Category Archives: Voices

Popular Identity of the Czech Political “People”

September 22, 2023
By 29662

Democracy rests on the idea of popular sovereignty, but how can the collective will of a social construct called “people” be accurately ascertained? Lukáš Lev Červinka (Charles University, 2021) used an SRG award to conduct a survey on Czech popular identity, finding unexpectedly strong identification with state actors and also some disturbing corollaries about ethnocentric nationalism.

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All concepts of modern democracy regard self-governance by the people as a cornerstone of this system of government; without it, there is no democracy. However, even though democracy presupposes the existence of a “people” expressing its collective will, claims to represent such will are usually treated with caution, given that “good” dictators and authoritarian régimes want to assert that their policies reflect the general will (volonté générale) of the people.

People as a collective is an elusive beast whose nature is tricky to identify, but at the same time, it is generally assumed that if there is democracy, then there must be people as a ruling entity—a collective with a will, sense of membership, values, memory, goals, and everything else that is usually associated with a collective or group. However, how can we define “people” without succumbing to oversimplification, generalization, or even mythicization?

Research Focus and Objectives

My first goal in launching the Establishment Research Project,[1] supported by a Syllf fellowship, was to find a theoretical framework that would enable me to treat people as a collective and study its inner processes and values. This led me to the social systems theory of Niklas Luhmann,[2] the social imaginaries of Charles Taylor,[3] and the imagined communities of Benedict Anderson.[4] By adapting those theories, I have conceptualized “people” as an autopoietic organizational system—in other words, a social construct that is determined by its decisions. The people as a democratic sovereign is, therefore, not to be understood as individual citizens or inhabitants but as an imagined community of those who participate in its self-governance by making the decisions through which their identity as a collective is established.

In my Sylff-supported PhD thesis on Anti-Establishment Political Parties: Threat to Democracy or Chance for Its New Equilibrium, written at the Faculty of Law of Charles University in the Czech Republic and at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, Italy, I concluded that the decisions that articulate the popular identity of a people are not only participation in elections, referenda, demonstrations, strikes, and, sometimes, revolutions but also appropriation of cultural products, such as songs and the constitution. Through these decisions, the “people” can manifest themselves as a collective body and create an identity that articulates their social demands and values.

To test the viability of this theory and determine whether it can be used in practice, I have conducted a survey, funded with an SRG award from the Sylff Association, to explore which actors articulate the popular image of the Czech people, what decisions determine their identity, and on which values this identity is built.


When surveying which actors articulate the image of the Czech people, the most positive score (the difference between the percentage answering that an actor articulates values of the Czech people and the percentage saying it does not) was +44.8 received by “scholars and scientists.” This is of little surprise, considering the technocratic nature of Czech society, which places a high value on formal education, academic titles, and expert knowledge. This is supported by the much lower score (+14.1) received by “experts outside of academia.” Quite striking, though, was the high scores received by actors of the state, such as “courts of justice,” “police,” “armed forces,” and the “president of the republic” (see table below).

How Well Do the Following Actors Articulate the Values of the Czech People?



Political parties


Scholars and scientists


Religious organizations


Experts outside academia


Public media


Private media




Trade unions




Courts of justice




Armed forces


President of the republic


Note: Scores are the percentage of respondents identifying an actor as articulating the values of the Czech people minus the percentage saying it does not.


Interestingly, the answers regarding the values represented by such public holidays as New Year’s Day, Czech Statehood Day, and May Day suggest not only a strong nonreligious (or even antireligious) nature of the Czech popular identity but also people’s strong identification with state actors—despite the fact they are often depicted as an enemy of the people in Czech pop culture. This demonstrates that the Czech state is considered a tool of the Czech people in articulating their social demands and defending their interests. 


An image generated by using the prompt, “Czech state-people intertwinning,” by Midjourney (


The close relationship between the Czech state and Czech identity is not in itself bad, but survey results using the modified Bogardus social distance scale[5] showed some disturbing patterns. When asked whether they would allow a Czech citizen of Roma ethnicity to stand for the office of the president of the republic, only 82.1 % of respondents said yes. The results were even more worrying for a Czech citizen of Ukrainian ethnicity (65.5 %) and a Czech citizen who cannot speak Czech (51.1 %).


An image generated by using the prompt, “Ethnic-centred Czech people,” by Midjourney (


Finally, when asked where to put the Czech people regarding their values, most of the respondents chose the Visegrad Group countries (Czechia, Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary), rather than the Euroatlantic space. This, unfortunately, supports the argument that the Czech people still find themselves inside the post-Habsburg space of conservative nationalism and bureaucratic étatism.

The SRG-funded survey revealed not only the usefulness of the theoretical concept of “people” as an organizational system and a living, democratic sovereign but also the disturbing, ethnicity-centred nature of the Czech popular identity and its deep intertwining with the structures of the Czech state.


[1] More about the project at

[2] Niklas Luhmann, Social Systems (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995) .

[3] Charles Taylor, Modern Social Imaginaries, 2nd ed. (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2004).

[4] Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London, New York: Verso, 2006).

[5] The Bogardus scale was adapted to show the social distance of excluded communities within Czech society, that is, those not regarded as part of Czech self-governance.

Has the Hindu Majority Developed a ‘Nazi Conscience’ in India?

August 28, 2023
By 28804

Emboldened by state support, Hindu nationalists have unleashed violent attacks on religious minorities in India, writes Amit Singh (University of Coimbra, 2020-21), leading to the development of a ‘Nazi conscience’ among the country’s Hindu majority.

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Organized and sporadic violence by Hindu extremists against religious-ethnic minorities in India has shocked the world, particularly ethnic violence in Manipur. Under the Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cases of mob-lynching and killings are becoming pattern in a religiously polarized Hindu India, targeted to minorities. The prominence of ethnic revival, large number of Hindu participations in such violence, and lack of their condemnation of these acts, all of these factors give rise to the question as to whether the Hindu majority has developedNazi conscience.’

Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Photograph by the author

The idea of Nazi conscience was originally applied in the context of the genocide of Jews in Nazi Germany, where the Nazis, along with an ordinary Germans, morally justified the murder of Jews. A general apathy to the human rights of minorities, a lack of respect towards the life of ‘others,’ and normalization of violence against them are fundamental parts of the Nazi conscience. 

In the Indian context, Hindutva as a vehicle of Hindu nationalism has ignited a kind of Nazi conscience in ordinary Hindus that makes violence against religious minorities seem normal and justified. This includes witnessing daily violence against Muslim minorities and Dalits and not intervening in such acts.

The Hindutva’s political narrative of past invasions by Muslim rulers and their atrocities against Hindus in the middle ages and the partition of India in 1947 has made the Hindu majority hostile to Muslims. Constitutional privileges such as personal family rights for Muslims and religious grants anger the Hindu majority. They feel victimized and insecure, and Hindutva leaders manipulate these anti-Muslim sentiments for political victory.

Ideologically Justified Violence

The RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), a Hindu militant organization, has shaped Hindu nationalism into a hegemonic ideology and propagates Hindu exclusivity of religion and culture. The Hindutva ideologue MS Golwalkar asserted that the country's minorities should be treated in the same way as the Nazis treated the Jews. With its political front BJP currently in power, the RSS has succeeded in influencing the collective Hindu psyche to take vengeance against Muslims.

These calculated attempts by the RSS have been instrumental in creating a militant identity and Nazi conscience amongst the Hindu majority against perceived foreign “invaders,” such as Muslims and Christians. With each passing ethno-religious riot, the Hindu collective self is gradually being desensitized and freed from collective guilt in the observation or killing of human life. For a person with a Nazi conscience, violence is now perceived to be morally righteous.

Violence has become essential for Hindutva politics, and in this way it could be said that the Hindu majority has developed a ‘Nazi conscience.’ The Hindus have lost historical sensitivity towards religious minorities with whom they have lived for hundreds of years. The use of ‘Hindu nationalism’ in post-colonial India has actually benefited the BJP in elections. However, at the same time, Hindu nationalism has done great harm to communal harmony of Indian society. Hindus have been turned against Muslims—although, in some exceptional cases, Hindus did save the lives of Muslims.

Modi’s Hindutva state has played a key role in this process. The state has granted impunity to those involved in the lynching of Muslims and has rewarded those responsible for inciting riots. And the State has constantly harassed those who have come out in protest against Hindu intolerance and Islamophobia.

In large-scale riots, such as the Gujrat riots in 2002 and ethnic violence in Manipur, the perpetrators were Hindu extremists and victims were primarily religious ethnic minorities. Big riots, moreover, usually happen with the complicity of the state machinery and the Hindu majority. So, the majority is not just a passive onlooker but a participant in the ritual of violence.

Rewarding the Islamophobic Leader    

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is notorious for his complicity in the anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujrat in 2002. He has built his political career on the basis of communal violence and fear. And the Hindu majority reelected him in 2019. The Hindu majority bears deep resentment against Muslims. In fact, one study reveals that the BJP gains in the polls after every anti-Muslim riot.

Under the RSS-backed Modi’s regime since 2014, anti-Muslim narratives have been strategically propagated by the government. The mainstream media has consistently cultivated a deep animosity against religious minorities. This process of vilification has normalized violence against them. The ascendency of Hindu nationalism has given Hindus ‘the power to claim, and receive, impunity for violence from elected governments.’

