JobSeeker needs to be permanently raised. We need to build 500,000 affordable homes.

IMG_E9570

Follow me on Instagram: economicswithcoffee

What Australia needs going forward is a decent and fair welfare safety net. Not a punitive one.  We need to take care of each other and not allow people to live in relative poverty in Australia.  The JobSeeker rate should be permanently raised to its current coronavirus #covid19 level.  We don’t know that all those jobs that were lost will be recreated.  We don’t know the economy will reset.  What I do know is that people cannot live above the poverty line in Australia on ~$300 a week if they have to pay rent. That is just a reality.  If we return JobSeeker to the previous Newstart rate, we will I think, risk much higher homelessness, inequality, and relative poverty of young people, and increasingly families and children in Australia.

If you are living in poverty — how are you to find your way out of it without a helping hand?  I hope that if coronavirus has taught us anything is that these social safety nets were created after the war for a reason.  We should work as a society and care about each others welfare.  Every person is important.  Every job is critical. Government and super funds should be investing now in the 350,000 to 500,000 affordable housing needed in cities across Australia.  People need a safe place to live and they need work.

We are currently building only 3000 affordable dwellings a year (1).  A flaccid and weak attempt to deliver what the nation and it’s people need.  A failing on our people. Impotence in the investment into affordable housing over the last 25 years across the the nation has a created a shortfall of 433,000 homes (1).  Just mull on the number for a while, 433,000. That is almost half a million homes that should have been built already.  Homes we needed yesterday.  Homes that would help millions from falling into poverty.  Homes that would raise hundreds of thousands, maybe over a million, in this country out of poverty (2).  Just before the pandemic hit, there were 3, 000, 000 — that’s 3 million people — in Australia living in poverty, that is  1 in 8 adults and 1 in 6 children.  Living.  In.  Poverty (2). With another 1 million unemployed now, that number could rise substantially, maybe by a quarter or even double if something isn’t done soon.

The nation needs stimulus — right now — at this moment. What better thing could we as a nation do than secure the future safety of shelter to our young and at risk populations?  I can’t think of a better way to stimulate the economy.  Much better return in the long run than tax cuts to big companies that we, at this time, can’t afford.

The picture I chose for this article is a wonderfully beautiful Art Deco — Depression era building in Sydney. An example of one of the many fine structures built back then.  We can build to stimulate our economy.  We have done it before.  We just need to prioritise what we need.

(1) Julie Lawson, Hal Pawson, Laurence Troy and Ryan van den Nouwelant https://theconversation.com/australia-needs-to-triple-its-social-housing-by-2036-this-is-the-best-way-to-do-it-105960 date accessed 10 May 2020

(2) Acoss. Poverty in Australia. Is there poverty in Australia? URL: http://povertyandinequality.acoss.org.au/poverty/ date accessed 10 May 2020

Are the US, Australia heading for another Great Depression?

In a recent interview with The Bloomberg podcast OddLots, economist Nouriel Roubini predicted that the US would have a bad recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, inflation and then a ultimately a depression (1). That outlook is bleak. Perhaps not over-reactionary. Over 20 million people were newly unemployed in the US last month. The US has by far been the hardest hit country by the pandemic. It was arguably still somewhat fragile, with low interest rates and high federal debt leading up to the pandemic. In recent days, large companies like Neiman Marcus have filed for bankruptcy. I think it wont be much surprise if in the coming weeks and months weak businesses will continue to go into administration or file for bankruptcy.

In my native Australia we have also seen a worrying trend over the last year  of established businesses going into administration or filing for bankruptcy in the midst of increasingly low consumer confidence. Virgin Australia, Jeans West, EB Games and Kikki-K just to name a few. Many retailers, such as department store Myers and airline businesses such as Qantas have closed their doors and stood down tens of thousands of employees as a consequence of the pandemic. In Australia it seems the pandemic has been the straw, all be it the hay bale, that has broken the camel’s back for these retailers that were already struggling beneath the surface, especially after the tough Christmas we had with bush fires ravaging the nation.

