Human Rights

Open and hidden gender inequality

By: Lykke E. Andersen*

Economists distinguish between open and hidden unemployment, and I think it is possible to introduce a similar distinction in the area of gender inequality.

I will define open gender inequality as that which is reflected in all the traditional gender indicators, such as gender gaps in school enrolment, gender differences in labour market participation rates, gender pay gaps, etc. I would usually have referred to the World Bank’s World Development Indicators for such data, but they have been updating their website, and I can’t find anything anymore. The United Nations system for SDG indicators is even worse. Instead, Our World in Data has vastly improved, so that is my new go-to site for all kinds of development statistics, including gender inequality data (

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If we could measure poverty by gender, what would we find?

By: Lykke E. Andersen*

Poverty is usually measured at the household level, and since there is pretty much the same number of women as men in each household, poverty rates have almost by definition been identical for men and women. This fact, however, has not prevented thousands of articles from claiming that “poverty has a female face” (1). The perception that women are more likely to be poor is almost universal, despite the lack of empirical evidence.

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Anti-feministic musings on International Women’s Day


LykkeAndersen3By: Lykke E. Andersen*

Today is International Women’s Day and you are likely to be bombarded with posts, articles and speeches listing all the ways in which women are wronged and discriminated against. Some of it is true in some places, and there are definitely problems that have to be dealt with, but the concept of Women’s Day still bothers me, for several reasons.

First, designating one day as Women’s Day would seem to imply that the other 364 days of the year are men’s days. That is a very long way from equality. Either we should have one Women’s day and one Men’s day, or neither of the two. Anything else would be discriminating.

Second, Women’s Day tends to perpetuate the perception that women are weak and repressed and unfairly treated. But why is it that in almost every country on Earth (except Botswana, Swaziland and Mali), women live longer than men? (1). Either women are built much tougher or they live easier, less dangerous and less stressful lives than men. Women are a lot smarter and stronger than feminists give them credit for.

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The Universal Beer Work Constant

Lykke Andersen

By: Lykke E. Andersen*

It’s Carnaval week/month in Bolivia – the time of year when most beer is drunk. Beer prices have just gone up again, now reaching an outrageous Bs. 9, or more, for a small can of standard beer in supermarkets. This corresponds to USD 3.64 for 1 liter of beer, way more than it costs in rich countries such as Denmark.

If we take into account the low level of wages in Bolivia and the high prices of beer, Bolivia becomes one of the most expensive places in the world for beer lovers. On average, Bolivians have to work about 145 minutes to afford 1 liter of beer (1), whereas in the United States on average they only have to work for 10 minutes (see figure 1).

Figure 1: Minutes of work required to purchase 1 liter of beer in a supermarket

Source: Author’s elaboration based on data from The Economist + Bolivian data (
Source: Author’s elaboration based on data from The Economist + Bolivian data (

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Graphics: Bolivia tops Violence Against Women in Latin America chart.

PAHO Violence Against WomenIn a March 2013 report, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, presented comparative cross-country data on the state of violence against women in 12 nations across Latin America and the Caribbean. As the subsequent infographic by Hispanically Speaking News illustrates, Bolivia topped the chart by some margin.

When asked about their experiences over the past 12 months, one in five Bolivian women claimed to have been victims of physical abuse, with 53.3 percent of women reporting physical violence by a partner.

Intimate partner violence in Bolivia is 35 percent larger than the next highest abuse rate of 38.6 percent for both Colombia and Peru. At 17 percent, Dominican Republic appear to have the lowest, albeit still unacceptably high, level of partner violence against women. Read More »

Is intelligence based wage discrimination wrong?

Currently many countries are passing anti-discrimination laws for the employment sector. It is increasingly considered morally wrong to pay someone less based on their genetically or environmentally determined traits, such as race, gender, age and certain mental or physical disabilities. However there is one trait that is universally left out of this anti-discrimination trend and that is intelligence; An intelligence based salary system remains completely acceptable despite the fact that we have little more control over our level of intelligence than our gender.

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What’s more important freedom of speech or economic development?

Mieke Dale Harris

Freedom of speech has become an important prerequisite of democracy and is to an equal extent prized by the population of any democratic country. Many modern generations quite rightly feel that they have a “right” to speak their mind about political policies and that when many minds converge in their opinion these minds have a “right” to group together and express their discontent, be it in the form of strikes, blockades, marches or sit-ins. This relatively modern trend can be seen in the almost daily protests, of one kind of another, that afflict America, England and a number of other developed democratic (or even non-democratic) countries. It can also be noted in the international outcry that rained down over the presidents of the Arab Spring over a year ago, or more recently, but to a lesser extent, the international discontent over the arrest of the Russian protest punk group “Pussy Riot”.

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Guest Roast: Mining Companies’ Violations In Developing Countries—Who Is Responsible?

By Grahame Russel

Increasingly, over the past few years, information has been published about serious human rights violations and health and environmental harms being caused in Guatemala by (mainly) Canadian mining company operations: Goldcorp Inc., Radius Gold Inc., Tahoe Resources Inc., Hudbay Minerals, and others.

It is not possible to understand how these violations and harms occur, and will continue to occur, without understanding the political context.  Read More »


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