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2019 Saw a Record Number of Women Win Elective Office in the US

Source: Data was sourced from the Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University

U.S. women are making slow but steady gains in elective office, holding more seats in 2019 than any year before, according to the Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University. Compared to 2018, percentages of women represented in U.S. Congress, state elective offices and state legislatures all increased in 2019 between 3 and 5.5%, with the greatest gains in state houses.

“The public sees benefits to female leadership,” according to a 2018 survey on women in leadership positions from the Pew Research Center: Survey respondents scored women higher or equal to men in seven of nine areas of political leadership, such as working well under pressure, standing up for what they believe in and being ethical.

The percentage of women in parliamentary positions beyond the U.S. is also increasing, with 42.5% of positions held by women in Nordic countries, 27.2% in Europe, 23.9% in sub-Saharan Africa, 19.8% in Asia, 19% in Arab states, and 16.3% in the Pacific.

Pandemic Policies Leave Societies Divided

Source: Pew Research Center

Over sixty percent of the publics surveyed feel their countries are more divided now than prior to the pandemic. Among 17 advanced economies, more people in the U.S. (88%) felt increased division compared to any other country, followed by the Netherlands, Germany and Spain. Only 34% of countries surveyed feel more united this year, according to Pew Research Center.

Those with negative views of the economy are more likely to report societal division. Attitudes about COVID-related restrictions also affect the public’s sense of division: Those who believe there should have been fewer restrictions are more likely to agree that society has grown more divided. 

As economies recover this summer and vaccine distributions continue, 75% of respondents have confidence that their health care system can handle future global health emergencies, but a median of 65% continue to feel the day-to-day impact of COVID-19 a great deal.

Which Countries Have Mandatory Childhood Vaccine Policies?

Source: Our World in Data

Various vaccinations for children are mandatory in 89 countries, recommended in 32 countries and required for school entry in 20 countries. Vaccines have helped reduce the likelihood of child mortality, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, hepatitis B and tuberculosis, to name a few. 

Our World in Data found that disease outbreaks are a major driver of enforcing mandatory vaccination, followed by a lack of other policy alternatives. About half of the countries in Europe do not have mandatory vaccinations, whereas 29 out of 35 in the Americas do. Many low- and lower-middle-income countries have mandatory policies but miss their target vaccination rates due to vaccine supply, delivery and access limitations — similar to what they are encountering with the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Although no country has made the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for its population, some are considering the idea. Many countries are also offering the vaccine for children aged 12 and above, with the U.S. vaccinating more than 600,000 children in less than a week.

Business Leaders Are Out of Touch With Burnt Out Workforce

Source: Microsoft Work Trends

Over 40% of the global workforce is considering quitting their jobs. More than half of 18- to 25-year-olds in the workforce are also considering submitting their notice, according to a report by Microsoft. A U.K. and Ireland survey found that 38% of employees intend to leave their jobs by the end of 2021.

Many employees felt burnout during the pandemic — those who just joined the workforce reported feeling this the most. To overcome employee exhaustion, the report says that employers need to embrace flexible hybrid options immediately. Forty-two percent of employees, for example, are planning to quit if there are no long-term remote working options offered. 

The report also found that many business leaders are out of touch with workplace burnout. Over 60% of leaders say that they were “thriving” last year — a 23 percentage point difference to those without decision-making authority. Microsoft states that business leaders need to be flexible when readjusting their operating model in order to retain their employees and succeed in a post-COVID workforce.

Declining Battery Prices Could Reduce Global Emissions

Source: Our World in Data

The price of lithium-ion battery cells fell by 97% over nearly three decades — since they were first commercially introduced in 1991. The cost halved in just four years, according to Our World in Data, and it’s still declining. Thirty years ago, a battery with a one kilowatt-hour capacity cost $7,500; that same battery cost $181 in 2018.

Improvements in production and technology — batteries are getting smaller and lighter — are contributing to the declining cost of lithium-ion batteries. Additionally, each time installed capacity doubles, prices fall 19% on average. 

Battery technology is becoming crucial in storing energy, accelerating the electrification of transportation and expanding the use of stationary batteries. The cost of renewables, previously a barrier in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, now matches the cost or is cheaper than new fossil fuels.

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