Is recession in the US and Australia likely? Yes, it is imminent.  Is another Great Depression likely? Nouriel Roubini described the possibility of the “I” as opposed to the “V” or “U” shape “recovery”, by “I” shape that refers to straight down into a depression. There could be over 2 million unemployed in Australia right now (2). When I saw the queues outside Centrelink (the jobless office) here in Sydney, that stretched for ~100 m or more —  I seriously worried depression was around the corner. But, the outcome likely depends greatly on government policy and how well it works to alleviate the stress on the economy caused by the pandemic — arguably the biggest economic shock on record. Definitely the biggest shock in the last 100 years. Why government? Because government (rightly) shutting down the economy, has been the force that has stopped so much economic activity. Shutting down or partly shutting down huge sectors of the economy such as tourism, retail, airports and transport. Business can only try to hold out at this time, but it is government pulling all the strings, and for that reason, like it or not we are more reliant than ever on good government economic fiscal policy.

In Australia, quantitative easing policy set out by the RBA should help finance government debt and prevent liquidity drying up. JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments will help people afford their living costs during the pandemic, stay engaged with their employer where possible and hopefully to spend a little to boost economic activity, however spending is probably a pipe dream, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics releasing statistics that over half of people saved their $750 stimulus payment rather than spending it (3). A strong indication in my opinion that people do not feel confident to spend even additional money coming in from a stimulus payment and that consumer confidence is probably still about as low as in April when it walked off a cliff.

Job advertisements in Australia have also walked off a cliff in May. Unemployment, consumer confidence and job advertisements have, to paraphrase Greg Jericho of the Guardian Australia, broken the scale by which we measure them (4). The same can easily be said for the numbers out of the US. As Greg Jericho has said, the scale is broken.

But can governments of the US and Australia hold things together when they have spent so much effort over the past decades dismantling social security and making government smaller? Australia is in a better position considering it has achieved less dismantling than the US, but even we in Australia have put ourselves in a precarious position through the past three decades of policy that targeted cuts to welfare payments, education and healthcare.

(1) OddLots 4 May 2020 Nouriel Roubini Sees A Bad Recovery, Then Inflation, Then A Depression. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/audio/2020-05-03/nouriel-roubini-sees-a-bad-recovery-and-a-depression-podcast

(2) Shane Wright and Eryk Bradshaw, March 23 2020, ‘Worst since 1932′: Two million Aussies face unemployment queue’ https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/worst-since-1932-two-million-aussies-face-unemployment-queue-20200323-p54d14.html

(3) ABS COVID-19: One-third of households financially worse off https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mediareleasesbyCatalogue/DB259787916733E4CA25855B0003B21C?OpenDocument date viewed Fri, 8 May, 2020

(4) Greg Jericho, The Guardian Australia https://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2020/mar/24/when-it-comes-to-unemployment-in-australia-definitions-have-been-broken

 

How are term deposit and credit card interest calculated? Simple vs Compound Interest

Simple interest is the most basic type of interest.  Simple interest is just the interest rate percentage times the original capital (see diagram below).  Some term deposit accounts are calculated using simple interest. In term deposit accounts the interest is usually calculated at the end of each year.

62776339-A852-4CF8-8228-772D0B3F8494Under a simple interest loan, if I borrow $1 and the interest rate is 10% p.a. then I will need to repay $1.10 after 1 year.

Total repayment = Principle + Interest

=  $1 + ($1 x 10%)

= $1.10

 

Some term deposit interest rates are instead calculated using compound interest. This also goes for credit card interest, personal and home loan interest or even the interest you get on most regular savings bank accounts. The interest on these types of loans and savings is calculated using compound interest. That is interest that is compounded. With compound interest, you pay interest on not just the principle but on interest you haven’t paid off yet from the previous times interest was calculated.

Another way of saying compounded is two things added together or something made bigger. This means that when compounded the interest is made bigger.

Compound interest is calculated more often than simple interest, sometimes daily. In principle it could be calculated every second! A compounded interest rate will generally be higher than the equivalent quoted interest rate using simple interest. Sometimes a lot higher. Banks usually quote the base interest rate and not the total compounded rate which you actually pay.

I am going to use “powers” in this definition. A power is simply when a number is multiplied by itself by the number of times specified in the power. For example 2 to the power of 3, which can be written as 2 x 2 x 2 (= 8) or in short hand as 2^3, which is the same as 2 x 2 = 4 and then that answer, 4 x 2 = 8. Technically this shorthand is only used in software packages like Microsoft Excel, the formal way to write a power is by writing a small superscript of the “power” to the top right hand side of the the number you are taking to the power, as you can see in the figure drawn below.  When powers are used numbers can get big pretty fast – so when interest is calculated this way it can have quite an effect on the amount you end up paying on your debt or receiving on your savings.