Muslims and Dalits have been lynched by mobs of Hindutva fanatics; violence against them is normalized and seems to be supported by the Modi government. Vijay Narayan, a political activist in Varanasi, argues that the Hindu majority is influenced by the fascist ideology of Hindu nationalism.

Failed Secularism

After the bloody partition in 1947, secularism was introduced as an alternative to Hindu nationalism to protect Indian society from communal frenzy and religious fanaticism. Indian secularism, unique in its kind, is associated with religious tolerance. Yet, ironically, the Hindu majority has never abandoned the idea that India is a Hindu nation. It has rejected traditional Hindu tolerance, an idea that enabled communal harmony among India’s diverse population.

Indian secularism has failed to prevent the rise of Hindutva and the communalization of the Hindu masses. As long as the public institutions and the mainstream media are under the influence of the Hindu nationalist government, the process of Nazification of the Hindu majority cannot be checked. Alarm about the possibility of an impending Muslim genocide is already being sounded. To achieve communal harmony, the state must rid itself of Hindutva and follow constitutional secularism. This seems almost impossible under the present Hindu nationalist government.

If the influence of Hindutva on the Hindu majority and the Hindu religion increases, the general state of human rights, especially freedom of expression and rights of religious-ethnic minorities, and secularism is likely to deteriorate. However, we must remember that religious tolerance and resistance is a part of the India’s ancient secular traditions that challenged Hindu fundamentalism thorough the various periods of Indian history. In the longer run, there is a possibility of resistance to Hindu religious bigotry that could weaken the influence of Hindutva on Indian society. It can bring secular democratic change stalling the process of the Nazification of the Hindu majority and preventing them from becoming a Nazified Hindu.

This article was originally published in The Loop and is reprinted here following slight modification by the author. The views presented here are of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Sylff Association.

Performance of ESG Investment Strategies: Evidence from the 2015–2020 Bull Market and the Impact of COVID-19

June 2, 2023
By 30810

Máté Fain is a 2022 Sylff Fellow (Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungarian Academy of Sciences Group). For this dissertation, he explored whether environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment strategies are compatible with boosting the corporate “bottom line.” He concludes that good ESG may not always generate superior returns under adverse market conditions such as a pandemic. However, combined with traditional styles, it might yield positive outcomes.

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What do oil, soybean, gold, and water have in common? The answer, at first, may be surprising: in late 2020, water joined these well-known commodities on Wall Street: Californian farmers, hedge funds, and municipalities can now purchase water futures to hedge related risks. Besides water, weather derivatives are another type of commodity responds to environmental challenges but has a more mature market: the Chicago Mercantile Exchange introduced the first exchange-traded weather futures contracts and corresponding options in 1999, mostly tracking cooling or heating days. Some studies have gone even further and explored designing and pricing air-pollution derivatives.

More importantly, these market developments and scientific initiatives on risk management draw attention to sustainability. Sustainability challenges are getting more severe as life-sustaining natural resources become scarce worldwide.

Fostering environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainability is an urgent challenge to society. The Paris Agreement signed in 2016 to mitigate climate change or the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established in 2015 with a broader scope on environmental and social concerns underscores the inevitability of addressing sustainability.

Stakeholder theory argues that dealing with stakeholder claims – from customers, employees, local communities, shareholders, and even the natural environment – is imperative for companies to fulfill their mission. Meanwhile, advocates of the trade-off hypothesis contend that resource reallocation to sustainability activities does not pay off; instead, such activities raise operating costs due to the internalization of externalities. Consequently, I examined if, it is possible to reconcile sustainability with companies’ financial objectives.

The Research Question: Does "Doing Well While Doing Good" Prevail?

Alignment with sustainability goals might be assessed from as many angles as stakeholders exist. I focused on shareholder wealth and examined sustainability from an asset-owner perspective: is it possible to boost the bottom line by implementing sustainable corporate practices? Does the “doing well while doing good” concept prevail? If so, investors, as influential stakeholders, may drive sustainable economic growth.

Studying the impact of sustainability on shareholder value-added may manifest in several forms. Firstly, the analysis might cover accounting profitability, respond to how equity markets price sustainability, and identify the potential risk-adjusted excess returns for investors. My research intended to explore the last case.

In the investment literature, environmental, social and governance (ESG) is a broad umbrella term for firms’ sustainability . A wide range of ESG-conscious investment strategies exists, from exclusionary screening to direct shareholder engagement. My research concentrated on the ESG integration approach (applying ESG scores ranging from 0 to 100 of corporations to compile stock portfolios) and ESG-themed investing (equity portfolios that use megatrends such as energy efficiency, aging population, water scarcity, and cybersecurity). ESG integration is exceptionally popular, with US$25,000 billion in total assets under management, while thematic investing is the most significantly rising strategy, with a 2,250 per cent increase in 8 years.

Figure 1. Global growth of sustainable investing strategies
Note: AUM stands for “assets under management.” Source: GSIA (2020, p. 11)

For the ESG integration strategy, I applied separate environmental, social and governance ratings, and every stock belonged to one of the following portfolios: leaders, followers, loungers, laggards, and not rated. Thematic portfolios covered nine UN SDG-related challenges, such as water scarcity, aging population, and cybersecurity concerns. Each thematic portfolio fitted environmental, social and governance megatrends and encompassed firms with business models addressing critical sustainability challenges.

In compiling the ESG portfolio, more than 100 different investment styles, industries, and country exposures were controlled for to filter out secondary factor effects. Altogether the database included more than 15 million data points. The methodology followed a factor portfolio construction procedure: stock weights and returns were derived from extended Fama-MacBeth cross-sectional regressions (Fama, 1976; Fama and MacBeth, 1973). The time-series analysis of ESG factor portfolio returns applied the Fama and French (2018) right-hand-side approach.


This research contributes to the existing investment literature on sustainability in several ways. Firstly, it complements the active debate about the role of ESG in general, which is far from settled (i.e., it is still an open question if it is possible to achieve significant extra returns with ESG, or, on the contrary, these investments are underperformers causing loss to investors). Secondly, to the best of my knowledge, no one has yet applied a stakeholder-based conceptual model that differentiates “organizational” and “global” sustainability. Originally Garvare and Johansson (2010) drew the distinction between organizational and global sustainability. ESG integration is consistent with organizational sustainability, while ESG-themed investing corresponds more to global sustainability.

The dissertation emphasizes the megatrend concept and integrates signaling theory into the stock selection processes. It also introduces a new mathematical formula for measuring megatrend exposures. Using the right-hand-side approach in the ESG framework is a novelty as well. Further, ESG-themed investing is a relatively new strategy, having shorter history than other strategies, such as negative screening, which was the pioneer sustainability investing strategy; hence, it is under-researched in the literature. Finally, the database used is unique and comprehensive, making the data suitable for measuring the pure performance of ESG factors.

Empirical Results in a Nutshell

The analyses revealed some remarkable findings. Investors allocating resources to ESG leaders and thematic portfolios achieved returns in the longer term commensurate with risk. Further, in the ESG integration strategy, a nonlinear relation prevailed, which contradicts the literature’s most common findings that there is either a positive, negative or neutral relationship between financial and ESG performance (non-linearity means that financial performance does not increase proportionally with ESG performance, as there is a “peak” after which increasing ESG performance does not come with significantly higher financial performance; sometimes financial performance even decreases, suggesting an inverted-U graphical representation of the ESG-financial performance relation), supporting diminishing marginal returns to ESG (law of diminishing returns: a firm will get less and less extra output – here, financial returns – when it adds additional units of an input – here, better ESG compliance). Next, during the exogenous shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, the figures did not corroborate the literature’s “flight to quality” concept (i.e., investors begin to shift their assets away from riskier investments into safer ones). Finally, no sufficient evidence was found for ESG factors to complement Fama and French models (Fama-French models detect factors such as firm size and investment policy that could explain stock returns; if a new factor is found, it could be added to the previous ones).

In summary, in most cases, investors could realize at least fair returns with sustainable investing. This finding is consistent with the efficient-market hypothesis, i.e., share prices reflect all public information, stocks trade at their fair market value. In other words, although there is only a slight chance for investors to gain superior risk-adjusted returns, they could contribute to the higher goals of sustainability without sacrificing returns.


The empirical results imply that most ESG portfolios yielded non-negative excess returns, even after accounting for transaction costs up to 25-50 basis points per annum. Higher transaction costs, as is the case for some exchange traded funds (frequently abbreviated ETFs) with expense ratios reaching 80-100 basis points per annum, may indicate two things: ESG-themed megatrend investors are willing to sacrifice approximately 25-50 basis points of annual return to remain aligned with sustainability targets, or the expense ratio may well decline in the future (nowadays, the average expense ratio is around 0.60 per cent).

Portfolio managers who integrate sustainability in their investment portfolios undertake a dual optimization process that combines ESG strategies with fundamental valuation. The proposed ESG pure factor portfolios might be utilized as smart beta indices to measure investment portfolios’ ESG factor exposure. This method is superior to calculating the overall ESG rating of investment portfolios currently commonly used by asset managers, as it separates the performance contribution of ESG from the secondary factors such as geographical, industry, or style effects.

ESG portfolios allow asset owners and managers to align their investment policies with the requirements and targets of international standards and regulations. According to a representative of the central bank of Hungary, whom I interviewed, both strategies are consistent with the EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation requirements. Thematic investing might be aligned with the Taxonomy Regulation and can be flexibly adapted to the SDGs and the climate goals of the Paris Agreement.

