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Zainab Abiza
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I really enjoyed reading this article because I could relate many of the issues mentioned to what I have seen and experienced at home. Although Morocco has made a huge progress when it comes to women's rights over the past few years, the country still faces significant gender inequality problems. Most of the time, women are perceived as subordinate to men and are not given the same opportunities. The rural vs. urban divide further exacerbates these gender inequalities. In Morocco, about 50% of girls in urban areas complete schooling up to the age of 17. However, that figure drops to 18% for girls in rural areas of the country. Most of the time, girls in rural areas are expected to stay at home and help with household tasks or marry at an early age and move in with their husband's family. Many parents do not see the value or the long-term returns to educating their girls. Also, as mentioned in the article, many parents have lower aspirations for their daughters than for their sons. As a result, they are more likely to send their sons to school but not their daughters. Another factor that contributes to the gender gap in education, especially in rural areas, is the proximity of the school and cultural norms. Parents usually feel more comfortable if their son had to walk or bike to school for an hour than if their daughter did. This summer, I worked with girls from remote and rural areas of Morocco that live in a dormitory in the city throughout the school year. Many of them shared with me that if it wasn't for this dormitory, they would not have been able to go to high school . This article also made me think of what I have recently learned in my Culture and Development class about the bride price practice which still occurs today in a number of countries, including Indonesia. Bride price is a sum of money or good given to a bride's family by that of the groom. This practice often incentives parents to invest in educating their girls since it allows them to 'bargain' for a higher price. Ironically, this could also lead parents to NOT invest in their girl's education since more educated girls maybe be less 'marriageable'. Looking at the bigger picture, policymakers should adopt specific strategies targeted at improving the condition of women rather on waiting for poverty to decline first then expecting gender equality to improve. As Kofi Annan said, I strongly believe that achieving gender equality is a prerequisite to achieving economic development and eliminating poverty.
Toggle Commented Oct 18, 2018 on ECON 280 for Friday at Jolly Green General
When dealing with complex issues relating to development, there is always a number of moving pieces that contribute to the problem. Models are not perfect and don’t always fully capture the problem. Instead, they are based on a number of assumptions that should hold in order for the model to "work". We saw this in the Lewis Two-Sector model which is based on the two main assumptions that surplus labor exists in rural areas while there is full employment in urban areas and that the rate of labor transfer and employment creation in the modern sector is proportional to the rate of modern sector capital accumulation. Although these are both strong assumptions, it doesn't mean that we should discard the model as a whole. Most economic models, despite their flaws, do help us understand complex issues and do have an added value. Therefore, rejecting economic models because they are too simplistic is not the solution. Instead, one should be aware of the assumptions behind it and be able to address its limitations.
Toggle Commented Sep 27, 2018 on ECON 280 for Friday at Jolly Green General
Looking at Figure 1, I thought it was fascinating how both China and India started at a similar initial state and had a slow start but then China grew way faster than Indian after the 1980s. As Cordelia pointed out, India's slow/ stagnant growth was partially due to the government's implementation of restrictive trade, financial, and industrial policies. India's economic growth only kicks in the 1980s with the shift towards pro-business attitude on the part of the national government. On the other, China's economy grew at a very rapid rate since it began economic reform and opening its markets in the 1980s. What I found most intriguing is that, based on these narratives, we would expect China and India to have a relatively similar economic growth. However, this is not the case. This brings us back to what we discussed in class last time about these countries' 'social preparedness' and its role in driving economic growth. It makes sense that India's economy did not grow as rapidly as China's especially since half of its population was illiterate. This further demonstrates that human development (especially access to education and healthcare) goes hand in hand with development and economic growth. Wang, Wong and Yip also point out that China experienced a series of internal structural transformations including rural industrialization. I found this interesting because most the time governments tend to focus on the urban areas and dedicate less resources and attention to rural development and the agriculture sector in particular.
Toggle Commented Sep 20, 2018 on ECON 280 for Friday at Jolly Green General
Unlike the MDGs, the SDGs do no target only poor countries but rather encourage all countries to play a role in making this world a better place for everyone. I prefer this approach because it focuses more on countries working with each other rather than the wealthy countries 'saving' the poorer ones. Hence, it is more collaborative and puts more responsibility on the wealthy countries to take part of this process. On the third SDG, I think it is very important to focus on and dedicate the necessary resources to youth, especially girls since there remains a significant gender gap when it comes to educational attainment in different countries around the world. However, this should consist of not only educating the youth but also making sure that they are viable candidates once they enter the job market. One of the big issues in Morocco and across North Africa at the moment is youth unemployment that is mainly due to skills mismatch. On the fourth condition of sustainable development, I think that engaging the private sector and strengthening collaboration between the private and public sectors can really help advance the SDGs. However, I am a little skeptical about how feasible this is in countries where there is high levels of corruption.
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2018 on ECON 280 at Jolly Green General
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Sep 12, 2018