22 April

The US Government workforce is closing the gender pay gap, but reforms still needed, report says

- Gender & ICTs

Women working for the federal government earn less than men overall but the gap is shrinking, and most of the difference is the result of women being concentrated in lower-paying jobs with too few occupying the top ranks. It reflects the changing nature of federal employment: a shift away from occupations such as low-paying clerical jobs, disproportionately filled by women, and growth in higher-paying professional and administrative jobs that are increasingly held by women.

The Office of Personnel Management?s (OPM hereafter) study showed an overall gender pay gap for white-collar occupations of 12.7 percent in 2012, down from 19.8 percent in 2002 and 30 percent in 1992. However, some frustrating realities for women in government remain – e.g. agencies use special authorities to set higher starting salaries when hiring men than when hiring women.

Some of the disparity is based on occupation, the report said, adding that women receive promotions and performance-based increases slightly more frequently. Other factors that may be contributing to the pay gap include work experience, caregiving responsibilities, motivation and performance, which originates out from workplace and have deep social roots.

Read in full:

Government workforce is closing the gender pay gap, but reforms still needed, report says


18 April

How age, gender and social media converge in Hollywood

- Misc.

novak( a letter for a friend)

Hi! I remember how at your nice dinner party, we had been chatting about my new research on aging, and how women in Hollywood were especially vulnerable in this aspect.
The next thing, at the Oscar ceremony, 81-yrs-old Kim Novak – which had been an icon of beauty and talent for so many people worldwide – was publicly ridiculed for her looks by the audacious “hostess”.

This story has lived the most unexpected, hilarious consequence in social media as a “solidarity campaign” with Kim, picked up by British women and has yielded millions of UK pounds to the cancer research.
I am fascinated by the story. For me, it’s about the meaning of aging; how people become aware of “all the lies about aging” (comments are interesting, especially in the 1st article!); but also about the power of social networks and the rediscovered human solidarity.

I thought you might find it interesting, too, so I decided to share it.
Hugs
Emma

Laura Lippman’s selfie ‘in solidarity’ with Kim Novak sets off tweet trend

#nomakeupselfie raises ‘unprecedented’ £8m for cancer research


08 April

Use of the internet is expected to triple by 2017: Environmental concerns related to it

- Misc.

The Greenpeace’ report released this April indicates that the web may help destroy “the very fabric of our life on Earth”, due to the carbon-based sources of power it uses and the electronic waste that is left behind by its discarded gadgetry. This article summarizes and explains such risks. They are especially important now, because use of the internet is expected to triple by 2017.

The two new reports – the Pew Internet Research Project report and the Greenpeace Report - give different perspectives on this.

 

Read more:

 

 


31 March

The face of internationalisation in Europe: brand new EAIE study unveiled by EAIE

- Education Worldwide

Blog_BarometerAs internationalisation of higher education has become increasingly complex and far reaching over the past years, EAIE (European Association for International Education) unveiled a project to undertake comprehensive research to map the state of internationalisation in Europe. In particular, the study will focus on the current state of affairs regarding internationalisation in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the key developments and challenges in the field and the skills requirements and specific needs of staff involved in international education. The study will provide analysis on both a national/regional level and European level.

The survey aims to provide a chance to share experiences, not only strengthening the knowledge base for policy makers but also addressing the performance and skills of people in their day-to-day work in internationalisation. In the midst of a constantly evolving international education field, the survey is expected to provide essential insights to all those organisations working to assist those practitioners directly involved in international education.

Invite to all faculty to participate in the e-survey, which will be  available online from 13 March until 22 April.

Read More:

The face of internationalisation in Europe: brand new EAIE study unveiled


13 March

Working Together to keep the Web Open and Free: Tim Berners-Lee on its 25th Anniversary

- Misc.

In March 1989, Tim Berners-Lee, 58, established a place for himself in the history books by creating the World Wide Web. That month, the Briton, who at the time worked for the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), wrote a paper titled “Information Management — A Proposal.” His research led to the development of the first Web browser and, finally, the World Wide Web. Today, Berners-Lee is a professor at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Southhampton in England. He is also a Sir and doctor honoris causa at several universities, OpenUniversity of Catalonia, among them (since 2008).

       tim bernerslee uocIn this skype interview by Spiegel Online, Tim Berners-Lee looks back on his creation — its strengths, the threats it poses and how Edward Snowden’s revelations have raised awareness about Internet integrity.