These results do not provide sufficient evidence for “flight to quality” during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic regarding ESG leaders, which contradicts Albuquerque et al. (2020), Broadstock et al. (2021), and Ding et al. (2021). One possible explanation might be that secondary factor effects substantially influence good ESG portfolios. Once these secondary effects are considered and filtered out, the otherwise observable outperformance disappears.

In summary, good ESG is not necessarily a panacea to generate superior returns during adverse market conditions such as a pandemic. However, combined with traditional styles or sectors, it might yield positive outcomes.


Albuquerque, R., Koskinen, Y., Yang, S., & Zhang, C. (2020). Resiliency of environmental and social stocks: An analysis of the exogenous COVID-19 market crash. The Review of Corporate Finance Studies, 9(3), 593-621.  

Broadstock, David C., Kalok Chan, Louis T. W. Cheng, and Xiaowei Wang. “The Role of ESG Performance During Times of Financial Crisis: Evidence from COVID-19 in China.” Finance Research Letters 38 (2021): 101716.

Ding, Wenzhi, Ross Levine, Chen Lin, and Wensi Xie. “Corporate Immunity to the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Journal of Financial Economics 141, no. 2 (2021).

Dodd, E. Merrick, Jr. “For Whom Are Corporate Managers Trustees?” Harvard Law Review 45, no. 7 (1932): 1145–63.

Fama, Eugene F. Foundations of Finance: Portfolio Decisions and Securities Prices. New York: Basic Books, 1976.

Fama, Eugene F., and Kenneth R. French. “Choosing Factors.” Journal of Financial Economics 128 (2018): 234–52.

Fama, Eugene F., and James D. MacBeth. “Risk, Return, and Equilibrium: Empirical Tests.” Journal of Political Economy 81 (1973): 607–36.

Garvare, Rickard, and Peter Johansson. “Management for Sustainability – A Stakeholder Theory.” Total Quality Management & Business Excellence 21 (2010): 737–44.

Global Sustainable Investment Alliance. Global Sustainable Investment Review 2020. GSIA, 2020.


Combatting Sexual Violence in the Metaverse: A Comparative Legal Analysis

May 25, 2023
By 30587

Disturbing reports of sexual assault and harassment in the metaverse have raised questions about how users and society—particularly minors—can be better protected from exploitation and how offenders can be punished. To shed light on this issue, criminal law expert Sou Hee Yang (Waseda University, 2021) used an SRG grant to analyze how various jurisdictions are addressing the problem of sexual violence in the metaverse within the framework of their legal systems.

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The metaverse is “a virtual space that other users can create, explore, and meet without having to be in the same space in real life” (Setiawan et al. 2022). It provides a platform where individuals can adopt diverse personas through their avatars to interact with people from around the globe.

An image generated by using the prompt, "metaverse avatars hanging out together," by Sifted via Starryai (

I had no particular interest in the metaverse, which seemed like a digital realm frequented only by tech enthusiasts, until I came across an online news article recounting a researcher’s claim that her avatar had been sexually assaulted in a metaverse (Soon 2022). I was both intrigued and puzzled by this claim. How is it possible to be sexually assaulted in a virtual world?

So I did some research and discovered that sexual violence does take place on virtual platforms in various ways; examples include groping another person’s avatar, sending unwanted, explicit messages, and approaching minors with the purpose of sexual exploitation (Frenkel and Browning 2021). The range and seriousness of such acts vary, with certain types, such as grooming minors, warranting strict countermeasures (Hinduja 2023).

There are many challenges to punishing acts of virtual sexual violence, however. First, it can be difficult to identify and prosecute the perpetrators, given the borderless nature of the metaverse. Second, sexual violence in the metaverse usually does not involve physical contact and is thus not subject to the same kind and degree of criminal punishment as real-world transgressions. It is important to recognize, though, that cyber violence can cause great psychological harm, leading to depression, anxiety, stress, and post-traumatic stress disorders (Cripps and Stermac 2018).

Being a legal researcher specializing in sex crimes, I was intrigued by these findings and wanted to explore how various countries—namely, the United Kingdom, the United States, and South Korea—are addressing this problem within the framework of their legal systems and whether they had provisions to punish sexual violence in the metaverse. More specifically, I reviewed and compared the laws related to the three most frequent forms of violence: virtual groping, sending unsolicited sexual messages, and making sexual advances toward children. My findings, based on the study, are as follows.[*]

First, users with female avatars often experience virtual groping: that is, the sexual parts of their avatars are touched without consent by another user’s avatar. Punishing such acts can be challenging, though, since sex offenses under criminal law are premised on physical contact (Cho 2022). Virtual reality headsets and haptic gloves already give users a degree of sensory feedback from events in the metaverse (Kim et al. 2022). If technology is further developed to enhance such sensations to a level closely approximating real life, virtual groping may arguably constitute “touching” for the purpose of criminal punishment.

There are two shortcomings to this argument, however, namely, that virtual sensations are still not the same as physical contact and that users can immediately stop unwanted sensations by simply removing their gear. Concerning the latter, though, it is possible for users to experience “tonic immobility”—a state of involuntary paralysis during sexual assault thought to be a natural survival reaction (Kalaf et al. 2017). Further research will be required to elucidate whether victims of cybersex crimes can also experience tonic immobility and, even if so, whether virtual groping would be subject to criminal punishment under British, US, and South Korean law.

A man with a virtual reality headset and controllers by SHVETS Production via Pexels (

Second, a user can be punished for harassing another user in the metaverse by sending sexual messages. In South Korea, if it can be shown that the user made comments to “arouse or satisfy his/her own or the other person’s sexual urges” and may cause “a sense of sexual shame or aversion,” the user can be punished under Article 13 (Obscene Acts by Using Means of Communications) of the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment of Sexual Crimes. In the United Kingdom, acts of harassing someone by sending sexual messages in the metaverse can be punished under Section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act, but only if it can be proven that the user sent “indecent or grossly offensive” messages with the purpose of causing “distress or anxiety” to the user on the receiving end.

In the United States, where freedom of speech is more strongly protected, the threshold for penalization is higher. For example, threatening sexual messages intended to place another user “in reasonable fear for his or her safety” is punishable under Section 653.2 of California’s Penal Code. However, to apply Section 653.2, it also needs to be proven that the user sent the threatening messages with the purpose of “imminently causing that other person unwanted physical contact, injury, or harassment.” This purpose is difficult to prove for most interactions in the metaverse, as they are generally anonymous. The laws demonstrate that making extremely offensive sexual comments in the metaverse may result in criminal sanctions, but the laws vary in their nature, requirements, and purpose.

Lastly, making sexual advances toward children in the metaverse is punishable in the United Kingdom, the United States, and South Korea. For example, a British user can be punished under Section 15A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for sending a sexual message to a user under 16 with the purpose of “obtaining sexual gratification.” Moreover, the Online Safety Bill, currently in the committee stage in the House of Lords, if passed, will provide more robust protection against child users in the metaverse (UK Parliament 2022).

Among many forms of making sexual advances to children in the metaverse, asking children to send sexual pictures of themselves is considered a serious offense. For example, in South Korea, a man was arrested on charges of sexually grooming minors when he asked child users to send sexual pictures of themselves upon befriending them through his “charming” avatar and gaining their trust by giving presents to their avatars (Kim 2022). As in this example, the acts of approaching children, building trust, and inducing reliance with the purpose of making sexual advances at them are called “grooming” (Lorenzo-Dus and Izura 2017). Online grooming is a serious problem, particularly in the metaverse, because adult users can use their avatars to make child users believe that they are speaking with a friend their own age and thereby lower their guard. While the laws of the United States vary by state, some form of online grooming is punishable in most states. For example, knowingly seducing or enticing a minor to engage in unlawful sexual conduct can be punished under Florida Statute § 847.0135(3). Approaching children online with intent to meet them or to engage in sexual conduct is considered a more serious crime because such acts put children at real risk of sexual exploitation.

The results of this study indicate three key legal considerations. First, before considering penalization of acts of sexual violence in the metaverse, it is necessary to categorize different forms of sexual violence based on their nature and the severity of harm, both to victims and society. Secondly, it is desirable to enact laws that can at least punish some acts of sexual violence in the metaverse that causes serious harm to the victims, such as grooming of minors. Finally, there should be continued social debate on what kind of sexual conduct warrants punishment under criminal law. For example, in Japan, where I reside, there is an ongoing movement to amend sex crime laws, including the enactment of laws that punish acts of grooming and sharing of sexual images of a victim without consent. One amendment proposal was written with the participation of various stakeholders, including leaders of victim support groups, psychologists, and legal experts (Legislative Council, n.d.). Such active discussion involving various stakeholders is desirable as a means of reaching a social consensus on what the types of metaverse-based sexual violence that should be punished.

This study demonstrates how criminal laws of various countries address sexual violence in the metaverse. In addition to legislative efforts, tech companies are introducing policies to strengthen the safety of their virtual spaces. These are important measures in preventing and managing sexual violence in the metaverse. However, it should be remembered that sexual violence will inevitably manifest in virtual worlds as long as it persists in the real world. Only by addressing the problems of sexual violence in reality can they be resolved in the metaverse.



