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At the current rates of progress towards closing the gender gap around the world, it would take Western Europe 61 years to close their gender gap, Eastern Europe and Central Asia 128, the Middle East and North Africa 157, East Asia and the Pacific 161, and North America 168 years. Some of the world’s largest economies are the farthest away from gender parity. At a time when countries have closed an average of 85% of their gaps in educational attainment, one may wonder why progress towards gender parity has slowed down. The answer is rooted in cultures that are unique to every country, but more prominently in gender-based stereotypes that are common across nations and hurt not only industries but entire economies.

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This is the first post in a five-part blog series focused on the energy industry. 

This week’s blog series will be about the Energy industry with posts about Geothermal and Hydroelectric Power; Solar, Wind, and Nuclear Energy; Oil, and Natural Gas; concluding with an outlook on the future of Energy. By the end of the week, these articles will give you an in-depth break down on the current state of the Energy industry in the United States and abroad.

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2018 might be the year that you see an increase in the price of your favorite bottle of wine. In late October, the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) released its annual report of 2017 wine production levels around the world, and the results exposed several indications for concern about the performance of the global wine industry. The OIV estimated a fall of 8.2 percent in global production to the lowest level the industry has experienced in 50 years. This decrease is equivalent to around 2.9 billion bottles of wine.

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This is the first post in a five-part blog series focused on International Education Week.

This week’s globablEDGE blog series will highlight the 18th annual International Education Week (IEW) that occurs November 13-November 17. IEW is an initiative of the US Department of State and US Department of Education that encourages educational institutions, businesses, and organizations around the world to host events in celebration of international students, study abroad programs, and exchange opportunities. The goal of IEW is to promote the importance of international experience as a key way for Americans to prepare for a global environment, as well as to invite people from abroad to study in the United States and share their diverse perspectives.

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The United States is Canada’s number one trading partner, and Canada is America’s second largest. However, to what extent does the amount of trade between these two nations span? The Great Lakes Region is composed of the two Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and the eight states of Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. The Gross Domestic Product of the Great Lakes Region is $6 trillion, which means that if the region were a country, it would be the third largest economy right behind the United States and China. $278 billion dollars of bilateral trade is generated in the Great Lakes Region each year, and there is a highly integrated supply chain in order to sustain such a massive amount of exports and imports.

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When it comes to market growth, countries around the world have different perspectives on what constitutes a strong performance of the economy. On Wednesday, October 11 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced its prediction that India’s growth rate will decrease to 6.7 percent for 2017, compared to a prediction earlier this year of 7.2 percent. This large drop is largely due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s implementation of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) and the demonetization of the Indian banknote. If India’s growth rate falls, it would be behind China’s predicted growth rate of 6.8 percent for 2017. Modi has faced backlash and criticism about the effects that these policies have had on India’s economy so far, which is an interesting contrast to the opinions of citizens in developed countries on the progress of their markets’ growth.  

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Catalonia, the northeastern region of Spain, held a referendum for their independence on Sunday, October 1st. Unofficially recorded by the Catalonian government, 90 percent of the 2.3 million citizens who attended the polls voted for the region’s autonomy from Spain. While this result is not an official decision and will take extensive deliberation between the Catalan and Spanish governments for it to be formally enacted, there are many ramifications of how Catalonia’s independence would not only affect Catalonia and Spain’s economies but the entire economy of the European Union as well.

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It is no shock that developing countries have the lowest access to healthcare. According to the Global Economic Symposium, “low and middle-income countries bear 93% of the world´s disease burden, yet account for only 18% of world income and 11% of global health spending.” While this lack of access to medical services is common on the demand side of the healthcare industry due to people not being able to afford the costs of the treatment, another prevalent issue occurs on the supply side.

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Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, released 30 brand new Model 3 electric vehicles to Tesla employees in Fremont, California on July 28. Tesla advertises the Model 3 as one of the most affordable electric vehicles on the market, competing with fuel-efficient cars like the Hyundai Ioniq EV, Chevrolet Volt, BMW i3, and Nissan Leaf. While demand for the Model 3 is high—it has already gathered 50,000 advanced deposits—the vehicle’s mass-market accessibility is not as apparent. In comparison to Tesla’s Model S, which can be prepared for delivery in seven days, current customer orders for the Model 3 are expected to be ready within the next 12-18 months. What is the underlying cause of such a large disconnect between consumers and the product? The reason boils down to an exponential increase in production that connects directly to a supply chain that has “about 30 percent of its components coming from abroad.”

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Have you ever tried streaming a show, watching a YouTube video, or downloading an album, only to discover that the media is unavailable due to your location? This common occurrence in the media and communications industry is known as geo-blocking. Platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, and YouTube are entertainment services in which geo-blocking frequently occurs, due to the companies’ negotiations with studios. As media piracy has increased in recent years, studios are becoming more particular about which regions have access to on-demand streaming. Such precautions have been made in certain countries to increase incentive for purchase and to decrease illegal production of copyrighted material.

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A recent article by the Motley Fool analyzes why “the ‘big three’ cruise lines,” Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line, saw increases of over 25% in their stock prices in the first half of 2017. The article suggests current trends in the hospitality and travel industry, such as “lower fuel prices, higher consumer spending in developed countries, and burgeoning travel demand among Asian tourists" as possible factors. However, the article also explores another trend in consumer purchasing patterns: “a penchant among millennials to spend their earnings on experiences instead of material products.”

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Are you interested in learning more about market classification? globalEDGE’s Global Insights by Classification feature explores Emerging Markets, Frontier Markets, and Mature Markets. Each classification has its own page that includes a description of the market’s main characteristics, an interactive map of the countries in the market, and a table that provides insight to the market’s economic averages compared to least developed and most developed countries. The market pages also contain Statistics, a Risk Comparator, and Resources. Visit the Statistics section to compare the market's countries to each other using an interactive graph of data. The graph contains data about the economy, education, finance, the government, infrastructure, labor, people, and trade and investment.

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The Fifth International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) Convention will take place Thursday, August 3rd through Saturday, August 5th, in Puebla, Mexico, along with the Latin American Coffee Summit. The mission of IWCA, which has 21 chapters around the world, is to empower women in the coffee industry who “face additional challenges due to gender inequality that often manifests itself into being excluded from training, education, and financing opportunities.” IWCA hosts events like the convention not only as a method to fund the non-profit organization, but also as an opportunity for women in the industry to network with each other, share their experiences, and gain valuable knowledge and skills.

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Forbes released the 2017 rankings for the World’s Biggest Public Companies, or the Global 2000, on Wednesday, May 24. Company rankings are composite scores determined by weighing sales, profits, assets, and market value. The United States contributes the most companies to the list with 565 members. China and Hong Kong supply the second largest with 263 companies. According to Forbes, “the world’s biggest companies have gotten bigger, more profitable and more valuable in the past year. 58 countries were represented, down from last year's 62 with Cyprus, Kazakhstan, Romania and Malta no longer boasting companies on the list.”

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The fifth Copenhagen Fashion Summit took place on Thursday, May 11 to address sustainable development in the fashion industry. Influential representatives from apparel and textiles and retail companies spoke at the event, including the chairman of the board and interim CEO of Tiffany & Co, the President of Global Sourcing at Target, the CFO of Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH, and the head of sustainability at H&M. Eva Kruse, the CEO of the Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) explained how “today's linear economic model, which sends too many clothes to landfills and incinerators, is simply not sustainable.” She called on all retail and fashion companies to support a circular fashion system and sign the Summit’s Call to Action.