Selected Important News of the past weeks (Part 5)

Fabric of the future

Swiss weaving machinery manufacturers are in the forefront of novel application development

Shoes and electronic calculators are probably not the first products people would associate with the textile weaving process. But they certainly signpost the future for woven fabrics, as two examples of the ever-wider possibilities of latest technology in the field. Fashion and function already combine in the increasing popularity of woven fabrics for shoes, and this is a present and future trend. Calculators in fabrics? That’s another story of ingenious development, using so-called ‘meander fields’ on the back and keys printed on the front of the material.

These glimpses of the outlook for modern weavers are among the highlights of developments now being pioneered by Swiss textile machinery companies. All weaving markets require innovation, as well as speed, efficiency, quality and sustainability. Member firms of the Swiss Textile Machinery Association respond to these needs at every point in the process – from tightening the first thread in the warp to winding the last inch for fabric delivery. They also share a common advantage, with a leading position in the traditional weaving industry as well as the expertise to foster new and exciting applications.

Technology and research cooperation

The concept of a ‘textile calculator’ was developed by Jakob Müller Group, in cooperation with the textile research institute Thuringen-Vogtland. Müller’s patented MDW® multi-directional weaving technology is able to create the meander fields which allow calculator functions to be accessed at a touch. A novel and useful facility, which suggests limitless expansion.

Today, the latest woven shoes are appreciated for their precise and comfortable fit. They score through their durability, strength and stability, meeting the requirements of individual athletes across many sports, as well as leisurewear. Stäubli is well known as a leading global specialist in weaving preparation, shedding systems and high-speed textile machinery. Its jacquard machines offer great flexibility across a wide range of formats, weaving all types of technical textiles, lightweight reinforcement fabrics – and shoes.

It’s possible to weave new materials such as ceramics, mix Fibres such as aramid, carbon and other, and produce innovative multi-layers with variable thicknesses. Such applications put special demands on weaving machines which are fulfilled by Stäubli high-performance TF weaving systems.

Great weaving results are impossible without perfect warp tension, now available thanks to the world-leading electronic warp feeding systems of Crealet. Some market segments in weaving industry today demand warp let-off systems which meet individual customer requirements. For example, the company has recognized expertise to understand that geotextile products often need special treatment, as provided by its intelligent warp tension control system. Individual and connective solutions are designed to allow external support via remote link. Crealet’s warp let-off systems are widely used in both ribbon and broadloom weaving, for technical textiles applied on single or multiple warp beams and creels.

Functional, sustainable, automated

Trends in the field of woven narrow fabrics are clearly focused on functionality and sustainability. The Jakob Müller Group has already embraced these principles – for example using natural Fibres for 100% recyclable labels with a soft-feel selvedge. It also focuses as much as possible on the processing of recycled, synthetic materials. Both PET bottles and polyester waste from production are recycled and processed into elastic and rigid tapes for the apparel industry.

For efficient fabric production environments, it is now recognized that automated quality solutions are essential. Quality standards are increasing everywhere and zero-defect levels are mandatory for sensitive applications such as airbags and protective apparel.

Uster’s latest generation of on-loom monitoring and inspection systems offers real operational improvements for weavers. The fabric quality monitoring prevents waste, while the quality assurance system significantly improves first-quality yield for all applications. Protecting fabric makers from costly claims and damaged reputations, automated fabric inspection also removes the need for slow, costly and unreliable manual inspection, freeing operators to focus on higher-skilled jobs.

Smart and collaborative robotics (cobots) offer many automation possibilities in weaving rooms. Stäubli’s future oriented robotics division is a driver in this segment with first effective installations in warp and creel preparation.

Control and productivity

Willy Grob’s specialized solutions for woven fabric winding focus on reliable control of tension, keeping it constant from the start of the process right through to the full cloth roll. Continuous digital control is especially important for sensitive fabrics, while performance and productivity are also critical advantages. In this regard, the company’s large-scale batching units can provide ten times the winding capacity of a regular winder integrated in the weaving machine.

The customised concept by Grob as well as design and implementation result in great flexibility and functionality of the fabric winding equipment – yet another example of Swiss ingenuity in textile machinery. 

There is even more innovation to come in weaving – and in other segments – from members of the Swiss Textile Machinery Association in future! This confident assertion is founded on an impressive statistic: the 4077 years of experience behind the creative power of the association’s member firms. It’s proof positive that their developments grow out of profound knowledge and continuous research.

