The richest man in the world isn’t worth as much as he was last year, but with $US 69 billion to your name that must hardly matter. That fortune belongs to Mexican telecommunications head honcho Carlos Slim. Microsoft founder Bill Gates is second with $US62 billion, down due to commitments to eventually give away 95 per cent of his fortune to the philanthropic Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. US investment genius Warren Buffet is in third spot with $US44 billion and, encouragingly, is also a supporter of the Gates’ foundation. French luxury businessman Bernard Arnault has $US41 billion and rounding out the top five is Spain’s Amancio Ortega (behind fashion chain Zara) with $US37.5 billion. Australia’s richest person, miner Gina Rinehart, was the only Aussie to make the list at number 29 with an estimated wealth of $US 18 billion. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire with $17.5 billion in spot 35.
In news from the world of the obvious, a study has found most parents don’t care about social conventions or norms when naming their children choosing only something that sounds good, instead. Survey results show about 20 per cent choose a name that suits the family culturally, 15 per cent choose something that matches their own surname and 11 per cent draw inspiration from celebrities or book characters.
The initial results are from a survey by Dr Deb Dempsey, from Swinburne University of Technology, and Assoc Prof Jo Lindsay, from Monash University. “Naming decisions may be guided by culture and tradition. They may also be shaped by our sense of connection or belonging to family history, other identity issues, personal taste and fashion,” Dr Dempsey said.
Research from the London School of Economics has revealed what many have long suspected: eating disorders can be prompted and transmitted by the images women and men are bombarded with in the media. Specifically, the survey found that using the law to prevent extremely thin models from appearing in catwalk shows or in magazines could have positive health – and economic – effects. The Guardian reported:
“The first-ever economic analysis of anorexia, studying nearly 3,000 young women in the UK and the rest of Europe, found that the social and cultural environment influences decisions by young women to starve themselves in search of what they perceive to be an ideal body shape.
Young women, who make up 90% of anorexia nervosa cases, are influenced by the size and weight of their peer group.
Anorexia, say the researchers, is a socially transmitted disease and appears to be more common in countries such as France, where women are thinner than the European average. It mostly affects girls and women between the ages of 15 and 34, they found, who were willing to trade off their health against self-image.”
The researchers said in their paper, to be published in the academic journal Economica later this year:
“Government intervention to adjust individual biases in self-image would be justified to curb the spread of a potential epidemic of food disorders.
“The distorted self-perception of women with food disorders and the importance of the peer effects may prompt governments to take action to influence role models and compensate for social pressure on women driving the trade-off between ideal weight and health.”
The fallout from the Defence Force so-called ‘Skype sex scandal’ continues as 775 unearthed claims of abuse still need to be dealt with. The claims range from minor behaviour concerns to criminal offences and the Australian Government could be forced to pay, or at the very least apologise. Yesterday the report from the independent inquiry into the Skype saga – where an 18yo female cadet was filmed without her knowledge having consensual sex with a male a cadet and the footage broadcast to four others in another room – cleared Commodore Bruce Kafer in his handling of the matter, even though it found he had made a mistake in disciplining the woman who raised the complaint.
THE VIEW FROM CANBERRA
“Who run the world? Girls Girls!”
Well Beyonce, I think you’ll find we don’t. Or at least we don’t run Australia.
On this International Women’s Day, less than a third of Australian politicians are women. Our ranking on the world stage has slipped from 21st (in 2001) to 38th place.
Women represent 24.7% of Australian MPs and 38.2% of our Senators.
We aren’t terrible. Yemen has a parliament of 301 people. That ‘1’ is a woman. All on her lonesome.
But Australia is still sitting behind some developing countries that aren’t exactly known for women’s rights.
Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, Uganda, East Timor…. They all have more women in parliament than Australia.
Rwanda is at the top of the table – 56.3% of its lower house is women.
So what’s happening in Australia? We are smart, empowered, community minded…. Why do we have less women in Parliament than we did a decade ago?