 SPIEGEL ONLINE: Looking back 25 years, what was one of the most important milestones in the Web’s development?

Berners-Lee: When I first developed the Web technology at CERN in Geneva, there was another system called Gopher. I didn’t think it was as good as the Web, but it started earlier and had more users. At a certain point the University of Minnesota, which had created the Gopher system, said that in the future they would possibly charge a royalty for commercial uses. Gopher traffic immediately dropped off and people moved to the World Wide Web. CERN management then made a commitment — I can still remember the date, April 30, 1993 — that royalties would never be charged for using the Web. That was a very important step because it established a trend.

Read this remarkable interview in full:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/interview-with-tim-berners-lee-on-25th-anniversary-of-world-wide-web-a-958304.html

In this 2008 speech at UOC,Tim Berners-Lee already call to work together to “ensure it will be  one web”

 


07 March

International Women’s Day: violence and obstacles yet to overcome

- Uncategorized

genderviolencemap

About a third of all women in the EU have experienced either physical or sexual violence since the age of 15, and 55% said they had been sexually harassed. These are the hard-hitting findings of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency-carried out survey, recently released.

Results sharply vary among countries: 19% of women have suffered violence by a partner in Poland while in Denmark the share is up to 52%. However, these numbers may be quite misleading, because women in northern societies are far more open to report abuse while in other parts of Europe it is still seen as a domestic, private conflict.


Inequality has so many faces: career development

Indeed, women face inequality in many fields and at different levels of their professional careers. In business, only few of them reach top positions. To deal with that, the Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona recently presented a new online database which enables women to register as potential executives for those companies seeking women to join their Boards of Directors. According to a Spanish law passed in 2007, in big companies the share of women among the Board of Directors’ members will have to be not less than 40% by 2015. However, in Catalonia, only 11% of companies meet that requirement, and this new tool aims to provide them with female talent to bridge the gap ahead of deadline.

During the session, the President of the Women, Business and Economy Observatory of the Chamber, Núria Lao, stated that the cost of the glass ceiling in terms of GDP is about €1bn only in Catalonia, with no more than 4.5% of executive positions being filled by women. Anna Mercadé, Director of the Observatory, observed that with 60% of degree holders being women, numbers must turn upside down.

Ms. Mercadé explained that the database will gather information about skills and abilities acquired both in formal and informal life. Users will be able to attach files to back their proficiency. Eventually, an interview with Chamber’s staff will help identify weaknesses and draw a path to improve applicants’ skills. “It is our duty to convince other women of applying for executive positions, because in the top we have the power to set the agenda, preventing men-shaped work schedules which usually damage work-life balance”, she declared.

A very practical database: a tool for women, boosted by women, to empower women.

More information:

FRA Report http://fra.europa.eu/en/press-release/2014/violence-against-women-every-day-and-everywhere

Executive Women Database  http://www.conselleresidirectives.com/


24 February

Harvard, MIT Launch MOOC Student Visualization Tools

- Learning Technologies

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the two institutions behind the massive open online course provider edX, on Thursday released a set of tools that visualize the age, gender, location and level of education of their almost 2 million MOOC users.

Called Insights, the tools were developed by Sergiy Nesterko and Daniel Seaton, research fellows at HarvardX and MIT, respectively. In a news release, Nesterko said Insights “can help to guide instruction while courses are running and deepen our understanding of the impact of courses after they are complete.”

A side-by-side comparison of HarvardX and MITx’s enrollment numbers shows Harvard’s MOOCs have attracted more than 1 million users to MIT’s roughly 820,000. More than one-third of Harvard’s MOOC students are in the U.S., compared to about one-quarter of MIT’s. The only other country to register in the double digits among either institution is India, whose students account for 15.5 percent of HarvardX’s total enrollment.

Similar to the student bodies at the physical campuses, MITx students are more likely to be male — 66.2 percent to HarvardX’s 59.5 percent. They are also younger — MITx’s median age is 27; HarvardX’s, 28 — and, by a few percentage points, less likely to hold a postsecondary degree. MOOCs are still dominated by students who hold such a degree, however. Among MITx students, 64.6 percent hold at least a bachelor’s degree, and for HarvardX, those students make up more than two-thirds, or 67.8 percent, of the total enrollment.