If I borrow $1, and the interest rate is 10% p.a. but this time compounded daily. In the formula for compound interest (see diagram bellow), the interest rate, r = 10% or 0.1, the number of times compounded in the year or period, n = 365 days, the years or period, m = 1 year.

6DA3886D-E1D0-4C09-8265-CB16FA2AE397 1

In the formula, n and m can refer to days, years, months, quarters, half-years or really any break down of a year. Interest rate, r is always a percentage.

At the end of one year I now have to pay $1.105.

Total repayment = ( 1 + 0.1/365 ) ^ (365 x 1)

= 1.00027397 ^ (365 x 1)

= $ 1.105

By compounding every day, the 10% interest rate is actually higher than 10% after 1 year. I am actually paying 10.5% interest.

This means the effective annual interest rate of 10% p.a compounded daily, is 10.5%.

If you have a bank account that pays interest, you want it calculated an paid as often as possible to get the highest possible interest on your savings. So you can earn interest on the interest you receive.

Most credit card interest is calculated daily. Interest is often also added to the account balance daily so you are quickly charged interest on your interest. This is why credit card debt can get so big so quickly.

I really wouldn’t recommend getting a credit card unless it’s a low-to-zero annual fee and low interest card. It’s much better to save up for what you need, that way you don’t pay any interest and best of all the bank actually pays you interest on your savings (if you are lucky enough to live in a country where interest rates are not zero that is!). Of course everyone’s circumstances are different, that’s just my own personal preference. Unfortunately sometimes it is difficult to pay for large cost items without a credit card because some retailers don’t like to accept large cash payments or a prevented by law from accepting such payments. For those types of purchases I do use a low interest rate, low fee credit card and pay the money back onto my credit card balance almost right away out of my savings so that I am not in any debt and do not owe large amounts of interest (if any).

Studying at Masters level

Last year I decided to go back to university to study a Masters of Economics after several years working as a Teaching Assistant. At first it was really overwhelming. There is so much to read, write and think about and many new concepts to get my head around. It’s been really interesting and it’s been rewarding.

One of of the challenges I faced was learning how to sit and exam again. I hadn’t sat for a written exam since mid 2012 when I completed my Bachelors degree in science. I was incredibly nervous for the first few exams I sat. In one exam I ran out of time because I was too slow and being very careful. I remember in 2012 being so happy, thinking I would never sit another university exam again. How wrong I was!

I’m happy to finally be studying economics in depth rather than just having a layman’s interest.  I studied a little economics in my undergraduate degree but wasn’t able to do as much as I would have liked. Previously the subjects I took were in Political Economy and economics for project managers, like cash flow (future value, present value) calculations. I studied economics in high school and I had a great teacher who was great at explaining concepts. I will always remember those classes.

Now I can study topics that really interest me like macroeconomics. It’s also good to go back and relearn all the math I’d half forgotten! Learning it a second time has also filled up many of the little holes in my knowledge that were present the first time I studied university math. I’m still teaching, so it’s also good to share new tricks I have learned for the topics I do use regularly with my students who might be struggling.

I’ve just got through my mid semester exams for this semester but I’m feeling positive about the rest of the year ahead.

What is Competitive Advantage?

So if we are not using Tariffs to artificially boost our competitiveness, how are we meant to make money with international trade?

Competitive advantage is the principle that a country will produce something it better at producing than anyone else. It could be a pricing advantage. Maybe the country has low wages and can make goods cheaply. It could be a technological advantage. The country could have advanced technologies that other countries do not know how to use as well.

In the Perfect Capital Market, a place with no taxes, government and free trade (think  Capitalist), countries produce what they have a competitive advantage in. The country will sell some of those goods as exports to other countries. The other countries will trade goods that they have a competitive advantage in.

For example, imagine a world of only two countries. They are called the United States and Australia. The United States is really good at making computers. The United States makes the best, most advanced computers in the world. Far better than what Australia can make. The United States has a competitive advantage in computers. Australia has a competitive advantage in solar panels. Australia’s solar panels are the most efficient in the world.