I tweeted some of these stats and a bloke named “Bob” replied, “Obviously then Aus does not have sufficient competent women to enter Parly.”
I refuse to reply.
More on that Skype sex scandal
Last week, Defence Minister Stephen Smith thought, just for a minute, that he might take back the Foreign Affairs portfolio, but then … well … Bob Carr.
This week, he’s wishing he was hobnobbing with foreign diplomats in Latvia or Mongolia, or somewhere distinctly not Australia.
Because then he wouldn’t need to be justifying his decision to call the head of ADFA, stupid.
Last year, a group of defence force cadets thought it would be great fun to set up a camera and film their mate having sex with a girl, so they could watch it via Skype in the next room. (I will never ever understand why a bloke would want to watch his friend having sex).
A few days after ‘Kate’ went public with her story, Defence Force Commodore Bruce Kafer chose to bring her in for a disciplinary hearing. She was punished for ditching class and drinking alcohol.
At the time, Stephen Smith called Commodore Kafer’s actions, “anywhere from complete insensitivity to complete stupidity.”
Smith was the hero of the scandal. He came down hard on the sexist culture in Defence and advocated the rights of sexual assault victims.
Commodore Kafer was forced to take leave, while a number of inquiries into Defence were launched.
Part of the ‘Kirkham Inquiry’ was released yesterday. It says that Commodore Kafer’s decision to go ahead with the hearing was “appropriate” and that he should be allowed to get back to work.
Stephen Smith has suggested that Commodore Kafer tried to make “Kate” look like someone who deserved what she got. The inquiry clearly says that wasn’t what happened. But Smith is refusing to apologise.
Now Stephen Smith’s being accused of exploiting the sexual assault for his own political ambitions.
Military experts are calling for his resignation because he‘s so badly damaged the relationship between the government and Defence.
“I’ve never struck a minister who was held in such low respect,” Retired Major General Jim Molan said.
Stephen Smith says he accepts the reports findings. He says that sending Commander Kafer back to AFDA is a decision for the Chief of the Defence Force.
But he’s standing by his word.
“I might be old-fashioned, but I simply don’t believe it’s appropriate to bring the character of an innocent victim of an alleged sexual abuse into play.” He told the ABC.
“When I grew up and trained as a lawyer it was still some common practice in Australia, when we found the victim of an alleged sexual abuse to somehow try and blame the victim. I’ve a very strong view on that and I won’t resile from it.”
So Defence doesn’t really love Stephen Smith. He’s not too enamoured with Defence either. But they’re stuck with each other.
This could be awkward.
It’s the day many have been waiting for when Apple makes another one of its rockstar-like announcements, this time without co-founder Steve Jobs. But what’s the big deal anyway? The iPad 3 will arrive in Australia on March 16 and sell from $539 with a 9.7 inch screen, quadcore processor for graphics and dual core processor for computing and 4G connectivity. The Apple TV isn’t a new television, but an update to the streaming service run by the company which sells for $99.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott has pledged to provide 1000 Visas to the most at risk women and children proved to be genuine refugees each year, should he become Prime Minister. “Women at risk and their dependents waiting in camps and other desperate places offshore are among the most vulnerable of all who seek a better life in Australia,” Mr Abbott said. “They have neither the means nor the opportunity to escape their circumstances.”
Mr Abbott said 995 Women at Risk visas were issued in 2005-06, but that fell to 759 in 2010-11. “This reflects the downward trend that has seen less places made available to poorer and more vulnerable offshore refugees, including those in the women at risk category,” he said.
We have lots in store for today so make sure you check back during the day. You won’t want to miss the video interview Mia Freedman conducts with her mother Kathy about feminism, life and hairy armpits.
And while you’re waiting for that, check out the gallery of the 50 women that we believe have most influenced our lives in a supersized gallery and let us know who you think we’ve missed.
Mother Teresa - Founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta and helped the poor and sick for 45 years.