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Friday, September 25, 2020

Women vs Corona Pandemic

 At some point during this pandemic there was a discussion in media of at least most European and North American countries about the impact of the corona situation on women. Discussions are good, but here we are months into the crisis and those discussions haven't led to any plans (not to mention actions).

Let me point out some aspects:

First of all, just because men dies more than 2 times more often on COVID-19 than women and have severe course of the disease that does not mean women do not die on it and do not suffer when infected. [1,2,3] My fear is that this will support as always to test medicine mostly or only on men and women will be left with hope that what works for men will at least a bit in some cases work on them too... [4]

Secondly, there was huge carelessness about impact of the COVID-19 on pregnant women. Lack of evidence became a synonym of no-problem. When we knew that almost any other disease including the flu from the same family of viruses is putting women in the high risk group. First in August started to emerge doubts of this naive approach.  The truth is we know very little but we know that there might be impact on fetus development in early stages of the pregnancy if the virus will get to the blood stream. COVID-19 can also cause blood clots that can impact a blood flow to the baby. Pregnant women due to their suppressed immune system response have very different way of going through the disease and might first severely suffer after the delivery. [5] Additionally comes the stress for a possible impact on fetus and eventually a baby, that significantly adds to already many emotional difficulties that women go though during the pregnancy. As well as issues connected with getting enough of oxygen while wearing a mask, that are obligatory even for pregnant women many public places as social awareness of a special situation for pregnant women were low or none. (Although it improved with time.)

The third point is the socioeconomic impact [6] on women generally as women were faster be be laid of and they are being slower to re-employ [7,8] and mothers specifically as women took bigger share of home-schooling and child care [9]. Current situation is increasing gender inequalities and pushing women back at least 20 years back in time.

The fourth issue is domestic violence. [10, 11] Yes, men can also be a victim of the domestic violence however up to any study conducted they are typically on the abuser side.

The fifth expectation of unachievable perfection so called 'having it all' haven't disappeared despite the world going through the crisis impacting almost every aspect of our everyday life and making it more challenging in this or other way. [12,13]

Where am I emotionally about this situation... well I am deep into feeling frustrated and annoyed. Why? Well, I am a women, I am a mother, and I am pregnant... I am quite impacted and I am stressed when I think about the upcoming second wave.

What could help me?  

For example, 1) strict obligation of testing medicines on men and women cells in the early development and then including women equally into clinical trials 2) more testing on specific groups (here I refer both to pregnant women and children) even when there are no symptoms especially in situations of outbreaks (for example: quarantines in schools is not enough to learn something we need to test everyone we want to quarantine), 3) a sustainable thought the pandemic schooling and child care solutions.


References:

[1] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2020.00152/full

[2] https://www.statista.com/statistics/1105512/coronavirus-covid-19-deaths-by-gender-germany/

[3] https://healthcare-in-europe.com/en/news/why-covid-19-hits-men-harder-than-women.html

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/apr/30/fda-clinical-trials-gender-gap-epa-nih-institute-of-medicine-cardiovascular-disease

[5] https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/08/why-pregnant-women-face-special-risks-covid-19

[6] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/09/covid-19-gender-inequality-jobs-economy/

[7] https://time.com/5851352/women-labor-economy-coronavirus/

[8] https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news20_e/info_note_covid_05aug20_e.pdf

[9] https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/14/how-coronavirus-could-do-long-term-damage-to-womens-careers.html

[10] https://www.tum.de/nc/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36059/

[11] https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/un-supporting-%E2%80%98trapped%E2%80%99-domestic-violence-victims-during-covid-19-pandemic

[12] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5107921/Pressure-women-makes-health-suffer.html

[13] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/14/perfect-girls-five-women-stories-mental-health

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

August 2020

Last month I have posted not the most fancy post ever but I did it. And to be honest I felt quite empowered by that. I missed this form of cluttering WWW with my content.

BOOKS

'In the Company of Men' by Eileen Scully

This book touches on different aspects of the reality in which women live in and does it by telling stories of few ladies who on top of having great careers decided to fight for a better future for other women. It is an interesting book but the writing style is not my favorite.

'Never Split the Difference: Negotiate as your life depends on it.' by Christopher Voss and Tahl Raz

If you want to read one book on negotiation you can make it this one, it can also be a book to start with this fascinating topic. It has practical tips, interesting stories and some level of psychological explanations. However, it is very business oriented despite claiming that the techniques can be applied to any aspect of life.

