The Russo-Ukrainian War: How Energy Insecurity Fuels the Global Gender Imbalance

by Dr. Grace Hoffman

 

Since the onset of the Russo-Ukrainian War in February 2022, countries have felt ripple effects caused by their dependence on Russian oil. Europe has been particularly impacted by their dependence on Russian energy, and is consequently, rethinking its reliance on certain energy sources. The significance of the energy sector and the need for alternative sources has become increasingly apparent for Europe’s economy. However, the overreliance on Russian oil may also affect gender inequality and non-European countries’ peace and security for years to come.

Women, Peace, and Security

In 2000, the United Nations adopted Security Resolution 1325, which established the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) international agenda. In 2017, the WPS Act codified the agenda into U.S. law. WPS recognizes the disproportionate effect of conflict and violence on women and girls as well as the important role women play in peace and security. Research shows a direct connection between the treatment and empowerment of women and girls at the household level and a country’s stability and likelihood to enter conflict. In fact, high sex inequality makes a nation twice as likely to be a fragile state, 3.5 times more likely to have an autocratic and corrupt government, 1.5 times more likely to be unstable and violent, and 1.3 times more likely to experience terrorism.[1] Simply put, the treatment and role of women and girls in society directly correlates with a country’s long-term peace and security.

Inseparable Connections

Today, the treatment of women and girls at the household level may be directly impacted by increasing gas prices and food shortages caused by the reliance on Russian energy. In African countries such as Somalia, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, gas prices have greatly increased, as have food prices where communities rely on trucks to deliver food. Maureen Miruka, the CARE Kenya Country Director, noted that Kenyan women will be greatly affected, noting that “Whenever incomes in homes are negatively impacted, we have always noted an increase in gender-based violence against women.”.[2]

What Might the Future Hold?

WPS acknowledges that violence against women impacts the long-term stability of the communities and countries. It destabilizes communities and limits women’s ability to meaningfully participate in society. What will this mean for countries where violence against women increases as gas prices and food shortages increase?

Overdependence on energy from Russia is a sharp reminder of the need for innovation in the energy sector and for alternative and diverse energy sources, and the need for this may reach far beyond Europe’s economic concerns. While continents and countries recognize direct immediate effects, the possible long-term and indirect effects of energy insecurity on women and girls and therefore peace and security cannot be overlooked.

[1] https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/1a02/327babfb20be0982b5154e40c0ca5695cb3b.pdf
[2] https://www.care-international.org/news/ukraine-conflict-soaring-food-and-fuel-prices-threaten-wellbeing-millions-east-central-and

 

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Country Intelligence Report: Inside The Country Intelligence Group

In this special episode we speak with Jeffrey Fourman, the Founder and Managing Director of The Country Intelligence Group. We discuss the origins of the firm, the company’s values and mission, and how CountryIntel leverages it’s unique collection of specialized management consulting, data analysis, and human capital service expertise to help the worlds most complex organizations achieve and surpass their goals.

 

The Country Intelligence Report

The Country Intelligence Report is a bi-monthly examination of the stories impacting the world of management consulting and International relations. We cover a range of topics than cover the intersection of Management Consulting and International Relations. We discuss such topics such as how to establish and accomplish goals, habits of effective leadership, Energy industry dynamics, and the diplomatic discipline of women, peace, and security.

The show is hosted by Krista Campbell, Senior Workforce Development Consultant and Spencer Bentley, Director of Marketing and Communication. It is produced by Jonathan Maze, Senior Management Consultant, Krista Campbell and Spencer Bentley. More episodes of the show can be found here

WHAT DOES A DATA DICTIONARY AND A REFUGEE CAMP HAVE IN COMMON?

By Leezan Omerbell

 

In my last life as a foreign affair professional, I worked as a field volunteer for Un Ponte Per, a non-governmental organization under the United Nations, at the Domiz Refugee Camp in the Kurdish Province of Dohuk, Iraq. As a volunteer, I used my language skills to collect data to help manage and allocate resources. A few days after arriving, I was in one of the trailers looking over my notes when a man entered the trailer. The man was about my age and wanted to know if his grandmother could come inside and sit on one of the empty chairs while waiting to be processed. Without hesitation, I agreed. A few minutes later a young woman entered with him and sat on one of the chairs. When I questioned him about the whereabouts of his grandmother, he simply pointed to the young woman.

As it turned out, the woman was not his grandmother, but his wife. You see, I had failed to take into consideration that even though I spoke the regional languages, there can be variances in vocabulary depending on location and dialect. Although the man thought he was communicating effectively, and I thought I was receiving the information correctly, there was still a disconnect.  To me the word he had used meant someone old, such as a grandmother. But in his dialect, it meant “wife.”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines communication as “a process by which information is exchanged.” This process is the foundation of all relationships, personal and professional. But what we often forget, is that machines too need to communicate and exchange information with one another as an integral part of modern life and business. Broken down to their simplest level, machines such as database systems communicate with one another continuously and need to so do to remain relevant.

But how do we prevent miscommunication between these machines? If humans can have such misunderstandings, like the one that took place between that young man and myself, then machines can most certainly experience miscommunication too. As a solution, data dictionaries for database systems were created to enable clear and correct exchanges of information. For your own systems, before accurate exchanges can take place, you should do your due diligence, and do some database dictionary “house cleaning.”