Cho, S. 2022. “Sexual Assault in Immersive Virtual Reality: Criminal Law Must Keep Up with Technology.” Harvard Undergraduate Law Review, September 6, 2022.

Cripps, J., and L. Stermac. 2018. “Cyber-Sexual Violence and Negative Emotional States among Women in a Canadian University.” International Journal of Cyber Criminology, 12(1): 171.

Crown Prosecution Service. 2023. Social Media and other Electronic Communications, March 17, 2023.

Frenkel, S., and K. Browning. 2021. “The Metaverse’s Dark Side: Here Come Harassment and Assaults.” New York Times, December 30.

Hinduja, S. 2023. Child grooming and the metaverse: Issues and solutions. Cyberbullying Research Center, March 21, 2023. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from

Kalaf, J., E. S. F. Coutinho, L. M. P. Vilete, M. P. Luz, W. Berger, M. V. Mendlowicz, E. Volchan, S. B. Andreoli, M. I. Quintana, J. De Jesus Mari, and I. Figueira. 2017. “Sexual trauma is more strongly associated with tonic immobility than other types of trauma: A population based study.” Journal of Affective Disorders, 215: 71–76.

Kim, D. 2022. 메타버스서 미성년자 11명 성착취물 만든 30대 남성 구속. The JoongAng, April 14, 2022.

Kim, J., Y. Kim, and H. D. Cha. 2022. Study on the sexual crime and criminal regulation in metaverse: Focusing on the direction of revision of the act on promotion of information and communication network utilization and information protection, etc. Contemporary Review of Criminal Law, no.75, 1–33.

Legislative Council, Subcommittee on Criminal Law (Sexual Offenses). n.d. Ministry of Justice of Japan. Retrieved April 7, 2023, from

Lorenzo-Dus, N., and C. Izura. 2017. “Cause ur special”: Understanding trust and complimenting behaviour in online grooming discourse. Journal of Pragmatics, 112, 68–82.

Setiawan, K. D., A. Anthony, N. Meyliana, and N. Surjandy. 2022. “The Essential Factor of Metaverse for Business Based on 7 Layers of Metaverse – Systematic Literature Review.” 2022 International Conference on Information Management and Technology (ICIMTech).

Soon, W. 2022. A researcher’s avatar was sexually assaulted on a metaverse platform owned by Meta, making her the latest victim of sexual abuse on Meta’s platforms, watchdog says. Business Insider, June 1, 2022.

UK Parliament (Second Reading, Online Safety Bill). 2022. April 19, 2022. Retrieved April 24, 2023, from


[*] This study was made possible by an SRG grant in 2022, which allowed me to access the court cases of different countries and to review academic and legal reports and articles related to sexual violence in the metaverse. I was also able to hire two competent research assistants to assist me with legal research in various languages.


Powering Up: How Electric Buses are Paving the Way for a Greener Tomorrow

April 17, 2023
By 27797

Bus fleets are increasingly transitioning from diesel to electric. Jônatas Augusto Manzolli, a 2019 Sylff fellow who conducts research on “Adaptive Energy Management Strategies for Electric Bus Fleets” with a Sylff Research Grant (SRG), discusses the challenges of electric bus fleets and ways to mitigate them, as well as their possibilities for a more sustainable future.

*  *  *

“The answer to these problems is not less transport—it is sustainable transport. We need more systems that are environmentally friendly, affordable, and accessible.” —Ban Ki-Moon, former UN secretary-general, when asked about transportation solutions for the future

The era of diesel-spewing buses congesting our streets is a thing of the past. The future of public transportation lies in electric buses, which are no longer just a pipe dream. Reports indicate that by 2040, most buses on the road could be electric.[1] But transitioning to more sustainable and efficient buses is not an overnight process. It poses significant challenges that must be overcome to achieve a sustainable future.

A sizable electric bus fleet in Bogotá, Colombia. (Photo: BYD Colombia)

As a researcher, I focus on enhancing the implementation of electric buses in our communities to create healthier urban environments for everyone. In this article, I will address the four major obstacles in the electrification process of bus transit and share the strategies I am implementing to mitigate them.

Grid Resilience

To truly grasp the magnitude of integrating large fleets of buses into the grid, we can examine the city of Shenzhen in China as an example. Shenzhen phased out all of its diesel-bus fleets and replaced them with electric ones, which has resulted in a massive demand for charging energy.[2] The new fleet requires 2,000 megawatt hours, equivalent to the energy needed to power 1.2 million homes for one hour. This staggering figure underscores the urgent need for improved planning and operation of electric bus fleets to prevent grid disruptions. Upgrading the grid or adopting smart charging techniques are viable solutions, but decision-makers must explore all alternatives to establish dependable and secure electric bus networks.

An electric bus fleet in Shenzhen, China. (Photo: Green Energy Futures, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, via Flickr)

 Electricity Market

The transition from diesel to electric bus fleets for public transportation operators presents challenges and opportunities, particularly regarding the electricity market. By synchronizing charging times with bus operation schedules, smart charging techniques can potentially exploit better electricity prices during the day, reducing operational costs and improving efficiency. Furthermore, electric bus fleets can act as virtual power plants and provide ancillary services to the grid. A prime example is the BUS2GRID project launched in London, where 28 state-of-the-art double-decker buses are equipped with technology to generate over 1 megawatt of power for the grid.[3] But for buses to become reliable grid auxiliaries in the future, their operation must meet the energy requirements of the grid.

A BUS2GRID trial site in London, UK. (Photo: SSE Energy Solutions)

Operation under Uncertainty

Waiting for a delayed bus can be frustrating. This unfortunate situation happens due to the stochastic nature of bus fleet operations—different driving conditions, uncertain traffic, and unpredictable weather. While this can pose challenges for diesel fleets, it becomes even more complex when dealing with electric bus fleets. The stochastic behavior of electric buses can lead to unpredictable charging patterns and unexpected disruptions in operation, causing grid issues and buses running out of energy mid-route. To tackle these issues, it is essential to develop robust operation and planning systems using advanced planning tools, control algorithms, and real-time data analysis. Accurately forecasting energy needs, reducing operational costs, and ensuring a reliable and efficient electric bus service can be achieved by implementing these systems while minimizing the risk of unforeseen disruptions.

A bus stop in Curitiba, Brazil. (Photo by Sasha Aickin)

Battery Degradation

Battery degradation is a significant challenge when implementing electric bus fleets, with electric buses having a lifespan of only 10 to 12 years due to battery aging.[4] Charging strategies must consider such factors as charging speed, frequency, and temperature to minimize battery aging, while public transportation operators must assess the impact of ancillary services on battery degradation. Developing strategies to mitigate battery degradation is crucial for decision-makers to ensure the reliability and longevity of their electric bus fleets.


At INESC Coimbra of the University of Coimbra (Portugal), we are currently developing an intelligent charging model for electric bus fleets that aims to reduce operational costs by 30–40% while simultaneously increasing the battery life cycle of the buses.[5] Our model considers vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology for energy trading and battery degradation, allowing for a comprehensive analysis of the batteries’ lifespan and ensuring an extended battery life cycle. By optimizing the charging process, we can significantly reduce operational costs.

The electric bus fleet used as our case study in Coimbra, Portugal. (Photo by Paulo Amaral)

Through sensitivity analysis tests, we have discovered that energy trading is not currently advantageous but could become economically profitable soon. To improve battery lifespan and the operation time of bus fleets in cities, we conducted laboratory tests at the e-TESC Laboratory, University of Sherbrooke (Canada), to study the battery degradation behavior of buses under shallow temperatures. We have published a paper detailing our preliminary results in this regard.[6]


Battery laboratory tests in Sherbrooke, Canada.

Our ultimate goal is to provide a tool to assist public transportation operators in making informed decisions regarding the electrification of their bus systems. Through our research, we hope to drive the transition toward a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future.

Final Remarks

In summary, adopting electric buses in our communities is a significant milestone in our journey toward sustainability. However, we must acknowledge that this transition is not without its hurdles, and we must overcome them by employing cutting-edge technologies and inventive strategies. By using smart charging techniques, for instance, we can optimize the operational efficiency of electric bus fleets and reduce operating costs while ensuring that charging patterns are predictable and stable, thereby minimizing disruptions to the grid. We can also leverage V2G technology to trade energy with the grid and extend the battery life cycle of buses. Furthermore, we must invest in research and development efforts, such as those that we are undertaking at INESC Coimbra and the e-TESC Laboratory, to improve battery degradation behavior under extreme conditions and ensure that electric buses have a long and sustainable lifespan. Ultimately, our goal should be to provide public transportation operators with decision-making tools and resources to electrify their bus systems successfully and move toward a greener and more eco-friendly future.

