Rise of the female millionaire; US keeps adding 200,000-plus jobs monthly; Nalanda and the crisis in Indian academia

1 Rise of the female millionaire (Jane Gomez in The Guardian) Figures released by Radius Equity last month revealed that the number of UK women with an income of over £1m was up by almost a third year on year. What’s more, the number of female millionaires is increasing at a much faster rate than the number of male millionaires, which is up just 10% year on year.

There is still a long way to go (male millionaires still outnumber women by more than 10 to one) but this acceleration is welcome news and highlights two important things. Firstly, it is further evidence that the gender pay gap is getting narrower. But it also indicates that the number of women reaching senior roles and running successful businesses is also on the up.

According to the Office for National Statistics, between October and December 2014, 77,000 more women chose to become their own boss than during the same period in 2013: a rise of 5.6%. The number of male entrepreneurs rose just 0.1%.

It seems the entrepreneurial opportunity gap is narrowing. Only 18% of businesses in the UK are owned by women, so there is a huge amount of nascent talent and, importantly, untapped revenue in the potential of female entrepreneurs.


2 US economy keeps adding 200,000-plus jobs a month (BBC) The US economy added 295,000 jobs in February, while the unemployment rate fell to 5.5% from 5.7%, according to Labor Department figures. It was the 12th month running that the economy added more than 200,000 jobs, the longest such run since 1994.

Markets are now speculating that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates in June this year. The figure for the number of jobs created in January was revised down from 257,000 to 239,000. In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls rose by 3 cents to $24.78, with earnings up by 2% over the year.


3 Nalanda, and the crisis in academia (AG Noorani in Dawn) Professor Amartya Sen’s distinction and fame transcend those that normally belong to Nobel laureates. His Feb 19 resignation letter to the governing board of India’s Nalanda University raises vital issues concerning the independence and autonomy of universities.

Colleges possess no legal personality and are registered under the Societies Registration Act. That is where the problem arises. The acts make the head of state, president or governor, the chancellor of the university. The Nalanda University came into being in 2010. Prof Sen was appointed its first chancellor. The university has the Indian president, Pranab Mukherjee as visitor while the external affairs ministry coordinates with the visitor’s office.

Last month, the board decided, to ask Prof Sen to serve as chancellor for a second term when his present term expires. The board’s decision becomes operational only after the president of India gives his assent. More than a month passed without the visitor according the requisite assent. Prof Sen decided to resign. He made two points. One concerns the government’s functioning, the other the independence and autonomy of academia.

He pointed out: “Non-action is a time-wasting way of reserving a board decision, when the government has, in principle, the power to act or not act.” This is a shabby way for the government to deal with any citizen; more so with a university of international character.

The acts establishing universities in India are modelled on those enacted in the colonial era. Like much else, they were faithfully copied by the politicians who assumed power after India’s independence. They had no notion of the place of free institutions in a democracy nor of the role which universities play in moulding the outlook of citizens.

No one summed up these truths better than the sage Walter Lippmann. Democracy had worked in the US because, “outside the government and outside the party system there have existed independent institutions and independent men”. He named “free universities” among them besides the judiciary and press. In India the battle for the separation of learning from the state has yet to begin in earnest.



About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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