from the world's big
U.S. in top 10 most dangerous countries for women
#MeToo and #TimesUp catapult America into the club of world's most anti-women countries.
- India tops a global ranking of most dangerous countries for women.
- Most other countries in the Top 10 cluster together in an Indo-Arab-African window of 'female-unfriendliness'.
- One outlier: the United States – 10th most dangerous country for women.
Worst for women
Philadelphia Women's March, January 2018.
Image: Rob Kall / CC BY-SA 2.0
The worst countries in the world to be a woman? Places torn apart by war, or societies stifled by centuries of male patriarchy, a recent survey by the Thomson Reuters Foundation shows. So which category does the United States fall into? Because the US made 10th place – the only western country on the list.Conducted online, by phone and in person between March 26th and May 4th, the survey polled 548 experts on women's issues spread evenly across Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. Those surveyed included academics and policymakers, healthcare staff and ngo workers, aid and development professionals and social commentators.
They were asked which five of the UN's 193 member states they thought were the most dangerous for women in six areas:
- economic resources,
- cultural or traditional practices,
- sexual violence and harassment,
- non-sexual violence, and
- human trafficking.
"India is raped"
Protests in Delhi in December 2012.
Image: Nilroy (Nilanjana Roy) / CC BY-SA 3.0
India's rise to the top of shame may be the result of increased awareness around women's safety, following a highly publicised rape case in 2012. A 23-year-old woman travelling in a private bus in Delhi was raped by all other male passengers (and the driver), tortured and eventually died from her injuries.
That could explain why Indian government data shows reported cases of crimes against women rose by 83% between 2007 and 2016. An average of one rape every fifteen minutes was reported in India in that year.
But greater awareness has not yet been very effective in reversing deeply-ingrained traditions, attitudes and practices – including female infanticide, forced marriages, sex slavery, domestic servitude, human trafficking and death by stoning.
Good news in the smallest of doses
Mother and child in Parwan province, Afghanistan.
Image: Sgt. Sean A. Terry / public domain
Numbers two and three on the list are Afghanistan and Syria, countries where the social fabric has been well and truly torn by seemingly interminable civil wars.
Good news for Afghanistan, albeit in a homeopathically small dose: it dropped to second place from first, which it occupied in a similar survey conducted in 2011. But the country still fared worst in four of the questions asked, especially regarding healthcare and conflict-related violence.
Almost two decades after America's intervention in Afghanistan, the Taliban continues to gain ground and the situation for women and girls is worsening – especially when it comes to literacy (i.e. education), poverty and gender-based violence.
Syria's seven-year civil war is restricting access to healthcare (resulting in higher deaths during childbirth), fanning violence (both sexual and non-sexual) and increasing the incidence of child marriages. As a result, the country finds itself in third place on the list.
Culture of violence
Street scene in Mogadishu, capital of Somalia.
Image: AMISOM Public Information / public domain
Numbers four and five are Somalia and Saudi Arabia, two countries in the grip of fundamentalist interpretations of Islam.
Somalia's decades of civil war have produced a culture of violence and weakened laws and institutions that could have protected women against its worst excesses.
Slight progress in Saudi Arabia – women are now allowed to drive – was nullified by the arbitrary nature of its male-chauvinism-powered regime – women campaigning against the ban on female drivers were arrested even as that ban was being lifted. Meanwhile, every Saudi woman is still subject to male guardianship: if not her father or her husband, then her brother or even her son.
The club of shame.
Image: Statista / Thomson Reuters Foundation (CC)
Numbers six to nine on the list are Pakistan, DR Congo, Yemen, Nigeria – countries afflicted in various degrees by conflict, poverty and patriarchy. Singling out human trafficking – a criminal practice turning over $150 billion a year globally – the top three would be India, Libya and Myanmar.
These nine countries are clustered in three zones: centered on the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Afghanistan), the Arabian peninsula (Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Somalia) and the African continent (Nigeria, DR Congo).
The only geographic outlier, and the only western/developed country on the list, is the United States of America. It 'earned' its 10th place due to its ranking in third place when the respondents were asked where women were most at risk of sexual violence, harassment and being coerced into sex.
The U.S. did not figure in the Top 10 for the previous survey in 2011. Its 'surprise' addition this time, experts say, is because of the #MeToo movement and #TimesUp campaign, highlighting issues of sexual violence and harassment – both in the high-profile cases that started the ball rolling, and the many others that came to light since.
Strange Maps #979
Got a strange map? Let me know at email@example.com.
Join Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and best-selling author Charles Duhigg as he interviews Victoria Montgomery Brown, co-founder and CEO of Big Think, live at 1pm EDT tomorrow.
A physics paper proposes neither you nor the world around you are real.
- A new hypothesis says the universe self-simulates itself in a "strange loop".
- A paper from the Quantum Gravity Research institute proposes there is an underlying panconsciousness.
- The work looks to unify insight from quantum mechanics with a non-materialistic perspective.