[1] E. Mulholland and F. Rodríguez, “The Rapid Deployment of Zero-Emission Buses in Europe,” The International Council on Clean Transportation, September 19, 2022,

[2] B. Crothers, “This Chinese City Has 16,000 Electric Buses and 22,000 Electric Taxis. ” Forbes, February 14, 2021,

[3] SSE Energy Solutions, “BUS2GRID Project: Smart Electrification for Electric Bus Fleets,”

[4] T. McGrath, L. Blades, J. Early, and A. Harris, “UK Battery Electric Bus Operation: Examining Battery Degradation, Carbon Emissions and Cost,” Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment 109 (August 2022),

[5] J. A. Manzolli, J. P. F. Trovão, and C. Henggeler Antunes, “Electric Bus Coordinated Charging Strategy Considering V2G and Battery Degradation,” Energy 254, Part A (September 2022),

[6] Manzolli, Trovão, and Henggeler Antunes, “Optimisation of an Electric Bus Charging Strategy Considering a Semi-Empirical Battery Degradation Model and Weather Conditions,” 2022 11th International Conference on Control, Automation and Information Sciences (ICCAIS), Hanoi, Vietnam (2022): 298–303,

Breathing Practices and Mental Health

March 23, 2023
By 29992

A 2021 Sylff fellow, Guy Fincham is a researcher and teacher of breathwork. While interest in breathing techniques has surged, Fincham cautions that there may be a mismatch between hype and evidence. He thus conducted a meta-analysis examining the effect of breathwork on stress, anxiety, and depression and hopes that the preliminary evidence paves the way for further research. Fincham also discusses the “Train over Plane” travel fund that he used to attend a conference in the Netherlands.

* * *

Recent Publication

I am very pleased to share that the first paper from my PhD work (wholly funded by Sylff) has been published in the Nature Portfolio journal Scientific Reports. The paper is titled “Effect of Breathwork on Stress and Mental Health: A Meta-Analysis of Randomised-Controlled Trials (

Our publication in Nature’s Sci Rep.

Our meta-analysis on breathwork and mental health has received huge public interest so far, with nearly one million views of my tweet sharing it! According to Almetric, a platform that measures the attention that research outputs receive, our paper has done particularly well among the over 23 million research outputs across all sources that it has tracked to date, placing in the 99th percentile. In other words, it is in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric. Dr. Andrew D. Huberman, professor of neurobiology at Stanford School of Medicine and an inspiration of mine, even congratulated us on our work, though I had to reply saying that I am not a doctor just yet (currently being in my second year)!

Exposure of our publication on social media.(1)

Exposure of our publication on social media.(2)

Breathwork has received an unprecedented surge in public interest, and breathing practices may improve mental health. Breathwork techniques have emerged worldwide with complex historical roots from various traditions including, but certainly not limited to, Hinduism (Yoga and pranayama—where prana means “vital energy” or “life force” and ayama means “regulation” or “control”), Buddhism, Sufism, Shamanism, and psychedelic communities, along with scientific and medical researchers and practitioners.

More accessible approaches are needed to reduce or build resilience to stress worldwide, made even more evident by the COVID-19 pandemic. But while breathwork has become increasingly popular in the West owing to its therapeutic potential, there also remains the possibility of a mismatch between hype and evidence.

Accordingly, we examined whether breathwork interventions were associated with lower levels of self‐reported or subjective stress (classed as our primary outcome) and anxiety and depression (classed as secondary outcomes) compared to non-breathwork control groups. We searched seven databases, including two trial registers. The primary outcome of subjective stress included 12 randomized‐controlled trials (RCTs). Most studies were deemed to be at moderate risk of bias. The secondary outcomes of subjective anxiety and depressive symptoms comprised 20 and 18 RCTs, respectively.

The meta-analyses yielded significant small to medium mean effect sizes, showing that breathwork was associated with lower levels of subjective stress, anxiety, and depression than non-breathwork control groups. Our results thus showed that breathwork may have efficacy for improving stress and mental health. We urge caution, however, and advocate for nuanced research approaches with low risk‐of‐bias study designs to avoid a miscalibration between hype and evidence.

A key limitation of our meta-analysis was that, given the small sample size—likely due to the relative recency of the phenomenon of breathwork in the West—paired with a moderate risk of bias across included RCTs, the results should be interpreted very cautiously and not be extrapolated. Breathwork may help some but not others.

Nonetheless, breathwork could at least be part of the solution to meeting the need for more accessible therapeutic behavioral approaches to improving mental health. But again, more robust, well-designed studies are now needed to ensure that such recommendations are grounded in research evidence.

Public interest in and research on meditation has surged over recent decades. We may be at a similar cusp with breathwork and anticipate considerable growth in the field. Given the close ties of breathwork to psychedelic research, this could further accelerate growth. The scientific research community can build on the preliminary evidence provided here and thus potentially pave the way for effective integration of breathwork into public health.

The vast majority of my time spent as a first-year PhD candidate was devoted to this research project. I would like to thank my colleagues and collaborators at the University of Sussex and University of Oxford, along with the editor and reviewers at Scientific Reports for improving our work. Lastly, this research would not have been possible if it was not for the Sylff Association. I hope that this is only the beginning.

I am launching some of my own empirical breathwork studies soon with the Psychology and Medical Schools here at Sussex and with the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). I am also writing a physiologically oriented review with the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and I am a co-investigator on The Breathwork Survey, launched by the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London.


Train over Plane, Psychedelic Breathwork, and ICPR 2022

In late 2022 I traveled to Amsterdam and Haarlem in the Netherlands for ICPR 2022 (Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research), primarily for a workshop the day before on breathwork, my research focus (Breathwork as Psychedelic Therapy).

As part of its green commitment, the University of Sussex School of Psychology has launched a new “Train over Plane” travel fund, which supports travel to conferences by train instead of plane. As a doctoral researcher I was fortunately one of the first to try it out, so I share my thoughts below on my experience with the trip I made to the Netherlands.

had a profound experience that I could never have imagined or expected from breathwork (and so much more). I have undergone a personal paradigm shift and have gained an newfound respect for the therapeutic potential of breathwork as and for psychedelic therapy. The experience was invaluable and has made me view psychedelic breathwork under a new lens, which will benefit my future research and work.

Moreover, I connected with researchers and clinicians, some of whom were very interested in The Breathwork Survey that I am working on with the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London. I had a lot of fun and had some lovely down regulation time the day after it had all finished.

Brussels after riding the Eurostar for my first time.


I wanted to use the Train over Plane fund because train is my favorite form of transport by far and is fortunately more eco-friendly than flying, saving up to 90% in carbon emissions. I had never been on Eurostar before so was glad to find out that it travels to Amsterdam. For the first journey I changed trains at Brussels, and the return leg was direct. Another great thing is that trains between Brighton and London St. Pancras International are direct.

Although the journeys took around two working days (one there and one back), I particularly enjoyed the comfort of traveling by train compared with flying, feeling much less restricted and freer. I also made friends with a lecturer at Kings College London on their way to a conference in Utrecht. I would encourage everyone at the Sussex School of Psychology to use the Train over Plane fund if traveling within the UK or mainland Europe.

I am now looking forward to ICPR 2024 . Hopefully there will be some research being presented on breathwork next time (my meta-analysis)! I would like to thank the Open Foundation and Open Up for organizing the ICPR conference and (breath)workshop, respectively; Sylff once again for funding me and making all this possible; my supervisors Kate Cavanagh and Clara Strauss for giving me their advice; Charlotte Rae and Harry Lewis for setting up the Train over Plane fund; and Mitzi Tahsin and Fran Barnard for assisting me when booking through the Key Travel platform.

Yes, that is me in the photos here (including my brain while doing breathwork in the MRI scanner at Sussex)!

Most importantly, thank YOU for reading (and breathing)!


Early Compensatory Basic Concepts Intervention Needed for All Grade R Learners

January 27, 2023
By 25517

Louis Benjamin (University of the Western Cape, 2001) received a Sylff Project Grant (SPG) to disseminate the Basic Concepts Program in Northern Cape Province, one of the poorest regions of South Africa. The program he developed is designed as a cognitive intervention for preschool children to enhance their preparedness for early school education and beyond. Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, the SPG program, implemented from 2019 to 2022, has succeeded in promoting learning and thinking in young children. The following article is reprinted from the website of Basic Concept Unlimited, an NGO led by Benjamin to promote the Basic Concepts Program in South Africa.   

* * *

The Basic Concepts Programme (BCP) is considered the first compensatory cognitive intervention programme for young learners (5-9yr olds) that has been implemented extensively in South Africa. The BCP is currently being scaled throughout the Northern Cape and has been implemented extensively in the Western Cape as well. It is our contention that a compensatory cognitive intervention programme like the BCP needs to be implemented on a national scale in South Africa.

But why should there be a need for such an intervention programme in the first place? Should we not rely on the national curriculum (CAPS) or other validated and established general education programmes to address the educational needs of young learners?

We incorrectly assume that merely attending a pre-school or school would adequately address the educational needs of most children. However, through our research at the Basic Concepts Foundation over the past 18 years, we have consistently found that 70% of school starters are not school prepared. In addition, researchers have found that 78% of Grade 4 children in South Africa were not able to read for meaning. Why is school attendance not a good predictor of learning? It might be a good start but it certainly is no guarantee that children will learn. What then would guarantee that all children learn?  

We incorrectly assume that children would automatically ‘hook into’ the curriculum as if the curriculum would mould itself towards the needs of every child. The curriculum provides only the content to be taught to all children and does not concern itself with pedagogy. Many children have never even experienced the inside of a classroom or encountered a formal instructional situation, yet inside the classroom we expect them to respond in vastly different and ‘schooled’ ways that emphasize logic and scientific reason over trial and error guessing. Thus lack of exposure to this school reasoning is an important cause of failing to learn.

