Data Visualization

Blog of the Data Visualization & Communication Course at OSB-AUB

This is my favorite part about analytics: Taking boring flat data and bringing it to life through visualization” John Tukey

The road to fighting child labor

The road to fighting child labor

You’ve probably heard about all the advancements that the world has witnessed in the past decades, be it on technological breakthroughs, social rights or positive movements towards a sustainable society. You heard leaders from all around the globe preaching these achievements, promising the current generation “a better future for their kids”. But have you ever paused for a second and thought about these last few words? “Better future for their kids”. You pause for a second and look around, to just realize that this world that we are trying to improve for the future generations, has already condemned part of that generation – and their only fault is that they are kids. This post specifically targets child labor – a crime which, to date, has not yet been abolished. What is child labor exactly? The International Labor Organization (ILO) defines child labor as any activity that physically, mentally and/or morally abuses children, depriving them from their right to own their childhood. We’ve seen that despite some positive developments towards the beginning of the decade, the average number of hours worked by children aged 7-14 have spiked again towards the later years. This is true for both working only, and working & studying children. There is also no difference on the gender levels – both females and males have seen an increase in the average number of hours worked in recent years. Looking more granularly at the country distribution, we can spot that, indeed, a lot of positive development has happened across the world. But positive development is unfortunately not enough, when there is still one child out there deprived from his/her childhood. To be able to gain a better insight into what drives child labor, we look at a country-level comparison, where we contrast mature markets with almost nil child labor levels to countries in a more developing stage. As a case study, we look at Turkey and Egypt (both with huge populations and large economies) vs. France, Germany and the UK. The first metric we look at is women employment; indeed, in the countries where women’s participation to the labor force is higher, child labor is lower. Second, we look at birth rates: in the countries where birth rates were much higher, child labor was definitely more prevalent. Makes sense, no? The higher the number of mouths to feed, the higher the income needed! We also look at the levels healthcare spending in these countries – needless to say, the charts speak for themselves. Child labor is directly related to the household’s overall financial and well-being state. In countries where healthcare is expensive, unreliable or simply unattainable, the likelihood for falling sick is higher, putting the responsibility of feeding a household on the youngsters of the latter.We strive for a better world for the next generation, while completely ignoring the current one. How can we build a better future for children, if we are building it on the backs of children?

Out Of School Children

Out Of School Children

Meet Denis Mukwege, medicine graduate, founder of the the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, a 2018 Nobel prize winner for his effort “to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.”

Now meet Thato Zungy,  a school dropout, grew up to face prison after being addicted to drugs and being involved with gangsters

Two different educational backgrounds, Two different paths, Two different influence on the society 

Due to the huge benefits that it brings to the individual development and the society as a whole, Education is a crucial matter that pushed UNICEF to declare a national emergency to deal with the shocking 80 million children dropping out of school without completing the basic schooling, despite the global efforts to promote primary education

The map below shows the top 40 countries with the highest average of Children out of school. As shown, 38 out of the 40 countries are in Africa, with Somalia recording the highest average of all (83.92)

Despite the efforts that some government make to promote primary education, some countries still witness a high average of dropouts from primary schooling. The bar chart shows the percentage of expenditure on primary education out of the government expenditure on education compared to the average children out of school. Haiti is among the top countries in Average Expenditure on primary education out of the government expenditure on education (64.9%), and still, its ranked 7th in the world with the highest average of drooped out(54.40%)

According to the UNICEF wars and disasters, discrimination based on gender, child marriage are factors that keep the children out of schools. Poverty is also considered a main barrier to education, where children are forced into employment at a very young age to accommodate the living demands. Going back to Somalia example, 43.5% of children aged 7-14 are working instead of being at school. Same with the Haiti example, despite the huge expenditure on primary education, 35.60% of children are in employment.

Solving this issue requires the collaboration of the government, schools and community

  • On a government level, increase the number of schools to avoid crowded classes and implement legislation that protects the right of education for every child. According to UNESCO and UNICEF new policies should focus on the most marginalized children to easy the access to education and improve its quality. This can be achieved by gathering information about the children, their addresses and if they attended school or are likely to do so.
  • On a community level, awareness should be spread especially among parents by showcasing the downside of dropping schools and its effect on the society
  • On a school level, Systemic Renewal must be adopted which is the continuous process of assessing goals and objectives associated to school policies, practices, and organizational structures as they have a direct impact on a wide group of learners.

Implementing those steps will have its reflection on the society by reducing the rate of crimes and violence and poverty, economic growth, and equality among genders as well as inspiring good health.

Suicide and Alcohol Consumption In Russia

Suicide and Alcohol Consumption In Russia

Depression, mood disorders, extreme anxiety and .. suicide.

Ignoring human well-being and setting people’s depression as less important issues to look after might have very dramatic impacts on countries sustainability. And that is why, ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being come as third goal of the Sustainable Development Goals. Psychological struggles of people from different countries make negative impacts on people, however, in Russia, one half of the population is affected by their depression and sometimes escaping from their realities to suicide!

Statistical reports showed that Russian male have the highest suicide mortality rates globally. Also, Russian male suicide rates exceed those of Russian females by almost 5.8 times!