  1. Update your data dictionary: Update your data dictionary to reflect your database as it changes. Databases change…a lot. Columns and fields become irrelevant; some are taken out while new ones are added. So, before you begin exchanging data with another database, make sure your own data dictionary is up to date.
  2. Make your data dictionary readable: This isn’t corporate law where you must write policy in a language no one can read. The point of your data dictionary is so that others can clearly understand what your database is about. If others can’t read it or understand it, then you have failed to create a working data dictionary. Make your data dictionary simple and easily readable.
  3. Answer questions: This might sound like common sense, but if an individual who is working with your data dictionary has a question, answer it. And set up time to provide clarifications. Learn from these instances and update your dictionary accordingly to prevent similar questions in future.

Again, the whole purpose of your data dictionary is so your database can communicate with another system. This allows everyone involved, machines included, to get on the same page. If it fails to accomplish this, your data dictionary needs work. Small improvements to your data dictionary can yield huge benefits for your database.

 

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LEADERSHIP VS. MANAGEMENT IN WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

by Chelsea Salyer

 

A major focus of workforce development, a service offered by CountryIntel, is helping an individual develop the skills and abilities required to succeed within their workplace. Some of those skills and abilities may relate to leadership and/or management.

People often mistake leadership and management to be one and the same, but fundamentally they are very different. Yet both practices are essential to running a business. Certain business scenarios require diverse skills. Distinguishing between leadership and management can help a business efficiently employ its resources to achieve success.

Leadership is about inspiring, motivating, and empowering others to work toward a shared vision, while management is concerned with administrative responsibilities and ensuring day-to-day operations run smoothly.

One of the main differences between leadership and management is seen when executing the business’ vision. Leadership is more strategic while management is more operational. Leaders examine where the business stands, set a vision for future organizational growth, and develop a strategic plan for how to move from the present to the future. Leaders, by nature, are innovative. Alternatively, managers implement processes and procedures that help the business achieve the objectives set by the leaders. Simply put, leaders ask “what” and “why” whereas managers ask “how” and “when.”

Another difference between leadership and management lies within how they either inspire or manage their followers and subordinates. Leaders inspire trust among employees and rely on that relationship to build a following. When communicating the vision, leaders are responsible for helping employees see themselves within the bigger organizational picture. They connect an employee’s goals and aspirations with the company’s vision, giving meaning to the day-to-day functions while aligning short-term and long-term direction.

Separately, managers rely on the authority of their job description to effectively manage employees and maintain compliance. Managers coordinate activities among subordinates and organize staff to optimize efficiency and play to the strengths of each individual. Managers break down big projects into smaller milestones and assign tasks according to resource limitations such as schedule and budget. They are more focused on the tactical responsibilities required to meet the organization’s objectives.

Despite the differences between leadership and management, the two practices often organically intertwine within a business structure. Both leadership and management structures are needed to engage a workforce toward a shared vision and achieve organizational success. While it is crucial to understand their differences, it would be unwise to purposefully try to separate one from the other. Rather, the focus should be on how these two practices will coincide and how to harness their differences to complement one another. Together, leadership and management help bridge the gaps in scenarios where reliance on one skill alone might fall short. Developing a workforce with both leadership and management functions is crucial to the overarching success of the business. Even more critical is developing skills uniquely tailored to each individual employee’s role.

 

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BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS IN CONSULTING

by Leezan Omerbell

 

There are many consulting agencies saturating the market today. As a result, being knowledgeable in a particular field is not enough to set a company apart. I have known consulting firms that were experts in their field yet failed to provide adequate services because they did not take time to truly understand their clients’ needs. These companies make two novice mistakes.  First, they assumed their services and products were adequate to meet the clients’ demands. Second, they did not listen to the clients’ concerns regarding product usability and clarity. While the consulting firm initially had the client’s business, it is doubtful the client would return to that firm in the future. Consulting is an art form. It is a precise balance between knowledge and client relations.  In this article we’ll cover the three main pillars of how to successfully build and manage client relations.  

 

Relationship Management:

It is vital for consultants to establish a professional but genuine relationship with clients. Client-consultant relations require a strong foundation, and foundations are built over time. It is important to express sincere interest in the client and an innate desire to serve. This desire to serve motivates you to learn and address your clients’ needs. Optimize each engagement by practicing active listening and being truly present in the conversation. Active engagement in conversation provides the needed tools to anticipate future needs, capture and assess blind spots, and be a better consultant by capturing and addressing your clients’ unrealized needs. This level of dedicated personal service, executed proficiently, will undoubtedly build trust over time.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Trust:

A client’s trust is vital for a consultant. A client must trust the consultant’s level of skill and knowledge of the industry. Most importantly, however, a client must trust that a consultant has their best interest in mind. The goal should not be to make a profit, but rather to help your client to the best of your ability. As Joy Hubert, the former CEO of Best Buy and author of The Heart of Business, said, “profit is the outcome, not the purpose itself.” In addition, mediocre service should never be an accepted practice in a consulting firm because that is a quick way to gain a bad reputation. Providing a quality service or product should be a long-term effort practiced company wide. Make it a standard procedure for yourself and your company to actively follow up with the client after a service or a product has been delivered. When a client experiences genuine service, they will trust you and be more inclined to communicate openly.                                                                                                                                     

Communication:

We have all heard that communication is one of the most important foundations to any relationship. I think what they mean to say is that communication, through active listening and understanding, results in better relationships founded on trust. This trust helps establish a communicative environment and acts as the catalyst when you, the consultant, need to deliver bad news to the client (hopefully infrequently) or if you need to assist in maneuvering them through a difficult situation.

 

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