And so starts the tragic mismatch between the teacher, curriculum, and learner. These are the critical aspects that define the dynamics of learning and often they never align.  We know that learners who are not engaged in learning find it difficult to thrive at school, and yet faulty assumptions about the automaticity of learning abound. Teachers are required to follow the curriculum, and often very rigidly, as this forms a central part of how they are monitored and evaluated. Yet, there is a need for a developmental and humanistic approach to connect learners to the curriculum content through a caring adult inside the classroom.

Another aspect is that learners often start school with enormous foundational deficiencies which if not addressed in the curriculum, might be exacerbated and even stymie learning. The problem is that merely trying to plaster the gaps with content does not help, particularly if that content is not presented at the right time in the right way. Furthermore, some concepts are developmentally more important than others. Through our work at the Basic Concepts Foundation, we have become increasingly aware of the importance of establishing the fundamental conceptual systems of colour, shape, size, position, number, and letter to support future learning.  

Teaching the core conceptual content, however, is a delicate process that requires an enormous amount of sensitivity from the teacher. One might compare the level of knowledge and skill needed to delicately guide the child to that of a gardener who needs to know exactly how much sun or water to give to his/her plants for them to thrive. The BCP attunes teachers to this complex human process by providing them with the tools (methods and approaches) to get a better understanding of the learning needs of their children so that they can thrive.

Finally, we find that children who become positively connected to their teachers will also start to trust them. Such children find that being schooled (which includes learning how to reason, think, develop ideas and communicate) helps them to make sense of the world and in fact, enlarges their world as they start to develop the confidence to expand their actions and thinking. Children who are self-initiating and become more self-regulating are driven to learn for the sake of learning. The opposite is true for dependent and passive children who wait for their teachers to teach them the curriculum and who will most likely not flourish or thrive.   

Thus we have uncovered some surprising truths about learning:

  1. Going to school does not equate to learning.
  2. School reasoning differs significantly from everyday reasoning.
  3. Learning involves much more than a curriculum.
  4. Learning is based on the primacy of ideas, basic concepts and language.
  5. Teaching is more than science; it is part art, compassion, and interaction.
  6. Confident and self-assured children are better suited to learning.

The Basic Concepts Programme (BCP) incorporates all  6 of these areas. We cannot assume that all children are hard-wired for school learning; nor are all educational settings prepared for the challenges that we find in the South African context. We should also not expect the education system (schools, curriculums, or teachers) to automatically accommodate the complexity of difficulties that children experience. We, therefore, propose that programmes like the BCP be extended across the country into more pre-schools and primary schools alongside the curriculum, not only to jump-start learning but to enrich teaching and learning, helping children to thrive and learn. We need to be sure that the intervention programmes used to produce change are based on valid theoretical models of learning and cognitive development. The BCP has been particularly thorough in establishing its scientific validity through an extensive doctoral study and action-based fieldwork over the past 18 years. It is urgent that we start to address the actual reasons that so many of our children continue to fail to learn through the universal introduction of an early years cognitive intervention programme that has been shown to promote learning, thinking and language in young children.


Reprinted from the website of Basic Concepts Unlimited.


Teaching Myself to Be a Teacher, Learning How to Be a Student, Educating Others to Educate Themselves

January 23, 2023
By 24051

Rui Caria, a PhD candidate and teacher at the University of Coimbra, describes his personal journey to becoming the teacher that he wished he had had. The journey has led him to create a YouTube channel as well as a new course at the university that addresses the questions of why study and how to study. He draws on literature as a means of bringing to life the concepts that he teaches.

* * *


In 2019 I became a teacher and a PhD candidate at the same time. Becoming a teacher didn’t make me jump to the other side of the classroom, it only put me on both sides.

I thought of myself as someone familiar with the side of the student. Not because, at that point, I had six years of university education behind me, but because of the challenges I faced during those years as a student.

Law school had been challenging for me. I entered one of the most demanding faculties in Portugal very unprepared. As a high school student who only studied on the evening before his exams, I suddenly found myself faced with thousands of pages of reading material, hours of lectures by people who didn’t captivate me, and studying things that, as it turned out, I didn’t find that interesting. On top of that, there was no certainty that I could afford the next tuition.

These challenges made me pose many questions regarding education. What is the value of education? What does it mean to be a student? How would this education aid myself and others around me? How could I truly educate myself?

Talking with many of my fellow students throughout, I quickly learned that I wasn’t the only one posing those questions. Many students didn’t know why they were studying. They had to make a choice at 18 years old, did it as best they could, and now found themselves asking if they had made the right one.

These questions never left me. Not after I graduated, not after I did my master’s degree, and not when I became a teacher and PhD candidate. On the contrary, now more than ever, I felt the weight of their importance. I was on the receiving end of the questions and felt the need to be able to give answers. If I didn’t, I felt that I didn’t deserve to be a teacher and couldn’t keep being a student.

From early on, I saw being a teacher as an opportunity to do good; to have a positive influence on the lives of young people. Perhaps it was because, as a young student, I wished someone had done that for me. I wanted to be a teacher capable of offering young students a “why” that would drive them to keep chasing their education to its fullest potential.

Whatever the outcome of my journey might be, I had to better myself and take action: become an agent, rather than a subject, of education.



I decided that I should be able to teach my students beyond the subjects of my lectures. This meant finding ways in which these subjects related to the world and to individuals themselves. I needed a connection between these realities that was appealing, accessible, and enriching.

Thinking about this, I realized how I had come into contact with a variety of subjects through literature. Stories had made me more interested in philosophy, psychology, history, sociology, and even physics. They did it either by allowing myself to suffer like a character whom chance would never allow me to be or by plunging me into an immersive world that the currents of time would never allow me to swim to.

Why simply write a concept on a blackboard and point at a textbook when you can bring it to life through the words of some of the most eloquent, imaginative, and wise people in the history of the world?

I saw the potential of stories to enrich the way I taught law and the way my students learned. But I also knew it would be difficult to tell students, “Read the subject’s textbook, your notes. . . . Oh! And also, this 400-page novel.” People have smartphones with high-speed Internet and infinite scroll; one must know what he is competing against. Innovation was the answer.

I created a YouTube channel where I read small portions of classical works of literature that touched on topics of law. The videos were small and gave a short explanation of how the specific portion related to a specific concept. Videos were uploaded monthly during the semester and, at the end of each month, students who participated in the project were invited to discuss the ideas of the book and relate them to what was taught in class.

It gave a new depth and life to what we talked about in class. Suddenly, the concept of justice wasn’t just something you read on a textbook but a difficult problem that Aeschylus, the father of tragedy in Ancient Greek theater, posed against the judgment of Athena herself in one of his plays. The death penalty wasn’t just a remote idea, it came to be seen through the eyes of Albert Camus’s character Meursault as he ponders the meaning of truth waiting for the guillotine.

For this project, I was awarded the 2021 Prize for Pedagogical Innovation by the University of Coimbra.

The author holds the plaque of the Prize for Pedagogical Innovation that he received in 2021.


I wasn’t completely satisfied after receiving the prize. I had thought carefully about the project and decided it was worthy of pursuit, otherwise I wouldn’t have done it; and it proved to be useful and innovative, otherwise it wouldn’t have been awarded. Still, I came to find its scope limited. I was teaching my students beyond law and pointing them to literature and its ocean of ideas, but there were many more things that I wanted to teach them and couldn’t inside the confines of my lectures on law.

I still saw many of them struggling with their role as university students. I saw lack of motivation born from a sense of uncertainty about the future. I understood that many wanted to learn more and efficiently but didn’t know how to study. For many, as was the case for myself during my graduate years, everything was a question.

I took it upon myself to provide answers as best as I could. I decided to create a full course, for free, open to all the students at the university, designed to answer two big questions: Why study? How to study? I pitched the idea to the vice dean responsible for the development of undergraduate students and got the approval to create and teach the course.

For months, apart from everything else I was doing, I devoted myself to research and thinking, as honestly and as well as I could, about the answers I would give.

I went after the “why.” My approach to the importance of education had always been grounded in the literature that helped me through tough times. Existentialist philosophy had come to frame much of my world view, especially the work of Albert Camus.[1] The idea of gathering strength within yourself in the face of a world that was indifferent to your existence was dear to me. The intuition in me came to be that, in some way, education should serve to make you stronger. On the other hand, the works of Dostoyevsky had made me believe that there was tremendous value in the good acts one can do for people and that the memory of good could sustain you for a lifetime. Education wasn’t only about making you stronger but about making you stronger so you can be good and help other people.

As I read beyond my literary interests and started to look at how models of development relate to education, I came across the notion of the human capabilities approach in the work of Martha Nussbaum, which resonated with my intuition. Education could in fact be conceptualized as a means of developing capacities in individuals that, in turn, would help them raise other individuals and eventually their own society.

The new challenges posed by the demands of writing a PhD thesis had already put me into contact with the “how” of studying. As I read more about it, it became clearer that studying should be done in a way that was both effective and efficient. The tools necessary to study in this way overlapped with the methods of peak performance that were applicable in several other fields. They lead to the best results. But to perform at your peak, changes in your environment and in yourself were required. Habits must be changed, attention must be sharpened, mindsets must be reinforced. And a vision of the future must be kept vivid and clear: that you can forever learn, forever grow stronger, forever be better, for yourself and for others.

I learned about all of these things and taught them all, for the first time, to the several students that attended the first edition of the “Why Study, How to Study” course at the University of Coimbra.