Where, as shown below, over the last 20 years Russia has male suicide mortality rate of 70.6 per 100,000 male population on average, while for females it is 12.88 per 100,000 female population on average.

These heartbreakingly high ratios are urgent stimulates to go beyond the data to investigate about possible reasons that lead males to suicide.

In general, many factors and causes could be reasons behind the suicide, and as Dr. Alexandre Fleischmann says “Suicide is a complex phenomenon “. However, there must be a key reason that leads Russian men, in specific, to commit suicide more than anywhere else.

After a deeper investigation, results showed that alcohol consumption among males in Russia could be an important cause for suicide. Alcohol plays a role in lowering persons’ inhibitions , leading them to act suicidal thoughts. In addition, alcohol consumption deepens the negative emotions, increasing the chance for people to get into depression, anger, and eventually, suicide.

As show in the figure below, Russia has the highest rate of alcohol consumption among its male population globally.

Finally, our mental health and well-being is not a secondary issue to take care of. Therefore, effective strategies and raising awareness are needed to treat depression, maintain people’s psychological health, and to prevent suicide.

Underrepresentation of Females in the Workplace in Lebanon

Underrepresentation of Females in the Workplace in Lebanon

Meet Zeina, a fresh software engineer graduate from the American University of Beirut. Thrilled and excited to embark onto a new chapter in her life, Zeina started her job-hunting journey.

However !!!

“Your profile and skills match perfectly well the requirements of the job position, but female graduates might not be able to handle the pressure of such a position given that they are sensitive and fragile”

Extremely disappointed and frustrated from what she heard from several different employers, Zeina was then aware of how gender stereotypes infuse into the workplace and lead to gender imbalance in the economic life in her country, Lebanon.

Given the above, Zeina was intrigued to investigate the phenomenon of the underrepresentation of females in the workplace in Lebanon and constructed the below storyline to explain this issue in numbers. The first two visualizations in the storyline show the following:1) The employment gap between both genders in Lebanon since the 1990s
2) One of the reasons behind the gender imbalance in the workplace: The unequal time spent by both genders on domestic and care work

Zeina was also interested in examining whether there has been any recent improvement in relation to women’s status in the Lebanese society, so she constructed a third visual showing:
3) There is a similar behavior between the Women, Business, and the Law index, which is a measure of gender laws and regulations that take into consideration women’s economic and social opportunities, and some female employment indicators, such as ratio of female to male labor force participation rate, proportion of seats held by women in national parliament, and the % of female employed in services.

You can find below Zeina’s storyline entitled “Underrepresentation of Females in the Workplace in Lebanon”

The impact of CO2 emission on Global Warming

The impact of CO2 emission on Global Warming

Antarctica has been suffering for years due to the high CO2 emission levels around the globe.

I have brought an expert that would be able to shed light on the matter based on personal experience and what he and his family have been witnessing for the past decades.

Please help me in welcoming Frosty the Penguin!

Frosty was born and raised in Antarctica by a family of scientists.

His grandfather was among the first penguins to witness the melting of glaciers and the family kept records of changes that have occurred throughout the years in Antarctica.

While growing up, his surroundings were changing rapidly due to higher temperatures.

The sled that he used to play at with his penguin friends has turned into water; friends from other species have already left, or even died at sea.

Today Carbon Dioxide levels are rising rapidly from 400mg/L in 2019, to 409mg/L in 2020 to reach 420mg/L in 2021 due to the burning of fossil fuels, industrial processes, and tropical forest destruction.

As a result, Glaciers are rapidly melting and Frosty is facing the danger of migration or even death.

CO2 emission in 1980 started increasing drastically in countries like China going from 1.5 gigatons of CO2 to a record high of 11 gigatons in 2017!

Also, countries like Indonesia have witnessed a consistent increase in emissions while we see that Germany in gypsy blue has seen a drop in their emissions despite being the number 1 producer in Europe; they must be doing something right.

Based on his recent study in 2018, countries like USA, Canada, Russia, Australia and China are among the highest emitting countries of CO2 compared to the European Continent (excluding Russia), the African continent and South America.

For Frosty, this means that the sea ice extent which represents the area of ocean where at least 15 percent of the surface is frozen has been shrinking especially in recent years due to our negligence.

However, it is still not too late to help Frosty have his home back!!

To decrease the level of CO2 emissions, many solutions are available such as:

  • Substituting car trips with bike rides or any form of public transportation.
  • Apply Emission Regulations on automobiles
  • Plant trees
  • Switch to Clean Energy

All of these solutions are easily implemented through deploying bicycles for rent off the streets, Carpooling or using Hybrid/Electric Cars as well as renewable energy.

The cheapest and considered to be one of the most efficient ways of reducing CO2 emission is planting trees to absorb and store the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

We can see these reforms being applied mostly in the European continent, Eastern and Western, which lead to the decrease in the level of CO2 from 1990 till 2018 as per the World Map visualization.

We urge countries to follow the steps of Europe and ameliorate their CO2 emissions by planting trees, adopting renewable energy and encouraging people to use lower emitting means of transportation