Australia produces solar panels at a cost of $10 and exports them to the United States. The solar Panels are sold to the United States for $20. The United States uses those solar panels to make it’s computers at a cost of $10. The United States exports it’s computers to Australia who buys them for $20. Australia in turn designs even better solar panels. Both countries are trading where they have a competitive advantage. Both countries benefit. In this case they benefit equally. Each country makes $10 profit.

What if there was a third good? Wheat. Both the United States and Australia are good at producing wheat. Australia is really efficient at producing wheat. The United States wants to trade it’s wheat with Australia instead of computers. Australia has cheap wheat because it is so efficient at producing wheat. Wheat costs $5 to produce in Australia and is sold for $10 in Australian shops. Australia will only pay the United States $10 for it’s wheat.

Wheat in the United States costs $6 to produce. The United States will only make $4 profit in Australia but Australia will make $5 profit. Australia has a competitive advantage for wheat. But it is small. The United States can try to sell it’s wheat to Australia, but it will never make as much money selling wheat as Australia. Eventually Australia will be ahead as all those dollars start to add up.

What would the United States be better off producing to make the most possible profit? Computers. Because that’s where the United States has a competitive advantage.

So what is a Tariff anyway?

There is a lot of talk about the US and China and other countries raising Tariffs against each other. So what is a Tariff anyway?

A tariff is a kind of tax placed on imports, sometimes from all countries and sometimes just from one country.  Usually trade arrangements are made between two countries so the tariffs will be at a country level.

In the past most countries had a lot of tariffs, sometimes really high ones.  These taxes encouraged people to buy goods made in their home country rather than imports with expensive taxes on them.  In Australia this system propped up the Textiles, Clothing and Footware industry until reforms were made and the tariffs reduced to almost zero, and in some cases zero.

Tariffs fall under an economic strategy called trade-barriers or protectionism. Protectionism aims to protect the home countries industries, even if they are not competitive and would not survive without the taxes on their competitors.

While tariffs are perhaps good for companies that are in protected industries, and they can continue to employ people, protectionism is bad for consumers and often forces them to pay more for the things they want to buy. In the 1980’s the cost of a T-shirt was much more expensive than the cost of a T-Shirt today.  Wages of factory workers in Australia were and still are much higher than wages in China and other manufacturing competitors, and so consumers in Australia were forced to pay more for their T-Shirts.

If you only have $100 to spend and a T-Shirt is $50 it only leaves you with $50 to spend on other things.  If there are no Tariffs and the T-Shirt is now $40 you have $60 left to spend on other things you want.  Basically you can’t buy as much under protectionism.  In Australia the price of a T-Shirt got much cheaper than $40, because eventually the foreign goods were so much cheaper and more competitive than the local goods. This soon put most of the Textiles, Clothing and Footware industry out of business.  That isn’t necessarily a bad thing,  it’s bad for a while for the people who loose their jobs, the factory owners and their investors. But remember, those factory workers were also having to buy a $50 T-shirt under protectionism, and now they don’t have to spend as much either.  The businesses were not competitive and were being propped up by an artificial advantage.  Generally the standard of living of people increases as protectionism is removed.

However like all things, it’s not black and white and not all people benefit equally from removal of trade barriers. Governments role in this type of situation where there is a massive restructure of the workforce due to change of government policy is to help affected workers find new jobs.  A task government doesn’t always get right.  It is also the responsibility of Industry to be open to employ people from declining industries and to the workers themselves to retrain or gain new skills.

These kinds of changes are worse when they are implemented too quickly, without time for people to adjust and find new work.  Another thing that can exacerbate the situation is when protectionism is removed when there is no other work around.  This can turn structural unemployment, as it is called, into long term unemployment.  This makes life very difficult for workers in affected industries. They may never find employment again. Due to unemployment they do not benefit as much from the rising living standards as people who remain in work gain from removing tariffs.

G20 Summit Argentina

The world is waiting for the outcome of key talks at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires in Argentina. Primarily investors around the world are waiting for the outcome of the Trump – Xi Jinping talk in the hope that there will be some positive outcome to the trade wars that have placed markets around the world in a state of perpetual fear since they began.

There is a chance that tariffs will be reduced (small), a chance they will be increased (small) or a big chance there will be no change, there is even a small chance of a new Cold War breaking out but I don’t think that is at all likely anymore. Usually at these summits it’s more important what goes on behind the scenes with the advisors and delegates, but Trump is very independent and doesn’t always follow advice and Trump makes deals on his own terms, so this meeting could be crucial. It could also be just a rosey photo opportunity with no substance. We are all waiting.