Creating and teaching a course to students at the university where I studied and now teach was, without a doubt, something I never thought I would be able to do. But it’s one of the most meaningful things I have ever had the honor of doing. Now, I’m glad I had all those doubts as a young man arriving at university. I’m thankful for the suffering that brought them. With time, they transformed from ghosts to guides. I stopped running away from them to start running toward them, and in doing so, I found myself having a journey that I deem worthy of dedicating these words to. One where I had to teach myself to be a teacher, because I wanted to be the one I never had and the one my students deserved. One where I learned how to be a student by never ceasing to ask questions, by not giving up on the hard journey to find the answers. One where I educated others to educate themselves, because I believed there are few greater gifts.


[1] I previously wrote about him in another article for Sylff Voices (

A video of the author talking about the project can be found here:

The Rise of Civilizational States: Civilizational Discourse in International Relations

December 20, 2022
By 29256

Tamas Dudlak, a 2021 Sylff fellow from Corvinus University of Budapest and a recipient of a Sylff Research Abroad grant in 2021, here discusses the concept of the civilizational state, developments surrounding it, and how it is exploited in politics. Confrontational civilizational narratives serve to create group cohesion by building on a sense of in-group pride, Dudlak points out, but efforts feeding on such differences cannot be the basis for peaceful coexistence.

* * *

The discourse on civilizations has taken hold in international politics since Samuel Huntington’s famous book on the “Clash of Civilizations.” The emergence of the multipolar world order and the cultural turn in the 1990s has enhanced the importance of civilizational differences. The prominence of civilizational identity is not only a reaction to globalization but is itself part of the globalization process. The globalization process pluralized the identities within and beyond the state. Although civilization as a unit of analysis is highly contested, its importance lies in its frequent usage in cultural and political debates[1] and is often considered “an institution and an actor in international politics” (Yeşiltaş 2014, 69). Drawing on Johann Arnason, Fabio Petito (2011, 767) argues for “civilizations, defined in a fundamentally culturalist-religious sense.” Civilization is an essentially cultural entity based on imagined and/or actual cultural links between societies (nations) (Tetik 2021, 4).


Ideas Surrounding the Concept of the Civilizational State

As the political theorist Christopher Coker (2018) noted, we now live “in a world in which civilization is fast becoming the currency of international politics.” In his book, Coker analyzed the idea of the civilizational state through the examples of Western civilization, Japan, China, Russia, India, and the Muslim civilizations. The phrase “civilizational state” was popularized by the British writer Martin Jacques (2012), and Weiwei devoted a book to explaining the phenomenon in contemporary China based on “a new model of development and a new political discourse” (Weiwei 2012, x).

The discourse on civilization has been reactivated by three developments of global implications:

  1. The crisis of the Western liberal establishment and Western countries. Europe’s crises continue after the global economic crisis. The West “lost its monopoly over the globalization process” as significant development models and opposing value systems exist (Sherr 2008, 9). A series of crises have shaken the Western world and the European Union: the identity crisis of the Union in the aftermath of the EU constitution referenda, euro crisis, financial crisis, weakening liberal democratic ethos, unfulfilled economic promises in East-Central Europe, foreign policy failures in the Middle East and Ukraine, migration crisis, and Brexit (Öniş and Kutlay 2019, 2–4). These events and processes have weakened the EU’s soft power, its main strength in the international arena. It is “a crisis of Western values, or defined more broadly, of the Western system” (Moreh 2016, 3).
  2. The rise of identity politics and populism as cultural resistance (Kriesi et al. 2008) and the global resistance against the neoliberal mainstream parties—in the form of both right- and left-wing parties. Chryssogelos (2018) argues that the content of populism is ideologically not cohesive. However, the different national populisms are unified in their practices of defining themselves in opposition to the conception of an “internationalized state” (heavily influenced by international actors), and they promote the so-called “new sovereign state.”
  3. The economic and political rise of Asian nations with large populations and historically significant independent cultures or civilizations (India and China) (Acharya 2020, 140). In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, modernization and Westernization went hand in hand, which in practice meant that the Western “recipe” for economic and political development was adopted. The rise of alternative and successful economic and political systems beyond the West (especially in Asia) has disrupted the unity of modernization and Westernization and given rise to the idea that it is no longer necessary to adopt Western “values” in order for a nation, community, society, or civilization to be economically and politically successful.

The discourse of civilization makes it possible to thematize the constant confrontation and cultural conflicts of values that affect the everyday course of life. These sites of disputes are exploited by strong leaders who take the lead as the central character of the narrative, creating their story through their rhetoric (wordcraft) and their performative action (stagecraft) (Uhr 2014). Confrontational civilizational narratives build on a sense of in-group pride, exceptionalism, and an essentialist understanding of a particular civilization. The rich and complex cultural foundation of a given civilization can be selectively used for the intended political purpose.

The importance of antagonisms lies in the fact that it is along these lines that the political identity of a group can crystallize and separate itself from its environment. The creation of group cohesion is the goal of all political actors. The most significant part of political image-building is about highlighting differences and putting things in antagonistic terms: “in-group versus out-group, good versus evil, moral versus immoral, nation versus anti-nation, pure people versus corrupt elite, and patriots versus traitors” (Selçuk 2016, 5).

The civilizational discourse is usually centered on the idea of restoration, feeding on the image of greatness in the past, its moral and material success, and its predictability. (The historical time is divided into two sections: the first is the recent past that must be changed, and the second is the distant past, which provides the ideal for changing the recent past.) The civilizational state discourse places the past in a macro-historical perspective and thus seeks to “restore” the meaning of history (Coker 2018, 18). The attachment to the past also indicates future possibilities and directions for action in the present. Moreover, the past is not only a guiding line in the present but is often projected “as an aspirational vision for the future” (Akçalı and Korkut 2012, 611).


The Hagia Sophia Museum—originally a Christian church, converted into a mosque in 1453—was reconverted into a mosque in the summer of 2020. This step manifests the serious commitment of the Turkish government toward the Ottoman past. Photo taken by the author in Istanbul in 2015.


Use of Civilizational Discourse by Governments

In one of my recent works, supported by a 2022 SRA grant, I utilize the concept of civilizational state based on Coker (2018) to understand the domestic and foreign policy choices of the current Hungarian and Turkish governments. The civilizational discourse is the narrative that civilizational states employ, and it constitutes a political-ideological formation relying on the idea of distinctive identity traits and the representation of these identity constructions in the international arena. The civilizational discourse of the Hungarian and Turkish governments is connected to the global rise of identity politics and serves to strengthen the power of the states amid the constant challenges against state sovereignty. Both the Turkish and Hungarian political systems rely on a mixture of national and religious legitimacy (Islam and Christianity, respectively) and use these to extend the scope of foreign policy activism. Acharya (2020, 141) calls this self-aggrandizement and identifies it as one of the critical features of civilizational states. These states can enlarge their area of interest and influence through extensive identity politics.

To be effective, the discourse does not have to be valid or accurate; what matters is its plausibility. Civilizational states selectively draw on their respective civilizational “heritage” to create a thorough and coherent Weltanschauung, a worldview that can be projected onto everything, making political struggles more palpable for the audience. These narratives function as simple storytelling so that one can live, connect, and empathize with the story. A successful narrative explains past grievances and offers a tale of the future. Yuval Noah Harari argues that in the age of mass media, political communication needs to tell a story whose coherence, rather than its veracity, is essential (Harari and Kahneman 2021). The coherence must be both internal and emotional. The former implies that while having its own logic, the story has a specific explanatory power, while the latter principle requires that the story contain the clash between good and evil. In politics, therefore, the success of political organizations increasingly depends on effective communication rather than ideological and political coherence.


The Hungarian Parliament refurbished in “Eastern” style, referring to the growing interest of the Hungarian government in Eastern powers. Photo taken by the author during the ARC 2021 exhibition in Hungary.


The culture war, or the practice of securitization of culture, is based on resistance to the free flow of culture. Supporters of culture war aim to confront identity groups within and outside the country to change the mainstream and achieve cultural hegemony by taking identity politics to an imagined cultural battlefield. Culture war starts from the premise that the political opponent has a coherent cultural system, but its intellectual and philosophical foundations are inappropriate (disconnected from reality). These are means in the hands of ideational regimes to challenge their opponents over the meaning and principles of politics. For example, in the discourse of the current Hungarian government, the stakes of the liberal versus conservative debate have risen to the level of civilization, as the two opposing sides fight each other over the interpretation of the philosophical foundations and values of Western civilization.

The conflict between civilizations is far from inevitable, as many claim. Indeed, peaceful coexistence between civilizations has dominated daily life for most of history. However, invoking antagonism between civilizations in an age of uncertainty is undoubtedly simple. To strengthen the identity of political-cultural communities, the question “Who are we?” and “Who are we not?” must be answered. But efforts that deepen the differences between civilizations cannot be the basis for peaceful coexistence.



Acharya, Amitav. 2020. “The Myth of the ‘Civilization State’: Rising Powers and the Cultural Challenge to World Order.” Ethics & International Affairs 34, no. 2 (Summer): 139–56.

Akcali, Emel, and Umut Korkut. 2012. “Geographical Metanarratives in East-Central Europe: Neo-Turanism in Hungary.” Eurasian Geography and Economics 53 (5): 596–614.

