Yes! Use methodologies and skills to solve real-world problems

Researchers are warning that there will continue to be a dire lack of women in influential monetary policy positions because too few women are studying economics.

In the UK, women make up just 27 per cent of economics students, despite accounting for 57 per cent of the undergraduate population.”

Increasingly, university economics curriculums are being seen as both the problem and the solution.  The problem being that much of what is taught is statistical modelling and theories based on rational man, neither of which translate directly to real-world situations where life is messy and complicated and people do not always act rationally.

Students have started a Rethinking Economics campaign with the goal to change the image of the field from being a springboard into a banking career to one as an evidence-based method of inquiry into real-life problems.  Current economics leaders believe that this development could help entice more people, men and women, who want to help others into the field.

Tending to the invisible wounds of conflict

I found this incredibly inspirational!

Gardening Leave is a charity that works with veterans to help them achieve the World Health Organisation’s definition of health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The organisation does this through horticultural therapy providing “professionally conducted, individualised, goal-oriented treatment sessions” and also campaigns to reduce the stigma of mental ill-health.

The Good Country Party

Launched by Simon Anholt, a political consultant who lives in England, the Good Country Party “has a natural constituency of about 700 million people, one tenth of the planet’s total population, scattered pretty uniformly across it.” Anholt calls those constituents new cosmopolitans. His idea for a borderless political party came out of his work on the Good Country Index that asks which nation does the most good in the world. Anholt’s argument for the need of such a party is that while people can join different organisations to campaign for or against various issues, “For the real single issue, about how we organise ourselves to determine the fate of the species, there is nothing. There needs to be a place those people can go where they look for solutions.”

The party’s website says that the Good Country Party is for “people who see global issues as just as important or even more important than national issues; who are more concerned with international co-operation and human progress than with domestic politics; people who see their humanity as more important than their nationality; people who want a say in how the world is run.”

Internet freedom declining

New research by Freedom House has found that internet freedom around the world has declined for the fourth consecutive year. One of several major contributors to this decline is the increase in the harassment of women and LGBTI users, often “resulting in self-censorship that inhibits their participation in online culture.”

Such restriction is occurring in an atmosphere of increasingly aggressive repression and criminalisation of online dissent, often by national governments.  The authors of the report note that “more people are being arrested for their internet activity than ever before, online media outlets are increasingly pressured to censor themselves or face legal penalties, and private companies are facing new demands to comply with government requests for data or deletions.”

Gender equality benefits EVERYONE

A recent study by scientists at the University of British Columbia found that “Gender equality was the most significant and robust predictor of a country’s Olympic success after gross domestic product.” To ensure the significance of the impact of gender equality, researchers isolated it from other factors such as income equality, gross domestic product, population and latitude.

The study, Win-win: Female and male athletes from more gender equal nations perform better in international sports competitions,  will be published in the January edition of Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. Lead author is Jennifer Berdahl, a Sauder School of Business professor.

At present we know only that the imagination, like certain wild animals, will not breed in captivity. George Orwell