“Five for Your Eyes” is a new series of posts where I share five features that I found to be interesting or worth reading. I read a lot of books, but I also love reading long-form pieces in publications like the New York Times, the Atlantic, and the New Yorker, looking into slices of the world I was previously unaware of, or have held interests in. I hope some of these articles will interest you as well!
☆ Myanmar’s Youngest Maids (Al Jazeera | 101 East)
When a maid from Myanmar fell from the window of a high-rise Singapore flat, the incident shocked the public. Then came the news that the girl was just 15 years old. The employers were told that she was 23.
The shocking stories of underage human trafficking and exploitation of young girls from poor villages of Myanmar.
☆ The 10-Second Tax Return (The Atlantic)
Each tax season, tens of millions of American households have a decision to make.
A) They can collectively spend hundreds of millions of hours preparing tax information that the federal government already has.
B) They can pay other people billions of dollars to do it for them.
But let’s add a choice C: They go for a walk. Or, they have a nice dinner. Basically, they do whatever they want with those millions of hours and billions of dollars. Because their taxes are done for them, for free. They receive a document from the government with all of the relevant information already filled out, and they check a box to say, “okay!”
In the United States, the third choice sounds like a fantasy. But the excruciating pain of tax season is just another example of negative American exceptionalism. In fact, about one-half of American taxpayers earn all their income from one employer’s wages (which the IRS can see) and interest from one bank (which the IRS can find out without much effort). The IRS could easily send tens of millions of individuals their nearly completed taxes by mail—or even, by text.
☆ The 10-Year Baby Window That Is the Key to the Women’s Pay Gap (New York Times)
Today, married couples in the United States are likely to have similar educational and career backgrounds. So while the typical husband still earns more than his wife, spouses have increasingly similar incomes. But that changes once their first child arrives.
Immediately after the first birth, the pay gap between spouses doubles, according to a recent study — entirely driven by a drop in the mother’s pay. Men’s wages keep rising. The same pattern shows up in a variety of research.
But the recent study reveals a twist. When women have their first child between age 25 and 35, their pay never recovers, relative to that of their husbands. Yet women who have their first baby either before 25 or after 35 — before their careers get started or once they’re established — eventually close the pay gap with their husbands.
The years between 25 to 35 happen to be both the prime career-building years and the years when most women have children.
☆ The Fake Heiress (HIVE)
The vacation was Anna’s idea. She again needed to leave the States in order to reset her ESTA visa, she said. Instead of returning home to Germany, she suggested we take a trip somewhere warm. It had been a long time since my last vacation. I happily agreed that we should explore options, thinking we’d find off-season fares to the Dominican Republic or Turks and Caicos.
Anna suggested Marrakech; she’d always wanted to go. She picked La Mamounia, a five-star luxury resort ranked among the best in the world, and knowing that her selection was cost-prohibitive for my budget, she nonchalantly offered to cover my flights, the hotel, and expenses.
She reserved a $7,000/night private riad, a traditional Moroccan villa with an interior courtyard, three bedrooms, and a pool, and forwarded me the confirmation e-mail. Due to a seemingly minor snafu, I’d put the plane tickets on my American Express card, with Anna promising to reimburse me promptly. Since I did this all the time for work, I didn’t give it a second thought.
☆ Too Many Men (Washington Post)
Nothing like this has happened in human history. A combination of cultural preferences, government decree and modern medical technology in the world’s two largest countries has created a gender imbalance on a continental scale. Men outnumber women by 70 million in China and India.
The consequences of having too many men, now coming of age, are far-reaching: Beyond an epidemic of loneliness, the imbalance distorts labor markets, drives up savings rates in China and drives down consumption, artificially inflates certain property values, and parallels increases in violent crime, trafficking or prostitution in a growing number of locations.
Those consequences are not confined to China and India, but reach deep into their Asian neighbors and distort the economies of Europe and the Americas, as well. Barely recognized, the ramifications of too many men are only starting to come into sight.
Five for Your Eyes – 003
So that was the third installment of “Five for Your Eyes“! I hope at least one of the articles intrigued you! Let me know what you think, or anything you thought was interesting!
If you have a recommendation for an article, please share them with me!