Chryssogelos, Angelos. 2018. “State Transformation and Populism: From the Internationalized to the Neo-Sovereign State?” Politics 40, no. 1 (February): 22–37.

Coker, Christopher. 2018. The Rise of the Civilizational State. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Harari, Noah Yuval, and Daniel Kahneman. 2021. “Daniel Kahneman & Yuval Noah Harari in Conversation.” YouTube, April 13, 2021.

Jacques, Martin. 2012. “China Is a Civilization State.” The Economic Times, July 19, 2012.

Kriesi, Hanspeter, Egar Grande, Romain Lachat, Martin Dolezal, Simon Bornschier, and Timotheos Frey. 2008. West European Politics in the Age of Globalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Moreh, Chris. 2016. “The Asianization of National Fantasies in Hungary: A Critical Analysis of Political Discourse.” International Journal of Cultural Studies 19, no. 3 (May): 341–53.

Öniş, Ziya, and Mustafa Kutlay. 2019. “Global Shifts and the Limits of the EU’s Transformative Power in the European Periphery: Comparative Perspectives from Hungary and Turkey.” Government and Opposition 54, no. 2 (April): 226–53.

Petito, Fabio. 2011. “In Defence of Dialogue of Civilisations: With a Brief Illustration of the Diverging Agreement between Edward Said and Louis Massignon.” Millennium: Journal of International Studies 39, no. 3 (May): 759–79.

Petrequin, Samuel. 2021. “Macron: EU Needs to Fight ‘Illiberal Values’ inside Bloc.” Associated Press, June 25, 2021.

Selçuk, Orçun. 2016. “Strong Presidents and Weak Institutions: Populism in Turkey, Venezuela and Ecuador.” Southeast European and Black Sea Studies 16 (4): 571–89.

Sherr, James. 2008. “A Dangerous Game.” The World Today 64, no. 10 (October): 8–10.

Tetik, Mustafa Onur. 2021. “Discursive Reconstruction of Civilisational-Self: Turkish National Identity and the European Union (2002–2017).” European Politics and Society 22 (3): 374–93.

Uhr, John. 2014. “Rhetorical and Performative Analysis.” In The Oxford Handbook of Political Leadership, edited by R. A. W. Rhodes and Paul ‘t Hart, 253–66. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Weiwei, Zhang. 2012. The China Wave: Rise of a Civilizational State. Hackensack, NJ: World Century Publishing Corporation.

Yeşiltaş, Murat. 2014. “Turkey’s Quest for a ‘New International Order’: The Discourse of Civilization and the Politics of Restoration.” Perceptions 19, no. 4 (Winter): 43–76.


[1] Lately, the French president Emmanuel Macron attached importance to the “civilizational battle” for defending liberal values and democracies. “We must give content, perspectives and meaning to our liberal values, in the political sense of the term, in the philosophical sense of the term, and show the strength of our democracies. … It is the backsliding in the minds and mentalities. And as such it is a cultural, civilizational battle that we must fight.” (Petrequin 2021)

The Experiences of Indian Couples during the COVID-19 Pandemic

December 6, 2022
By 29781

Priyanshi Chauhan is a 2021 Sylff fellow conducting doctoral research at the Centre for South Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. In this article, which is based on a study first published in Gender Issues, Chauhan discusses how gender inequalities have become more prevalent in India under the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on to learn about the ways in which the adoption of work-from-home arrangements has affected men and women differently among dual-earner families in Indian cities.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the already existing gender inequalities, with substantial implications on how women navigate the work-from-home settings. One of the ways in which the pandemic has affected women differently than men is through the increased burden of unpaid work. Prior to the pandemic, women in India were already spending more time on unpaid work (351.9 minutes a day) as compared to men (51.8 min/day) (NSO 2019). In addition, women spent an average of 367 min/day on paid activities compared to 486 min/day by men (NSO 2019). Thus, not only do women already bear a disproportionate burden of unpaid work, but employed women work for much longer hours than men.

Adding to it, the pandemic has created new types of unpaid work including homeschooling, caring for more people who now stay indoors, and sanitization and hygiene needs, which have added to women’s work. Simultaneously, the pandemic has led to the collapse of spatial separation between the workplace and household due to the adoption of work from home. This is significant because the distinction between paid work and unpaid care work emanates from the site of their performance. As both paid and unpaid work are performed within the household during the pandemic, this is likely to have implications on how men and women navigate work from home. Accordingly, I conducted semistructured interviews with 30 dual-earning married couples in India in the months of April and May 2021 to understand how gender intersects with the experiences of work from home in the household (Chauhan 2022). All participants in the study are from tier-1 metropolitan cities in India: 12 from Delhi, 6 from Bangalore, 5 from Mumbai, 3 from Chennai, and 4 from Hyderabad. All are post-graduates and are working professionals in the corporate sector. Interviews were conducted virtually because of the pandemic-related restrictions. All participants were interviewed separately from their partners. The findings are discussed below.


Sharing of Unpaid Work

Both men and women reported that their time spent on unpaid work increased during the pandemic. However, it would be amateur to conclude that gender inequalities in unpaid work have vanished. It has been found that for men, unpaid work is in addition to activities like relaxation, leisure, and pursuing hobbies, as compared to women, for whom household chores and care work have replaced these activities.

The type of unpaid work that men and women perform can also be categorized as masculine type and feminine type. Men are found to be doing such unpaid work as grocery shopping and laundry, which need to be performed with less frequency and can be done based on their availability and convenience. On the other hand, women are responsible for such work as cooking and related work and cleaning the dishes, which have to be performed multiple times during the day and are time bound. In childcare as well, a distinction is evident where women are responsible for work that is essential to the everyday needs of the children, such as feeding and bathing, as compared to men, who are mostly their children’s playmates or watch over them when their mother is not available. Thus, women play a primary role as household managers and primary caregivers, while men contribute only in supportive roles.

Indian women struggle to maintain work-life segregation. (Source: Freepik)

Navigating the Gendered Space-Time Arrangements at Home

Men also have greater control over the use of household resources, such as a work desk or private workspace. Men’s productive work is prioritized over their responsibilities for unpaid work as well as women’s responsibilities for both unpaid and paid work. Since there is a higher value placed on men’s productive work, the household facilitates their professional commitments in the work-from-home arrangements. Men’s workspace requirements along with their need to maintain privacy and artificial segregation between work and life are prioritized over women’s requirements.

As per the findings, women have a private workspace with adequate infrastructure only in cases where there is enough space to have two separate rooms dedicated to work. The majority of women work from either their bedrooms or the living room. In both cases, women’s allocation of workspaces is contingent on men’s allocation of better workspaces for themselves. For instance, the women who are working from the bedroom have reported that their husbands have a separate private work room. Similarly, for women working from the living room, their husbands have used the limited space in the bedroom to make a workspace for themselves. As such, these women have involuntarily moved to the common spaces to continue working from home. Only two couples in the sample reported men working from the living room and women using separate private workspaces for themselves. This is because even if men continue to work from the living room, they are rarely interrupted by the family. On the other hand, moving to the living room for their wives would mean regular interruptions and expectations from the family members that they are available for them all the time.

Unpaid work is also an important factor in determining women’s schedule of paid work. This leads to the integration of work and nonwork domains not only in terms of physical boundaries but also at the level of behavioral and cognitive boundaries. For men, unpaid work does not determine their scheduling of paid work. Rather, it is the other way around, where their professional commitments determine their availability and participation in unpaid household chores and care work.


Return-to-Work Preferences

There is a preference for the hybrid work model among both men and women. However, there are gender differences in the factors that determine the preferences about returning to work. For women, continuation of work from home is contingent on the availability of domestic workers and other family members working from the office. Factors that are common to both men and women include spending more time with children, work-life balance, and social isolation, among others. Some women also expressed their preference to shift toward part-time jobs or quit the labor force permanently to better manage their household responsibilities. This is because of the increasing challenge of work-life balance that women faced during the lockdown and the lack of support by family members for women pursuing their career ambitions.


Critiquing the Assumption of Gender Neutrality in Work from Home

The experiences thus indicate that the assumption of gender neutrality in the mainstream work-from-home models is misleading. The mainstream models of work from home are popular for providing flexibility and greater control over work. However, when gender is integrated into work-from-home models, it constrains the autonomy of women in deciding when and where to work. The perceived control and autonomy of women in making choices regarding working from home is in itself a product of gender norms and gender roles. Unpaid work is also at the core of boundary management between the work and nonwork domains.

Men have managed to demarcate the two domains to a greater extent, especially for behavioral and cognitive boundaries due to their gender privilege. The relatively high value that is placed on men’s productive work has offered them options to create artificial segmentation in the work-from-home arrangements regarding physical boundaries as well. By contrast, women have experienced a complete merging of the two domains.

It is therefore necessary to mainstream gender considerations and unpaid work in the work-from-home frameworks. In the process, it needs to be underscored that women’s needs in the work-from-home arrangements are not addressed in isolation from the gender dynamics that unfold within the household. Gender equality is not only a woman’s issue but a power relation between the genders. As such, men must be equally engaged in conversations on gender equality both at the workplace and at home.



Chauhan, P. 2022. “‘I Have No Room of My Own’: COVID-19 Pandemic and Work-from-Home through a Gender Lens.” Gender Issues 39, no. 4 (December 2022): 507–33.

NSO (National Statistical Office). 2020. Time Use in India—2019. New Delhi: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India.