Posts by Andrea Cristina Gonzalez-Ramirez

by Andrea González-Ramírez and Desiree Mathurin

The first female head of state in the modern era not to inherit the title was Khertek Anchimaa-Toka. In April of 1940 she became president of the Tuvan People’s Republic, a former state of the Soviet Union now known as the Tyva Republic of the Russian Federation.

Today, 75 years later, a record of 22 countries around the world have had female presidents, prime ministers and heads of state.

The U.S. is not part of that list.

On April, Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her candidacy for the 2016 Democratic nomination for President of the United States.

We believe this is a good moment to reflect on the women before her that have blazed a path toward the White House and to look at what’s the chance of a woman taking the oath of office in the next couple of years.

This story would look at historical data of the relationship between women and politics in the United States, comparing it to other countries that have had female heads of state since a long time ago.  After all, the question that remains to be answered in the next 18 months is clear: is America ready for a female president?


We’re going to use:

  •  This list and this one to create a explanatory timeline of women in politics through history— including female candidates for the vice-presidency and presidency.
  • These results of polls on the general question of how Americans feel towards a woman being a presidential candidate.
  • This resource to show women in leadership around the world and how it compares to the U.S.
  • Other sources.

Possible sources:

  1. Susan J. Carroll – professor of Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University and senior scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) of the Eagleton Institute of Politics.
  2. Jill S. Greenlee – associate professor of Politics at Brandeis University who specializes in women and politics.
  3. Jennifer Lawless – professor of at the Department of Government in the School of Public Affairs of American University and director of the Women and Politics Institute of said institution.


by Andrea González-Ramírez

In the US, Puerto Ricans are the second largest Hispanic origin group, following Mexicans and ahead of Cubans and Salvadorans. The recent migration patterns have changed greatly in the last few decades and the island has suffered a sustained decrease in population since 2000.

One of the main reasons is that the economic situation in Puerto Rico is a mess. They are still deep in an economic recession that has lasted eight years, the unemployment rate is almost 14 percent and the island is struggling to pay off a $73 billion public debt. Due to these difficulties, many people have chosen to live in the mainland instead.

More have said they plan to do so as well following the recent announcement of a new tax reform bill proposed by Governor Alejandro García Padilla, which proposes a 16 percent impuesto de valor añadido (IVA) or value-added tax (VAT). The national opposition has been fierce and many have played off the tax acronym with the phrase,  “IVA: Imposible Vivir Aquí”, which means literally “it’s impossible to live here.”

I want to make the visualizations to show where are the Puerto Ricans establishing themselves (now that the population stateside is bigger than in the island) and how that compares to previous migration waves in the last century, while explaining why  they’re choosing to leave.


The visualizations will be based on a data set published by the Pew Research Center and reports published in 2014 describing the migration patters in recent years. This would be complemented by the American Community Survey’s data.


  1. María Enchautegui – Senior research assistant at the Urban Institute and former professor of Economics at the University of Puerto Rico who has done extensive research on the Puerto Rican migration waves to the United States.
  2. Edwin Meléndez – Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College.
  3. José R. Rodríguez – Demographer and professor of Sociology at the University of Puerto Rico.

By: Andrea González-Ramírez

The Refugee Project is an interactive map that documents the refugee migrations around the world from 1975 to 2012. The project is based on data from the United Nations and is complemented by original histories of the major refugee crises of the last four decades, situated in their individual contexts.

Why it works:

1) There’s a lot of information, but it’s very well organized

The map provides tons of information: refugee population per country, places where refugees have seemed asylum, historical context of each event that led to a refugee crisis, a timeline of the refugee migrations from 1975 to 2012, among other things.  Having so much data could potentially lead to a very disorganized map, but that’s not the case. The stats are always on a left column, the historical context doesn’t appear unless you click on the country that had the crisis and the option of zooming in and out makes easier the process of finding information for each country.

2) The data sources are legitimate

The project uses the UN’s data. The organization counts and tracks millions of displaced people through the offices of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and a separate agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). The UNHCR has a map rather similar to the Refugee Project with the exact same data, but it doesn’t work as well. Bottom line is, I think the data sources are pretty legit.

3) It provides historical context for each event that led to a refugee crisis

Each crisis that has led to refugee migrations is described in detail whenever you hover a specific country during a specific year. It’s nice that the map not only tells you that X amount of people flew out a country, but why they were forced to.

4) It’s pretty

The design is simple, yet effective. The use of the dark background and only red and blue to make the information pop out was a good idea.

5) It has an additional list of sources for further readings

This is one of my favorite parts. Even though is not accesible through the visualization per se, this project also includes a list of other sources in their “About Me” section where you can find multiple sources of information per year.

Things that could be better:

1) It can be a little overwhelming

At first glance, the map can be a little bit confusing and it can be hard to decide where to start. For me it was easy to figure it out, but I had a friend who seemed just plain confused when trying to figure out how it worked. Maybe it there was a legend or a established set of  instructions to guide you through it, it would be much better.

2) Because it goes back to 1975, some data is missing or not available

This one was kind of obvious. Because it goes back four decades, there’s data that’s either missing or not available. This is not explained anywhere. But come on, during the 70’s the United States didn’t welcomed any kind of refugees? That doesn’t seem right.*

[*I’m spouting nonsense without verifying this information. Will get back to you guys on this fact.]

Final impressions:

Overall, I believe this is a very good visualization. This is a very important topic and this project did a good job in trying to capture all the information. I wish the group behind it would make an updated version, specially considering all that’s been going on in the last couple of years.