Most dangerous nations for women in 2018: US in top 10

A recent Reuters news article, Factbox: Which are the world’s 10 most dangerous countries for women? caught my attention. The results were the subject of a post at Feminist Philosophers blog, where I occasionally visit and even understand a bit, without being a philosopher nor much of a feminist.  I reacted with incredulity to the results.

United States is the 3rd most dangerous country for sexual violence

Sexual violence is defined by the survey:

“This includes rape as a weapon of war; domestic rape; rape by a stranger; the lack of access to justice in rape cases; sexual harassment and coercion into sex as a form of corruption.”

How often was rape used as a weapon of war in the United States in 2018?!

Yes, this Factbox article—based on investigative journalism funded, produced and published by the Thomson Reuters Foundation— reports that women in the US are more at risk of sexual violence than in Syria! The US is considered more dangerous for women than nations where female genital mutilation is common, and untreated obstetrical fistulas ruin lives.

Top 10
01 India
02 Democratic Republic of the Congo
03 USA
03 Syria
05 Congo
06 South Africa
07 Afghanistan
07 Pakistan
09 Mexico
10 Nigeria
10 Egypt
10 Somalia

India versus #MeToo

On the Foundation’s website, I did find a point of light, but bracketed by tragedy.  Near Mumbai, two adult men raped a 7 year-old girl as she waited for her parents to pick her up from school. The attack was so brutal that she required hospitalization, but will survive. The rapists were apprehended and are in custody.

The point of light is India’s Prime Minister Modi. He recently introduced the death penalty for acts of rape of girls under 12 years of age, in response to widespread public demand for such measures. Female children are 40% of the victims of all 40,000 rapes reported in India annually.

In contrast, #MeToo mostly involved women in America’s highest echelons of status and privilege.

two women and man laughing

Gwyneth Paltrow and Harvey Weinstein: Hillary Clinton political supporters

woman hugs smiling man

Gwyneth wins Academy Award (1999)

To suggest that #MeToo revealed conditions in the US that are comparable to the sexual violence of 16,000 child rapes in India is a harmful misrepresentation. Even comparison to the genuinely egregious #MeToo disclosures, e.g. of Congressmen who coerced sexual favors from their fully adult female staff members, is highly inappropriate. Yet the Thomson Reuters survey did not hesitate to do so:

“The survey came after the #MeToo campaign went viral last year, with thousands of women using the social media movement to share stories of sexual harassment or abuse.”

Non-sexual violence worse in US than Somalia

The survey defined non-sexual violence as “conflict-related violence; domestic, physical and mental abuse”.  These are the results.

Top 10
01 Afghanistan
02 Syria
03 India
04 Yemen
05 Pakistan
06 USA
07 Saudi Arabia
08 Democratic Republic of the Congo
09 Mexico
09 Somalia

The United States is deemed more dangerous for women than Somalia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia.

I am surprised to see Mexico mentioned. Maybe that is due to Mexico’s porous northern border, as violence against women flows southward from the United States?

Immigration sanity check

According to the poll, Guatemala and Honduras are safer, less physically dangerous places for women than the United States. If that is true, then most of the requests for asylum in the US made by women and children fleeing these two countries have no justifiable basis!

If levels of domestic abuse, gang violence, and sexual victimization of women and children in the United States is greater than in El Salvador, then likelihood of harm would be increased—rather than alleviated— by seeking asylum in the US.

The source of these findings about comparative geographic danger to women is a highly respected news organization. Regardless, the results are flawed. Faulty polling methods and shoddy statistical analysis of responses are implausible culprits: A subject matter panel of over 500 experts in women’s rights provided the data from which the final results were derived. Although I wonder… who are these experts?

Blame falls on Reuters. Editorial oversight would have been in place throughout the project. The featured results would not have been released prior to vetting and final approval. This was not a minor mistake, but rather, a breach of Reuters published standards of accuracy and freedom from bias in journalism.

Why politically motivated surveys are bad

An unrelenting narrative that the United States is SO terrible has been running in the background for years. I have heard it since we invaded Iraq. During the Obama years, I think it was broadly referred to as the end of, or perhaps myth of American exceptionalism. Stridency and outrage is particularly acute now, under the Trump administration. I believe that warped perceptions, combined with agenda-driven media can result in grossly inaccurate investigative reports such as this.

Protecting women’s rights is important! Appeal to emotion (e.g. Trump Derangement Syndrome) should be resisted. Failure to recognize situational bias hurts the effectiveness of advocacy efforts. Regaining credibility is often elusive.

Methodology

I was disappointed at the lack of methodological detail provided, e.g. criteria to normalize results across disparate country populations and rates of violence. Who were the 548 experts? I will check for further details. Perhaps I will follow-up with a statistical survey design post if I can find more information.

Feminist Philosophers

A Thomson Reuters Foundation poll ranked the 10 most dangerous countries for women, based on the responses of experts. They considered gendered issues such as violence, healthcare, and economic access.

Here is a link to the reporting: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-women-dangerous-poll-factbox/factbox-which-are-the-worlds-10-most-dangerous-countries-for-women-idUSKBN1JM01Z

And here is a ranked list of the countries:

  1. India
  2. Afghanistan
  3. Syria
  4. Somalia
  5. Saudi Arabia
  6. Pakistan
  7. Democratic Republic of Congo
  8. Yemen
  9. Nigeria
  10. United States

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Published in: on July 2, 2018 at 7:40 am  Comments (4)  
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Cornucopia of mathematics

This image was originally developed as the focal point of the Math Awareness Month poster of April 2000. The theme was “Math Spans All Dimensions”. It was too lovely to be retired, and appeared again at TFBCON2003.