Swissmem is the leading association for SMEs and large companies in Switzerland’s mechanical and electrical engineering (MEM) industries and related technology-oriented sectors. Swissmem enhances the competitiveness of its 1100 or so member companies, both at home and abroad by providing needs-based services. These services include professional advice on employment, commercial, contract and environmental law, energy efficiency and technology transfer. Swissmem operates a number of strong networks, including 27 specialist groups. The Swiss Textile Machinery Association is the oldest division, founded in 1940. It represents the interests of the Swiss textile machinery manufacturers. Swissmem and the Swiss Textile Machinery Association are headquartered in Zurich.

Female Empowerment

To empower women, face up to restrictive masculinities, says new OECD Development Centre report

Addressing restrictive masculinities is essential to advancing gender equality, therefore we need new ways to identify and measure them, according to Man Enough? Measuring Masculine Norms to Promote Women’s Empowerment. The report was launched in the framework of the OECD’s March on Gender series of events.

Masculinities are social constructs, shared by both men and women, that relate to perceived notions about how men behave and are expected to behave. Diverse forms of masculinities coexist across cultures, geographical locations and time. As part of social institutions – formal and informal laws, social norms and practices— some masculinities directly hinder women’s empowerment and gender equality.

“Policies and legal frameworks alone cannot break the gender-stereotyping: we must tackle the hidden drivers of gender inequalities. Measuring and exposing restrictive masculinities can transform the way societies approach the systemic challenges facing women” said Juan Yermo, OECD Chief of Staff. “Collecting the right gender-disaggregated data is key to accelerating our efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development”, he added.

The report analyses two different types of masculinities. Restrictive masculinities are rigid and promote inflexible notions and expectations of what it means to be a real man, but gender-equitable masculinities allow men to take on diverse roles and behaviours, while not limiting women’s agency.

Man Enough? identifies ten norms that characterise restrictive masculinities and produce direct consequences for women’s and girls’ empowerment and well-being.

Within the public sphere, especially economic and political, the report singles out five norms that characterise restrictive masculinities and are widely accepted across cultures. A “real” man should:

‒            Be the breadwinner, working for pay to provide for the material needs of the household

‒            Be financially dominant at work and at home

‒            Work in “manly” jobs, those professions that society defines as “men’s work”

‒            Be the “ideal worker”, prioritising work over all other aspects of life

‒            Be a “manly” leader by cultivating an assertive and space-occupying leadership style

While the domestic sphere has traditionally been treated as the domain of women, restrictive masculinities promote male dominance in the home too. A “real” man should:

‒            Not do unpaid care and domestic work, considering this work as generally “women’s work”

‒            Have the final say in household decisions, being the one at the top of a hierarchy at home

‒            Control and administer household assets specifically productive assets

‒            Protect and exercise guardianship of family members especially women and girls within the household

‒            Dominate sexual and reproductive choices, initiating sexual encounters and making reproductive decisions.

In the economic sphere, for example, these norms undervalue women’s economic contribution and support the view that men’s labour is more important and valuable than theirs. As such, these norms justify women’s exclusion from the labour force, high-status jobs and decision-making positions. In the political sphere, these norms uphold the view that leadership is a masculine characteristic and that men inherently make better leaders than women. In the private sphere, norms defining men’s roles as decision makers minimise women’s and girls’ agency and decision-making power over their time, bodies and resources.

In order to facilitate social transformations towards gender-equitable masculinities, the report proposes to equip policy makers with the ability to measure masculine norms across cultures and geographies. For instance, with the right data, policy makers can better understand the way norms of masculinities are influencing the low uptake of paternity leave. The report puts forward a number of indicators that can be used as proxies to measure and analyse changing masculinities and their impact on women’s empowerment. However, it also underlines that data on masculinities remain unevenly available and incomplete, thus preventing comparisons across countries, regions and time. Man Enough? Measuring Masculine Norms to Promote Women’s Empowerment identifies greater investment in data collection as key to achieve the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

Fuels Future

Swiss Museum of Transport – Powerfuel: Discovering the fuels of the future

By guest author Rainer Klose from Swiss Empa

Together with its partners Avenergy Suisse and Hyundai, Empa is presenting a new permanent exhibition on sustainable fuels of the future at the Swiss Museum of Transport starting in March 2021. Among other things, the focus is on the question: How does green electricity get into the tank? And: Which fuel makes sense for which purpose? In an interactive game, visitors can even virtually produce hydrogen themselves.

Individual mobility is in a constant state of change in the search for ever more energy-efficient solutions. Also changing is the associated infrastructure, such as filling stations. This is because fuel diversification is needed with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions through technical developments. What’s the situation regarding hydrogen-powered mobility? How does a fuel cell vehicle work? How are liquid synthetic fuels produced? Where does Switzerland source its fuels? The new “Powerfuel” thematic display in the Swiss Museum of Transport’s Road Transport Hall provides answers to all these questions. The first hydrogen-powered locomotives and aircraft can be admired on a giant screen.

