correct thing to do. There is nowhere to be found where to draw a line which will be acceptable to everyone.

It is all a question of balance, with some people leaning one way and with other people leaning the other way.

But the balance between the two sides can be very much affected by the motives that appear to be behind the policies being applied.

For example, the dentist can be portrayed as a Samaritan, helping the poor by taking some more from the rich. But, on the other hand, she can be seen as something of a Scrooge who is simply trying to squeeze as much money as possible out of each of her clients.

Should a woman who can carry one brick in her wheelbarrow be paid the same as a man who can carry two?

By and large - though there is no strict division along gender lines –me as a woman I will answer Yes to this question, and probably my husband as a man will answer No. But, just as in the previous case concerning the dentist, there is no place where to draw the line that is acceptable to everyone.

Girls versus technology

Technologies should be equally accessible to male and female students. Yet, as girls enter adolescence; large numbers of them tend to lose interest in science, math, and computer science. Girls are narrowing the gender gap in science and math, but not in technology.

Overall girls' test scores and course enrollments have risen in these areas, with the exception of computer science. In order to attempt to address this issue, the cause of the discrepancies between males and females in computer use must be established.

A gender gap exists between males and females in the use of technology. Girls are still not much interested in computers as the boys. One simply needs to walk into computer clubs or computer science classes in order to see the gap between the number of boys versus girls in these clubs and classes.

It is important to note that this is not always the case nor is it necessarily intentional. Many parents, educators, and manufacturers out there are indeed very sensitive to the issues of gender. They are making great strides to create equity in all areas for males and females. On the other hand, there are those parents, educators, and manufacturers who are shocked and surprised to realize that they are unintentionally sending separate signals about expectations for girls and boys. Differential treatments by educators divert girls from science and technology.
In the same way, other influential adults in girls' lives influence the paths girls follow and the perception of girls concerning their own future and those of others.

Teachers and the educational system are believed to influence the gender gap in computer use.. Boys gravitate toward computer games and mechanical toys. Girls, on the other hand, are more likely to play with dolls or be involved in more social games. Teachers may treat boys differently than girls causing differing expectations.
For example, boys and girls are often approached differently when dealing with inappropriate physical and verbal attacks on others. Boys involved in pushing or even fist fights may be more accepted that girls involved in the same activities; "boys will be boys." Girls are expected to be better negotiators thus preventing the need for physical altercations.

In addition, girls in adolescence tend to experience weakening self perceptions . Many girls in adolescence go through changes which negatively affect self image and future choices. As a result, girls often refrain from asking questions and sharing answers. Many girls feel inferior to others or wish to mask their leadership abilities and intelligence and decline opportunities to take part in student government, clubs, or challenges that may cause failure. These issues also discourage some girls from taking part in higher track classes in math, science, and computer science. Still others point at education at the administrative level. Here, some say, is where funds are appropriated. There are views that teachers and administrators in education are responsible for the gender gap in technology.

The lack of strong female role models is believed by some experts to be yet another reason for the gender gap in technology use between males and females. It is suggested that providing children the opportunity to see guest speakers from both genders in nontraditional careers. Common sense tells us that we find possibility or lack of possibility in what we experience. Girls who see and develop communication with other females who have careers in science and technology fields, will be more likely to have these high expectations for themselves. These girls will perceive science and technology fields as plausible careers for themselves. Few female mentors are available for girls when investigating career opportunities . Just like boys, girls benefit from listening and interacting with mentors and role models.

Lee Canter said it best, "Parents are the most important, influential people in a child's life. Parental views on gender roles, belief systems regarding gender, and actions toward both sexes will inevitably influence children. Children are sent strong signals about the world around them, more specifically about men and women, from parents. Parents' actions and words send messages about the parents' beliefs. Parents should closely examine whether their actions and words are telling their children what they wish them to be telling their children. Parents should closely examine what they say with their actions and words.

If we want to see young girls more involved in computers, we must begin with parents. There are many practical and easy ways parents can encourage their girls in the use of technology. Parents can begin at home to encourage girls to use technologies. Several ideas for encouraging girls' interest in technology. First, children should be exposed to technology at an early age. Children should learn that technology is fun and helpful to use. They should see it as one of the many tools in our world that make life easier. Parents should also buy technology products of interest to their daughters. Unfortunately, a majority of the CD's for children are designed for the interests of boys. Girls rarely have interest in monsters or weapons commonly seen in computer software. Rather, they tend to want to accomplish a specific goal using the computer. As a result, it may be more challenging to find programs that will interest young girls. "Barriers are lifted when girls play with other girls and have equal access to the control devices such as the video game control pad, keyboard, joystick, or mousective of girls toward technology.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Mugabe votes is this the end of him

On March 29 Robert Mugabe voted but the question is being asked was it the last time for him to vote as president. We will see.

The Zimbabwe harmornised elections

March 29 was the mosgt important day for the Zimbabweans. It was a day for them to make a decision. As of now we are still not yet sure what they have decided. But I was priviledged to to be there to witness the people making the most important decision. But unconfirmed results show that Morgan Tsvangirai could have beaten the old man clean. Could this mean the Zimbabweans have spoken we will wait for the official results. lest wait you will be updated as the time goes.