Portfolio diversification: Starcraft analogy

76761AFF-6C2B-4575-AF1C-1229CED9F16B.png

My 11 year old is a big fan of Starcraft II, a strategy computer game. If you know the game, you will be aware there are two resources in the game, Vespene Gas and Minerals.  Units in the game can collect these resources and use them as commodities to build new items, or as currency to finance acquisitions, for example fighting or healing units in one of the three armies, Zerg (Alien insects), Protoss (A highly advanced alien race) or Terrans (Humans).  The resources Vespene Gas and Minerals are valuable and necessary for any successful Starcraft II army.  Especially if you want to have success in the game or annihilate your enemy’s bases.  Successful armies require Vespene Gas and Minerals so there is always a market for these resources.

If I was an investor in the Starcraft universe, I would have two possible resources to invest in, Vespene Gas or Minerals.  If I bought only Vespene Gas, my investment portfolio would contain one thing: Vespene Gas.  Say I invested only in a Zerg Vespene Gas field I would have only the risk attached to owning a Zerg Vespene Gas field.

If one day the Protoss came along and blew it up, and blew up all my harvesting units, I would loose all of my investment.  I would have nothing and be all of a sudden very poor.  If I  had instead put only half my assets into the Zerg Vespene Gas field and the other half into a Terran Minerals deposit I would have reduced my risk.  My portfolio would be half Minerals and half Vespene Gas. I would still have my investment in the Minerals even if the gas field was destroyed. I would only loose half of my investment.

By investing in both resources I am spreading my risk and hopefully by doing so reducing my total investment risk. This is why it is so important to build a diverse portfolio and why people say “not to put all your eggs in one basket”.  That is why it is unwise to only invest in Vespene Gas.

 

*Note: This is a very simple example of portfolio diversification for demonstration purposes only. It should not be taken as investment advice. At the time of writing I do not and have not previously held stocks in Blizzard Activision (or Vespene Gas for that matter!)

To Create Gender Equality in STEM Workplaces Must Change.

Science Mag_fig1_jpg1_Scissors of DeathSource: ScienceMag.org. Data from the Third European Report on Science and Technology, 2003,http://www.dife.de/~mristow/2003EU_3rd_report.pdf

What can the disciplines of science, engineering and technology do to increase their female workforce and stop the well documented drop-off of women from the workforce over time?  In the fields of science and technology (STEM) the phenomenon of the so called Gender Scissors or “Jaws- of-Death” or “Scissors-of-Death” is widespread.  The Jaws-of-Death phenomenon is a measurement of male and female participation rates in the disciplines of science and engineering throughout their careers, measured by age.  Due to encouragement of young female students to study STEM subjects in high-school and increased enrollment of female students in STEM courses at university, the gender gap has closed significantly over recent years and almost closed completely in some sciences at this early career stage.  However looking into the future lives of female and male scientists and engineers, female participation rates drop off significantly in comparison to male participation rates.  The Jaws-of-Death graph blatantly shows the loss of women from the field of science and engineering as they age.  In scientific academia there is a marked difference between female and male participation rates, in the EU, only 33% of researchers are female and only 21% of top level academic roles were filled by women in 2015 (1).  In science and engineering the number of women in in top level positions is even scarcer at 13% in 2013 (1).

There are a number of reasons this may occur, but the most startlingly obvious reason is that these professions are not easy for women to stay and to excel.  There are a number of factors in these professions that affect women’s participation rates.  Much the way business is done in these professions means that the odds are stacked against women right from the start and opposing factors only increase against women as they age and try to progress in their careers.

This should not be seen as the fault of women but as a fault in the system. By loosing such large numbers of women from STEM or keeping women subjugated to lower positions due to the ingrained workings of a poor system, the system in place is in effect causing a “brain-drain”, a loss of potential, and a loss of economic benefit that would have been gained if those women were able to stay in STEM related work or to advance their careers.