Making hydrogen virtually

A 4 x 6 metre interactive play area is provided where visitors of all ages can use “body power” to refuel a vehicle with climate-neutral hydrogen by splitting virtual water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. They can also take a step into the fuel future: a Hyundai NEXO Fuel Cell vehicle is on show, and the refuelling process can be tried out on a simulator. The Hyundai NEXO is an all-electric hydrogen fuel cell-powered passenger ca

Fuels from surplus renewable electricity

In order to produce CO2 neutral fuels, surplus electricity from renewable energies must be used, such as from solar plants, wind farms and run-of-river hydroelectric plants. This CO2 neutral electricity is used to produce hydrogen, which is then processed together with CO2 into gaseous and liquid fuels – known as “synfuels”. These have the advantage that they are readily stored and can power conventional diesel and petrol engines. Using its “move” mobility demonstrator in Dübendorf, Empa is researching concepts such as these and trialling the production and use of sustainable fuels in everyday life.

Furnishing Colours

Dongguan 3F Releases 2021-2022 International Trend of Fashion Furnishings Colour Report

The 45th International Famous Furniture Fair (Dongguan) (“Dongguan 3F”) and its strategic partner the China Fashion & Color Association released the 2021-2022 International Trend of Fashion Furnishings Color report on March 16, 2021.

In its exploration of the new season’s major trends, the report draws on comprehensive research to unearth insights into the major movements sweeping the furniture industry, looking at shifts in consumption patterns, design and aesthetics, political, economic, and cultural developments, global events, and cross-cultural hot social topics. Through this wide-ranging scan, the report identifies a major change in consumer motivation. As consumers evolve from being driven by practical considerations to pursuing emotional fulfilment, a new set of emerging needs and aspirations is set to guide the direction of the industry for years to come.

With emotional aspirations playing a greater role than ever in purchase decisions, new consumer values are defining needs and influencing emerging trends and aesthetics. As such, the 2021-2022 International Trend of Fashion Furnishings Color report identifies four major color trends – Naturalism, Positive Perception, Balance of Thinking, and Concise Elements.

To give guidance for industry applications, the report integrates the latest technological advancements in its trend forecast to pave the way for creative design scenarios. Complemented by trends analysis and color boards for inspiration and to realize applications, the report dissects the major industry developments from diverse angles and considerations. It not only reveals forward-looking insights on color trends but it also delivers product implications, enabling real-life design applications and enhancing the competitiveness of enterprises operating in the industry.

As consumer behavior and habits continue to evolve, people are no longer content with function alone. They aspire to be emotionally-fulfilled, paying attention to the value delivered by vibrant colors and exceptional materials. The 2021-2022 International Trend of Fashion Furnishings Color report was released at the Color, Material, and Finishing (CMF) Design Application Creativity Exhibition at this year’s Dongguan 3F. The CMF Exhibition is located in Hall 5.2-6.2 of the Guangdong Modern International Exhibition Center, which puts the spotlight on space design and color trends, integrating CMF with well-known furniture and home textile brands.

Held between March 15-19, this year’s 3F is a complete exhibition and trade platform that capitalizes on the distinct advantages of the Dongguan furniture industry.

Gender  Gap

Bridging the gender gap in science, technology and innovation

OECD news on science, technology and innovation      

Earlier this week, the world came together to commemorate International Women’s Day, an annual celebration of women’s achievements and a call to action to address gender inequalities. Gender-based disparities have been particularly persistent in science, technology and innovation – whether in the laboratory, on the Internet or in classrooms – and it is critical that we work to erase them. The only way to ensure that science and technology shape a more equitable future (and post-COVID-19 recovery) is for everyone to play a part today.

As part of the OECD’s March on Gender campaign, we will be sharing some of our latest gender-related research and analysis throughout the month, and will hold an online webinar on 29 March where experts will discuss the issue of gender bias in artificial intelligence (AI). We hope this work helps to advance the discussion on gender among governments, stakeholders and civil society, and to inform policies that bring us closer to a more gender-balanced world.

Webinar: Gender bias in AI data (March 29, 2021)

Data is the lifeblood of the digital economy and a critical input to AI. But if AI technologies are based on data that does not account for gender biases, they risk perpetuating and exacerbating gender-based inequalities.

Our expert speakers will explore this issue, and the important policy questions it raises, at an upcoming OECD webinar co-hosted by the International Transport Forum.

The panel discussion and Q&A begins at 14:00 (CEST) on March 29, 2021, and will be offered in English with simultaneous interpretation in French and Spanish.

Cross-country data

Ensuring gender equality in AI research and development is another important step towards eliminating biases in AI systems. New cross-country data featured on the OECD AI Policy Observatory sheds light on the gender divide in key areas, including the share of women authors on scientific publications and the prevalence of AI-related skills.