Insights will be made available to the member institutions in the edX consortium.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2014/02/21/harvard-mit-launch-mooc-student-visualization-tools#ixzz2uDGJGmyO


18 February

Women's Rights after the Arab Spring

- Misc.

arabspring

The revolutions that swept across the Middle East in 2011, known as “The Arab Spring,” promised greater freedoms for many in the region, including women. While there have been some advances in women’s rights, the promise in many cases has not been realized.

While the new constitutions in Egypt and Tunisia guarantee greater rights for women, the laws that keep women safe are often not enforced. On the one hand, revolution took conservative forces to the fore – which do not empathize with women at all. On the other hand, the new political ground empowers women and provides a chance for shift.

Turkey has often been at the forefront of women’s rights in the Middle East. But the recent rhetoric of Prime Minister Erdogan, and more conservative social norms encouraged by the Government have raised increasing concerns about equality for women. A quarter of Turkish marriages involve a child bride. Half of women over the age of 15 have reported abuse at home. Only 26% of girls graduate high school. These are just some examples of the challenges women’s rights are facing in Turkey.

 While the Gulf is often considered more conservative when it comes to women’s rights, attitudes may be shifting. Opposite to these countries where revolutions jeopardized and even rolled back recently achieved rights for women, in Gulf’s Arab Dynasties people have seen greater social and political reforms.

According to Isobel Coleman, a Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, it’s important to remember that every country and the starting point for women in every country is really quite different. Arguably, in Tunisia, women were starting from the highest point – very high levels of education. Education eases women’s empowerment, and that is why in some lands women’s civil society groups organized, got people out, and denounced this as somehow code that “complementary” means not-equal, and really demanded language around equality, which they do have in the constitution.

Women rights are, then, a hot issue not only in Arab Countries but in the whole international community. To cite an example, UNESCO and the Government of Pakistan signed an agreement to support better access, improved quality and safe learning environments for girls in the hard-to-reach areas of Pakistan.


13 February

Ill-qualified teachers, poor access to schools at root of global education crisis – UN report

- Education Worldwide

Some 125 million school children around the world are unable to read a single sentence, even after four years of attendance – a waste of $129 billion a year – a United Nations report warns, calling on Governments to draft the best teachers to teach the most underprivileged if the goal of universal education is ever to be reached.

The report proposes four strategies to provide the best teachers to reach all children with a good quality education: selecting the right teachers to reflect the diversity of the children; training teachers to support the weakest learners from the earliest grades; overcoming inequalities by allocating the best teachers to the most challenging parts of a country; and providing teachers with the right mix of Government incentives to remain in the profession and ensure all children are learning, regardless of their circumstances.

The report notes that in 2011, around half of young children had access to pre-primary education, but in sub-Saharan Africa the share was only 18 per cent. The number of children out of school was 57 million, half of whom lived in conflict-affected countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, only 23 per cent of poor girls in rural areas were completing primary education by the end of the decade. “If recent trends in the region continue, the richest boys will achieve universal primary completion in 2021, but the poorest girls will not catch up until 2086,” it warns.

Read in full:

Teaching and learning: Achieving quality for all


10 February

Tim Berners-Lee: we need to re-decentralise the web

- Misc.

Twenty-five years on from the web’s inception, its creator has urged the public to re-engage with its original design: a decentralised internet that at its very core, remains open to all.

Speaking with Wired editor David Rowan at an event launching the magazine’s March issue, Tim Berners-Lee said that although part of this is about keeping an eye on for-profit internet monopolies such as search engines and social networks, the greatest danger is the emergence of a balkanised web.

“I want a web that’s open, works internationally, works as well as possible and is not nation-based,” Berners-Lee told the audience, which included  Martha Lane Fox,  Jake Davis (AKA Topiary) and Lily Cole. He suggested one example to the contrary: “What I don’t want is a web where the  Brazilian government has every social network’s data stored on servers on Brazilian soil. That would make it so difficult to set one up.”

It’s the role of governments, startups and journalists to keep that conversation at the fore, he added, because the pace of change is not slowing — it’s going faster than ever before. For his part Berners-Lee drives the issue through his work at the Open Data Institute, World Wide Web Consortium and World Wide Web Foundation, but also as an MIT professor whose students are “building new architectures for the web where it’s decentralised”. On the issue of monopolies, Berners-Lee did say it’s concerning to be “reliant on big companies, and one big server”, something that stalls innovation, but that competition has historically resolved these issues and will continue to do so.

When asked what he would have done differently, the answer was easy. “I would have got rid of the slash slash after the colon. You don’t really need it. It just seemed like a good idea at the time.”

Read in full:

Wired UK