Dimension Cornucopia via TFBCON2003

According to the artist, Brown University professor Thomas Banchoff, it is suffused with joy, just as I had hoped!

It begins with mere points, then a curve that flares into a spiral and eventually a colorful 3-d cornucopia of mathematical plenty:

…suggesting the possibility of further dimensions yet to come.

Professor Banchoff’s art work has even graced some book covers, including this one, written by my favorite statistician.

Published in: on February 27, 2015 at 12:33 am  Comments (2)  
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Statistics comes to Swarthmore College

Some years ago, I studied mathematics and statistics. At that time, there was only one statistician among the mathematics department members, maybe the entire Swarthmore College faculty, Gudmund R. Iversen. He was my academic adviser. Professor Iversen was grey, tweedy and Norwegian. He always addressed me as Miss Kesselman, which helped alleviate my shyness at the time.

Professor Iversen got his PhD in statistics from Harvard University in 1969. I noticed only one other familiar name on that very short list of all Harvard Statistics PhD alumni: Columbia University political science and statistics professor Andrew Gelman PhD in 1990.

Lunch with Tufte

Professor Iversen had a group of colleagues, all statisticians from other academic institutions. They would visit Swarthmore to give lunchtime talks, or more typically, late Friday afternoon presentations to mathematical statistics students.

Diagram of Napoleon's Russian campaign by Minard

Napoleon’s March to Moscow. Charles J. Minard, 1869

I recall one particular guest statistician. Edward Tufte was on the faculty of Princeton University, and had recently written his first book, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. The venue was a small private room in Sharples dining hall. I was one of maybe 20 attending. (more…)

Power law relationship in modern demographics

Cognition seems to be the driver behind a power law relationship, which would be odd indeed. It implies a fixed way of thinking about geography and places that can be modeled statistically. Human thought processes aren’t generally amenable to quantitative models.

Is this something new?

curious relationship

Toponyms

Giving a name to a place is an important act. It says a place has meaning, that it should be remembered. For thousands of years, the way we kept track of place names—or toponyms—was by using our memory. Today, we’re not nearly so limited, and the number of toponyms seems to have exploded. Yet oddly enough, the number of places we name in a given area follows a trend uncannily similar to one seen in hunter-gatherer societies.…

via Per Square Mile
Next steps?

  1. Confirm if Eugene Hunn’s 1994 findings were reproduced with current data
  2. Check whether the USPS zip code information used was correct

Porcine Joy

Spring showers bring pig flowers

Well, maybe not, but I haven’t featured any pigs recently. That could be in violation of the administrivial oink’s website charter.

The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky

Opening measures from the Rite of Spring

The Ides of March are past, and we head into spring. We also approach the one-year anniversary of this blog on March 21 or thereabouts, right in time for the vernal equinox. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my loyal subscribers, all three of you, and my other readers, whether frequent or occasional. Never hesitate to leave comments, especially if it isn’t spam!

Statistics, probability and applied quantitative methods reading recommendations

Finally, I wish acknowledge subject matter experts with nice blogs in my fields of professional interest, including applied probability, (mostly) frequentist methods, and due diligence for purposes of financial and security-focused anomaly detection.

Stats with Cats I don’t like cats, but you can just ignore the photos. This is an accessible, frequently updated blog covering descriptive and inferential statistical methods, mostly explained through charming examples

Data Genetics This blog has excellent graphics (without gratuitous interactive data visualization!) accompanying posts demonstrating statistical, probability and mathematical methods for engineering as applied to a wide range of real world concerns e.g. using Benford’s Law to detect accounting fraud, Hamming Codes for error correction and solving combinatorics problems to demonstrate the poor odds for winning dice and card games.

Error Statistics Philosophy Error statistics quantifies how frequently and reliably different statistical models can be used to detect errors.Error probability statistics uses frequentist error probabilities, not frequentist probability. Frequentist error probability is the relative frequency of errors within a statistical model. Frequentist probability is merely the use of relative frequency of occurrence to infer probability of events. The introductory post, Frequentists in exile acknowledges the long-held perception that only Bayesian methods have respectable statistical foundations. Error Statistics Philosophy focuses on the defensible use of frequentist methods for probability and statistical models, especially in circumstances of limited information and high error avoidance requirements.

Now for a bit of self-promotion…

My Google hobby blog,  In the GooglePlex, is ready to be included on the blogroll here. I was very careful about URL choice. SEO was NOT a consideration! Potential trademark infringement was my concern.

In the GooglePlex is a themed site, unlike this one! Topics are Google-related: product news (both good and bad), trivia, corporate history and humor, whenever there is any to be found. Please feel free to drop by to say hello or ask questions.

Oink of Joy

Any rite of Spring should include an oinker of joy

Published in: on March 20, 2011 at 5:45 am  Comments (1)  
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What’s in a Blog Post Title? via Liliendahl on Data Quality

This is reblogged from my very favorite site about Data Quality.

What’s in a Blog Post Title? I don’t know about you. But I am a slave to numbers and statistics and can’t help following my WordPress statistics telling me about pageviews – not at least pageviews per post. There are huge differences in the number of visitors who views the different posts. The post with highest number of views on my blog has +2.500 views and the post with the lowest number has only 15 views. To be honest, the ones with over 500 views are mainly visited due to … Read More

via Liliendahl on Data Quality

Published in: on August 16, 2010 at 5:58 am  Comments (3)  
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