'Lean In. Women, work, and the will to lead.' by Sheryl Sandberg with Nell Scovell

This book is full of good advises on career for women. New to me were for example: to think more about future salary possibilities than on current while making decision to resign from pursuing some work related opportunities or goals; to tune negotiating methods to the way women are perceived which is different than men. There is slightly too little vulnerability for me to be fully impressed but I have learned a lot and enjoyed shared stories and knowledge.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

December 2019 - July 2020 - update and summary

Starting in January 2020, I took a half a year break from my phd work as I was an exhausted human being. I have started again on the first of July. My break did not look as I have envisioned it to be but one can not plan for a world pandemic coming and shaking the way we lived so far. Luckily the life in my community is starting to resemble normality so it is getting easier and easier to navigate everyday life.


BOOKS

I have been dealing with issue of not finishing books I have been starting so one of my New Years resolutions was to change that bad habit. So far I haven't made much progress but I did managed to finish some books.

'Invisible Women' by Caroline Criado Perez

This book is about data bias and gap in the world designed by and for men. It won a Science Book Prize in 2019. It is filled with disturbing information how lack of data about women drives the discrimination. It made me angry and made me look at ladies around me with even more understanding. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

'Kingdom of Ash' by Sarah J Maas

This is last book in the series of seven books 'Throne of Glass'. It is a good final book and I liked the whole series but the way characters developed was not always relatable for me. All in all whole series is a good fun read.

'Nudge' by Thaler and Sunstein

Quite heavy with economics language that I am not most comfortable with but I definitely learned a lot. Very interesting book.

'Art Matters' by N. Gaiman

Very inspiring short read.


TRAVEL

I went for few days to Szczecin, Poland. I ate wonderful cakes and ice-cream in 'Ale Ciacho' - if you in town this cafe is a must.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Update

I haven't realized that it had been so long since I have last written a post. Last one that I have written is from September 2016, however last one I have published was from June 2016?!

...my live has been very busy...

In May 2016 I was still living in Netherlands in beautiful Leiden and working in The Hague. I am not living there anymore. Since September 2016 I have been living in Germany. I haven't been working since September, but I start a phd next month. I have done a B1 language certificate in German. In my free time I did creative writing. I mostly worked on my book ideas. What I have is far away from anything I could present but I was happy to have time to do it. I have became a mum and it definitively was the most intensive and incredible experience in my life. Now taking care of my little baby is my main focus, but as said soon I will have to divide my time between working at the university on my phd project and spending time at home with my wonderful family.

Books

The moment I got a baby I realized how printed books are unhandy, heavy and difficult to hold. My Kindle that until now was laying bored on one of the bookshelf in my apartment got its chance to shine. And it did. Without my e-reader I probably couldn't do any reading at all so I instantaneously became a huge fan.

It would be impossible for me to review all the books I have read in the last year and half. So, I will focus only on those that I have read on my Kindle.

Bright Young Things by Scarlett Thomas

I have recently realized that I am bad in giving review of anything, books included. I tend to just summarize the whole story... which is annoying for those that thought about reading it.
I love this book. Very geeky. I would say that every person coming out of age should read it. It touches on a lot of existential dilemmas (that probably most of teenagers have).
It is an easy, fast read based mostly on interesting dialoges. Six young people that we get to know on the beginning of the book are in such a situation in their life that they find themselves applying for a quite weird job. First time they meet each other is when they wake up at some remote island... There is romance, there is fun and there is a dead body... I highly recommend this book.

The Brain by David Eagleman

So good! I want to read it again. David Eagleman gave a nice TED talk that basically summarizes this book. It is a popular science book that by presenting comments about different research results gives a lovely insight of who we are as human beings. Or at least what we know so far about that...

Be Bilingual by Annika Bourgogne

I read this because as for current moment my newborn baby is facing a challenge of learning four languages... and I would like to introduce those languages in a least messy way possible. This is the first book on this topic that I have read. I have found it interesting. It gives a lot of examples and real life suggestions.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

I loved and I hated it at moments. Characters are very complex and not all likable. It is fantasy but it is also very real book. We follow a life of one woman. Weird things happen in this book. It is divided into parts narrated by different characters. I liked first part, loved second and last one. I had had time following fourth one, and hated fifth. Sixth one was weird. It is a really good book but I had hard time feeling in the "War" that two groups of immortals have between them. And that "War" is a reason for everything that happens in the book... I am very confused with my feelings about this book... I am happy I have read it.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

June wrap-up

Books

Circle by Dave Eggers - very boring book with annoying character. But I think it had to be like that to slowly see and understand how one can loose oneself to addictive constant feedback portals (Instagram, Facebook, Tweeter).



Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard - I think this is better than first book and the novellas but still I dont like the character very much and I don't care about her much. I probably wouldn't even blink if she dies. Also romance part of the book is really weak. I guess characters that I would choose as most likeable is Cal and Farley. Mare is irritatingly stupid and shallow. I guess my favorite part was when other characters where screaming that in her face, because that was exactly what I wanted to tell her. That she is a horrible person. Bu hey maybe it is not a hero we would like but a hero that we deserve type of idea. There is some development of the character and at moments it seems like Mare will live up to her opinion about herself but she doesn't. And I love Cal for precisely pointing it out to Mare. Anyway, ending is kinda silly and not dramatic at all. It is really not believable ending! I was disappointed especially that it was very predictable. I really hope this series ends on book 3. Otherwise, I will be pretty angry that I started it and since it is not as horrible I probably will continue with it. But I have to say that with every year of my life I will probably become less and less forgiving...


Missed Her by Ivan E. Coyote - gender issues discussion. very heartwarming and interesting read. Definitely recommend it to any teenager out there. It will hopefully spark your interest in investigating and learning that gender it is a complex thing not just female/male coin. We are not a stereotype we are unique species. 

Travel/Places

Rijswijk, South Holland, Netherlands 


Leiden, Netherlands 


Sunday, June 12, 2016

May Wrap-Up

Life Events

Defended my thesis and got a top grade! Now I am officially a cosmologist!

Together with my husband and my family we celebrated one year of my marriage by eating a piece of wedding cake that we preserved in the freezer for that occasion specifically (Danish tradition).



Books


A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas - I enjoyed it.

Man in the Dark by Paul Auster - really good read.

The First Three Minutes by Steven Weinberg - a classic popular science book in cosmology. Since it is from 19.. It is a bit outdated but it is still a delightful book to read.

Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard - two novellas Queen Song and Steel Scars as s prequel to Red Queen series. Both stories had potential that in my opinion hasn't been explored. I like the concept and ideas Victoria is presenting in those stories but I lack in depth description and dimensionality of characters. We are being informed that the heroines are interesting and unique personalities but we get to know way too little about them to really believe that it is true. 

Movies

I watched obscenely many movies on youtube. Here is a few that I saw first time:

Not Another Teen Movie - horrible but might squeeze from you few cheap joke provoked laughs.

What's your number? - funny enough if you really have nothing else to watch or if you want to watch Chris Evans playing a charmer.

The Switch - bearable.

The Accidental Husband - sweet and funny enough.

Hot Pursuit - funny enough. 

The Prince and Me - I thought it was funny and sweet but I am biased because I like one particular Danish man a lot ;)

Bad Teacher - horrible movie but it has a moment when the teacher played by Cameron Diaz checks tests of her pupils and probably most people who ever were checking tests/homeworks/exams will find it funny!

I also saw:

Money Monster - pretty good.

The Dressmaker - I liked it a lot. If you liked movie Chocolate then this one has a bit similar vibe, maybe a bit more dark.

The Intern - nice movie to watch with family excluding kids (they might not find it very interesting)

Deadpool - it was totally different form what I expected. At first I really didn't like it and couldn't understand why people loved it so much but in the end I got used to the format it was made and my final conclusion is that if I see it again I probably like it a bit more.


Travel

Keukenhof flower garden - spring garden. I was very lucky to have spectacular spring weather! It was a very nice bike trip :)


The first weekend of May I have biked to Scheveningen beach and Katwijk beach because it was truly "summerish" weekend. Together with the trip to Keukenhof I have made 90 km on bike in four days!

Delft - engineering town of Netherlands ;)



Friday, May 20, 2016

March/April summary

Books

Cosmology: A Very Short Introduction by Peter Coles - it is already a bit outdated book because cosmology evolves very fast but still nice popular science book to read.


Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard - it is ok young adult novel (first book in a series) but for me it doesn't live up to the hype. Nevertheless, I will read the next books in the series.

Calamity by Brandon Sanderson - final book in Reckoners series and it was as cool as the previous ones in the trilogy + novellas.

The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkowski - final book in the Winner's trilogy. I haven't been disappointed and I enjoyed the read.

Movies

I saw only two movies in theater those two months Spotlight and Room. Both were good.

Travel

Leiden





On a way from Leiden to The Hague





The Hague





Beach in The Hague (Scheveningen)



Rotterdam






Life Events

I handed in my thesis in cosmology on the beginning of March and right after I have moved to Netherlands to start an internship in a patent office. In the end of April I went to Denmark to prepare for defense of my thesis.