Reuters blog archive
By Katrina Hamlin
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.
Women’s rights have taken a step backwards in China. A new book by Leta Hong Fincher blames that on the ruling Communist Party’s desire for social stability. But China may be depriving itself of an economic opportunity.
The title ‘Leftover Women’ borrows a distasteful contemporary term coined by a state campaign to stigmatize unmarried women. The government considers social stability the foundation for its authority: bullying young women into traditional roles supposedly fosters a harmonious society by mopping up surplus young men – a troublesome legacy of the One Child Policy. The idea caught on, and the stigma has the desired effect. Women as young as 25 rush into marriage to escape dreaded spinsterhood.
That has contributed to a broader resurgence in gender inequality, says Hong Fincher, which makes women financially vulnerable. What’s important about the book is that it looks beyond shallow analysis of spending habits to see who owns assets. Women’s property rights are particularly vulnerable. The author reports families will often allow a husband to be sole homeowner even if his wife contributes her savings to the purchase. As the author notes, China’s middle class doesn’t have many other ways to park spare cash, so this excludes many adult women from “what is arguably the biggest accumulation of residential real-estate wealth in history, valued at around 3.3 times China’s GDP”. Should a couple divorce, a new law dictates that the family’s property goes to whoever’s name is on the deeds. This represents a very real risk; the number of divorces in China rose by 12.8 percent in 2013 from a year earlier.
By Andy Mukherjee
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
Everything except the title of Sanjaya Baru’s “The Accidental Prime Minister” has invited controversy. And the title escaped opprobrium only because Manmohan Singh, who has never won an election, was the first to acknowledge that his elevation to India’s top political job was an accident of history.
from India Insight:
Raza Rumi is based in Lahore, but the public policy specialist and Friday Times editor's new book is based in another milieu entirely. "Delhi by heart" is a kind of travelogue about a city that is the source of a shared heritage that spans hundreds of years.
from India Insight:
It's hard to believe Amish Tripathi when he says he never set out to be a writer. The banker-turned-author of the popular Shiva trilogy recently won a million-dollar advance for a new series - and he hasn't even finalized the topic yet.
Before his books took pride of place in shop windows, Tripathi was already living what some would call a charmed life. A management degree at one of India’s top business schools had led to a successful career in private and retail banking. But it was his admiration for Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, that catapulted him to literary stardom in India.
from The Human Impact:
Global food security can be achieved for almost 1 billion chronically undernourished people by promoting strong political leadership, technological innovation, investment in smallholder farmers and efficient markets, according to a new book.
In “One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?”, author Gordon Conway, a professor of international development and director of advocacy group Agriculture for Impact at Imperial College London, emphasises the importance of reducing hunger and poverty by increasing food production within an environmentally sustainable framework, which recognises climate change as a serious hindrance to future food security.
Radio journalist Nancy Mullane has gone behind the walls of California’s infamous San Quentin state prison to chronicle how life unfolds for five inmates convicted of murder.
Controlling bosses can make the workplace a living hell, but winning their trust is essential to improving office relations.
So says Kaley Klemp, an executive coach and co-author of “The Drama-Free Office: A Guide to Healthy Collaboration with Your Team, Coworkers, and Boss”.
Religious publishers in the United States are busy these days, releasing such new books as a biography of pop music phenom and devout Christian Justin Bieber -- entitled “Belieber!: Fame, Faith and The Heart of Justin Bieber.” Other tomes mix spirituality with memoir and self-help topics. New editions of the Bible have also been released recently, as well as e-books and audio book downloads by popular religious authors.
Eight year-old Mustafa Akyol was looking at a book in his grandfather's library when he saw something that shocked him: a passage advising parents to beat impious children. Now, Akyol is a journalist in Turkey, and he hopes the Arab Spring shows a different side of Islam: one where there is no conflict between Islam and political freedom.
Pope Benedict has condemned violence committed in God's name and personally exonerated Jews of responsibility for Jesus' death in his latest book, released on Thursday. The book, the second in a planned three-part series on the life of Jesus, is a detailed, highly theological and academic recounting of the last week in Jesus' life.