More on the hypothesis and the backstory of the Quantum Gravity Research institute —<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3d6209cb3564afd37b078404e383a2a2"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xWEErQ_LNXY?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Reaching beyond the stereotypes of meditation and embracing the science of mindfulness.
- There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to what mindfulness is and what meditation can do for those who practice it. In this video, professors, neuroscientists, psychologists, composers, authors, and a former Buddhist monk share their experiences, explain the science behind meditation, and discuss the benefits of learning to be in the moment.
- "Mindfulness allows us to shift our relationship to our experience," explains psychologist Daniel Goleman. The science shows that long-term meditators have higher levels of gamma waves in their brains even when they are not meditating. The effect of this altered response is yet unknown, though it shows that there are lasting cognitive effects.
- "I think we're looking at meditation as the next big public health revolution," says ABC News anchor Dan Harris. "Meditation is going to join the pantheon of no-brainers like exercise, brushing your teeth and taking the meds that your doctor prescribes to you." Closing out the video is a guided meditation experience led by author Damien Echols that can be practiced anywhere and repeated as many times as you'd like.
A study looks at the performance benefits delivered by asthma drugs when they're taken by athletes who don't have asthma.
- One on hand, the most common health condition among Olympic athletes is asthma. On the other, asthmatic athletes regularly outperform their non-asthmatic counterparts.
- A new study assesses the performance-enhancement effects of asthma medication for non-asthmatics.
- The analysis looks at the effects of both allowed and banned asthma medications.
WADA uncertainty<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUzNzU0OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMDc4NjUwN30.fFTvRR0yJDLtFhaYiixh5Fa7NK1t1T4CzUM0Yh6KYiA/img.jpg?width=980" id="01b1b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2fd91a47d91e4d5083449b258a2fd63f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="urine sample for drug test" />
Image source: joel bubble ben/Shutterstock<p>When inhaled β-agonists first came out just before the 1972 Olympics, they were immediately banned altogether by the WADA as possible doping substances. Over the years, the WADA has reexamined their use and refined the organization's stance, evidence of the thorniness of finding an equitable position regarding their use. As of January 2020, only three β-agonists are allowed — salbutamol, formoterol, and salmeterol —and only in inhaled form. Oral consumption appears to have a greater effect on performance.</p>
The study<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUzNzU0Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTIzMDQyMX0.Gk4v-7PCA7NohvJjw12L15p7SumPCY0tLdsSlMrLlGs/img.jpg?width=980" id="d3141" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ebe7b30a315aeffcb4fe739095cf0767" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="runner at starting position on track" />
Image source: MinDof/Shutterstock<p>Of primary interest to the authors of the study is confirming and measuring the performance improvement to be gained from β-agonists when they're ingested by athletes who don't have asthma.</p><p>The researchers performed a meta-analysis of 34 existing studies documenting 44 randomized trials reporting on 472 participants. The pool of individuals included was broad, encompassing both untrained and elite athletes. In addition, lab tests, as opposed to actual competitions, tracked performance. The authors of the study therefore recommend taking its conclusions with just a grain of salt.</p><p>The effects of both WADA-banned and approved β-agonists were assessed.</p>
Approved β-agonists and non-asthmatic athletes<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUzNzU1MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMzkxODk0M30.3RssFwk_tWkHRkEl_tIee02rdq2tLuAePifnngqcIr8/img.jpg?width=980" id="39a99" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b1fe4a580c6d4f8a0fd021d7d6570e2a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="vaulter clearing pole" />
Image source: Andrey Yurlov/Shutterstock<p>What the meta-analysis showed is that the currently approved β-agonists didn't significantly improve athletic performance among those without asthma — what very slight benefit they <em>may</em> produce is just enough to prompt the study's authors to write that "it is still uncertain whether approved doses improve anaerobic performance." They note that the tiny effect did increase slightly over multiple weeks of β-agonist intake.</p>
Banned β-agonist and non-asthmatic athletes<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUzNzU1Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNjI3ODU5Mn0.vyoxSE5EYjPGc2ZEbBN8d5F79nSEIiC6TUzTt0ycVqc/img.jpg?width=980" id="de095" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="02fdd42dfda8e3665a7b547bb88007ef" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="swimmer mid stroke" />
Image source: Nejron Photo/Shutterstock<p>The study found that for athletes without asthma, however, the use of currently banned β-agonists did indeed result in enhanced performance. The authors write, "Our meta-analysis shows that β2-agonists improve anaerobic performance by 5%, an improvement that would change the outcome of most athletic competitions."</p><p>That 5 percent is an average: 70-meter sprint performance was improved by 3 percent, while strength performance, MVC (maximal voluntary contraction), was improved by 6 percent.</p><p>The analysis also revealed that different results were produced by different methods of ingestion. The percentages cited above were seen when a β-agonist was ingested orally. The effect was less pronounced when the banned substances were inhaled.</p><p>Given the difference between the results for allowed and banned β-agonists, the study's conclusions suggest that the WADA has it about right, at least in terms of selection of allowable β-agonists, as well as the allowable dosage method.</p>