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“Sexist” data is making it harder to improve women’s and girls’ lives, the world’s leading philanthropic couple Bill and Melinda Gates said Tuesday in an open letter.
The couple warned that a lack of focus by researchers on gender and a disdain for what were perceived as “women’s issues” were resulting in “missing data” that could lead to better decisions and policies, enable advocacy and measure progress.
“The data we do have — data that policymakers depend on — is bad. You might even call it sexist,” Melinda Gates wrote in their annual letter discussing the work of their foundation, one of the largest private charities in the world.
Gender inequality is one of the greatest barriers to human progress, the United Nations said last year, with studies showing that when girls stay in education, they have more opportunities and healthier children, which boosts development.
But data often does not take gender into account and is flawed by biased questions, said the husband and wife team behind the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Because women in developing countries are primarily seen as wives and mothers, most of the data about them focuses on their reproductive health, not their earnings and assets, they said.
“You can’t improve things if you don’t know what’s going on with half the population,” wrote Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corp.
The couple said mobile phones offered a powerful tool to allow women to build new connections, gain economic freedom and challenge restrictive social norms, for example by buying contraceptives online.
“If you’re a woman who has never stepped into a bank, mobile banking offers you a foothold in the formal economy and a chance at financial independence,” said Melinda Gates.
“You gain opportunities to connect with customers, trainings, and professional organizations — all from your home.”
Toilets also emerged as a feminist issue, with the couple hailing a next generation of facilities which can kill pathogens and produce useable by-products such as fertilizer.
Safe toilets worldwide would especially benefit women and girls, they said, who risk assault while using public facilities or may be forced to skip school when on their periods.
International aid groups agreed more of a focus on women and girls was needed.
“We can’t improve what we fail to measure,” Richard Morgan, international advocacy director at the child rights charity Plan International, told Reuters.
“Bringing visibility to girls and women is the first critical step in improving their lives.” (VOA)
By Siddhi Jain
The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.
Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.
Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background
The Guwahati-born author says, "With this book, I'm not trying to take away the job of parents in forming habits, I simply want to do my part as a parent. It is important that we impart the right values in our kids in a bid to build a better, more inclusive and tolerant global society that is fair to everyone." The author's first attempt at a book was an Assamese poetry 'Anubhav', published in 2010.
Set to be published under the label of Author's Channel, the book is like an adventure; a journey into uncharted territories, untouched subjects and matters long ignored. In her words. "The book takes a critical stand in defense of people in society who have had to undergo severe emotional torture for no cause of theirs. It is a terrible conception to think such people any less of a human just for being different," says publisher Aruna Naidu. By September 30, this title, priced at Rs 299, will be available online and in offline bookstores. (IANS/ MBI)
Rajesh U Pandya, Managing Director, KAI India, gives easy and completely doable tips to follow at home:
* Refrain from harsh soaps: You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. Your soap can have a moisturizing element in it like aloe vera or shea butter. Ensure that you're washing your hands with normal water as hot water can make your hand's skin dry and scaly.
Make use of your personal nail clipper to cut your nails. | Pixabay
* Be aware of nail or cuticle inflammation or redness: If there are any signs of infection, disinfect the skin as soon as possible with an anti-bacterial or anti-fungal ointment.
(Article originally written by N.Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Nails, groom, hand, exfoliate, chew, nail clipper, bite, cuticle
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