So what are the major obstacles in the system that women have to overcome?  There are much documented and studied obstacles such as unconscious bias and the gender pay gap, but there are also more physical boundaries such as the availability of maternity leave and flexibility for employees in the workforce.  Business holds a lot of the cards when it comes to negotiating workers hours, and the fields of science and engineering have very low unionisation rates. Low unionisation means women will often be left to negotiate their contracts one on one with an employer, and they will be expected to offer similar hours of labour as male employees if they want to receive coveted roles or permanent positions.  Because of a desire by many women for flexibility, they are often forced by lack of choice and lack cooperation by employers into precarious part time contract and casual work.

The professions of scientist and engineer were male dominated occupations for centuries.  The fields have consequently developed into occupations where it is standard for employers to expect very long hours of work and high output.  Hours of work far past your standard 40 hour week. Many scientists and engineers work weekends as well as week days, and might work away from home for months on end.  As a consequence of this high benchmark for permanent positions, people who want flexibility have much lower bargaining power and much less chance of finding secure work.

There are a number of problems for women trying to work inside this construct. For starters, flexibility is very important for many women, and not just women who have or want to have children.  Many women require adequate recreation time to perform well, and don’t want to work more than 40 hours a week.  Women who are planning a family or have children want to be able to balance their family and work life without risking their career.  It is well known that many women feel they are forced out of STEM professions after having children.  In general, only women with a lot of additional support from their partners, family or already in well paid positions find it possible to stay in STEM after having children, and even then they often talk of it being a struggle.  When you talk to mothers who have been successful in science and technology, they have usually had very supportive husbands, partners or parents who were able to help a lot with children or have been able to afford nannies.  Women who don’t have support, which far out number those with sufficient support are the ones who drop out, and they are dropping out in huge numbers.

If the structure of work could be changed it would benefit not only women, but men who also suffer from being away from home and family for long periods.  For example, the field of academic science is highly competitive.  Scientific teams work long hours and are in metaphorical vicious and eternal competition with their scientific rivals to produce quality novel research and to produce it first.  Academic scientists compete with each other for accolades, for grants, for jobs and for recognition by their peers.  This has built an environment of extreme individual competitiveness where scientists often feel they cannot risk taking time off for fear of falling behind.  God knows, some team in the US or China might make the discovery first!  God forbid they might publish first!  Young academic scientists want to be the lead author, to gain the recognition they feel they deserve, to be Joe Blogs, et al. and not be one of the seemingly unrecognised and forgotten “et al.”, just a footnote at the end of a paper, a name no-one will ever remember.

Other reasons for leaving work in STEM are also commonly sighted, such as nepotism and “jobs for the boys” at higher management levels.  These problems could be addressed by stricter hiring criteria based on merit rather than favouritism, friendship networks or poor interview based character assessments.

I suggest that if the field of academic science could be completely restructured and more value put on people as a whole rather than on an individuals output, not only would women be able to stay in STEM, but the increased workforce and increased diversity would surely improve science.  This would mean a greater emphasis on a teams output rather than on individuals trying to outshine each other.  Increased availability of job share and flexibility so that two or three scientists could perform the work that one scientist working a 60 or 70 hour week currently performs.  A greater emphasis on sharing knowledge and working together as a group rather than on gaining individual recognition.

To achieve this a number of elements in science need to change, from the way scientists are hired to the flexibility afforded to scientists in the workforce, and the way that academic journals publish scientific papers and grants are distributed.  There needs to be is a greater focus on quality teams rather than bright stars. If everyone is chasing their Nobel Prize or equivalent, a situation of survival of the fittest arises and many bodies will be pushed aside.

How fitting that academic science has become a prime example of Darwinism.  But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can change. I read a sign recently that said in my loose translation from Dutch “Expecting change, without doing anything yourself is like waiting for a boat at a train station”.  We can make STEM work more accessible to women (and men) but change needs to occur and people and organisations have to be willing to make change.

We can’t expect women to stay in work in a deeply flawed system. And we can’t expect the system to change on it’s own.  We have to see the problems and be willing step up and fix the system so that it better serves us and helps us to build the kind of society that we want live in.  A society where women can be successful scientists and engineers and don’t have to overcome massive hurdles.  A society where the decision whether or not to have children will not massively impact or end your future career.  Having children or simply being male has never stopped men from being scientists or engineers and parental status or gender shouldn’t stop women either — and if it does, we have to change that.

1. SHE Figures 2015, URL: http://www.genderportal.eu/sites/default/files/resource_pool/she_figures_2015-final.pdf date accessed 25/6/2018.