‘Gender Equality’ is a concept that's finally entering the mainstream. It connotes equal rights to education, to vote, to work, to have access to finance, and other basic entitlements for both men and women. Unfortunately, while some equality milestones have been reached, in many cases attainment is a distant goal. Take the case of ‘Justice’. “In many countries of the world the rule of law still rules women out,” says the latest UN Report ‘Progress of the Worlds Women – In Pursuit of Justice’ . The report, released today, highlights women’s access to justice systems in almost every country in the world. It focuses on issues such as number of seats held by women in their country’s parliament, laws against domestic violence, and so on. “The Paradox confronted by the report is that despite the recent and rapid expansion of women’s legal entitlements, what is written in the statute books does not always translate into real progress on equality and justice on the ground,” says Claire Provost in a post  on the Guardian’s Poverty Matters blog. The report also has a wealth of data; see the interactive map here .
Switching gears, is anyone following the debates on manufacturing? A key assertion is that an economy cannot succeed without a big manufacturing base. Defending the claim, Ha-Joon Chang from the University of Cambridge says higher income comes from productivity growth, which is faster in manufacturing, and thus a weaker manufacturing base will result in slower growth. Countering this, Jagdish Bhagwati from Columbia University points out the conceptual problems that make comparisons (across countries and indeed over time) of manufacturing and services difficult. The nine day long debate concludes today. Follow this link  to know the winner (to be announced soon).
Irrespective of who wins, manufacturing (mainly in low-skilled sectors) has brought immense economic opportunities for China and other emerging economies. However, are the emerging economies invincible? Apparently not says Andy Sumner in a post on Global Dashboard. These economies did manage to largely avoid the shocks of the financial crisis, but according to a piece in The Economist, seven emerging economies rank high in the magazine's new ‘overheating index’ (based on GDP growth, inflation, unemployment, credit growth, etc).
And finally, check out the Wolrd Bank's updated 2011 income classifications .