More Information can be had here

Cross-Country AI Skills Penetration Data can be had here

Blog posts

Although much progress has been made in the campaign for gender equality, women still face significant barriers to advancement in the workplace – and this is particularly true for researchers.

Results from our latest International Survey of Scientific Authors show that women are under-represented in research careers – comprising just 40% of all researchers, on average, across OECD and are far less likely to be in positions of leadership. We explore these results in greater detail on our blog, and outline steps that governments can take to bridge the gap.

The Blog on Innovation can be had here

The Blog on Innovation and gender can be found here

Indicators and insights

Our Going Digital Toolkit features the latest data on a number of key gender-related indicators, including Internet usage, skills and behaviour.

Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, it is also a cornerstone of a prosperous, modern society and it serves as a basis for inclusive growth.

More informatiion is available here

Our latest Digital Economy Outlook provides deeper insights into how digital transformation is affecting economies and societies as well as implications for policy, can be had here


Policy can play an important role in narrowing the digital gender gap. Doing so would require co-ordinated policy action to raise awareness and tackle gender stereotypes, enable safer and more affordable access to digital tools, and remove barriers to girls and women’s full participation in the digital world.

We explored these actions and the data that makes them imperative in a report prepared for the G20 on bridging the digital gender divide.

The report is available here

Global Financial Centres Index – Measuring The Competitiveness of The World’s Financial Centres

New York Continues To Head Up The Global Financial Centres Index Ratings – London’s Position challenged by Leading Asian Centres

New York again headed the rankings in the Global Financial Centres Index 29, launched today by Z/Yen Group in partnership with the China Development Institute (CDI) in London and Hong Kong.

London fell to only one point ahead of third place Shanghai.

Hong Kong moved up a place to fourth, one point behind Shanghai, with Singapore in fifth position. Tokyo dropped three places from fourth to seventh.

Frankfurt replaced San Francisco in the top 10 in this edition, gaining seven rank places, perhaps benefiting from the exit of the UK from the European Union.

GFCI 29 shows a relatively high level of stability in the top half of the index, with few centres changing 10 or more places in the rankings. In the lower half of the index, there was more volatility, perhaps reflecting some uncertainty about the resilience of emerging and smaller centres.

The average rating of centres in the index dropped only 3.5 points (-0.55 %) from GFCI 28 (41 points from GFCI 27 to GFCI 28), which may indicate more confidence in the financial system than in the first stages of the covid-19 pandemic.

The fact that overall ratings have not recovered to the levels that we saw in 2019 reflects the continuing uncertainty around international trade, the impact of the covid-19 pandemic, and geopolitical and local unrest.

Nine of the top 10 centres in the index fell in the ratings, with London and Tokyo falling over 10 points. With the top centres dropping, might this be due to central banks taking the reins during covid-19?


• New York continues to lead the FinTech ranking, followed by Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, and London.

• Tel Aviv and Los Angeles enter the top 10.

Professor Michael Mainelli, Executive Chairman of Z/Yen, said:“GFCI 29 ratings have not returned to the levels of 2019, reflecting a welter of instability in international trade, politics, and economics, not least large-scale interventions by central banks and questions about the future treatment of commercial banks, insurers, and payment providers. ‘Building back’ will see major changes to investments and taxation. GFCI is most active on the Pacific Rim. Only 44 points on a thousand point scale separate the top 10 centres. A four point rise would place Singapore second only to New York. It’s tight at the top, and no time for complacency.”
GFCI 29 rates 114 financial centres across the world combining assessments from financial professionals with quantitative data which form instrumental factors.

GFCI 29 uses 65507 financial centre assessments collected from 10774 financial services professionals who responded to the GFCI online questionnaire. The GFCI is updated regularly and ratings change as assessments and instrumental factors change.

To find out more about sponsorship opportunities, joining the Vantage Financial Centres network, further research, and bespoke reports on individual financial centres, please contact us.

Previous Editions
Previous editions of the GFCI can be accessed at:

Long Finance
GFCI is part of the Long Finance initiative (, which undertakes research programmes on Financial Centre Futures, Sustainable Futures, Distributed Futures, Eternal Coin, and Meta-Commerce. Please get in touch for more details on Long Finance.   


UN Office on Drugs and Crime Executive Director Ghada Waly in Bern, Switzerland

On March 18, 2021 in Bern(CH), Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), received the executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Ms Ghada Waly. Talks focused on Switzerland’s and the UNODC’s practices in dealing with corruption and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on the UN offices in Vienna and Geneva.

Ghada Waly

This is Ms Waly’s first official visit to Switzerland since taking office as UNODC executive director in February 2020. The meeting gave Mr Cassis the opportunity to exchange views with this organization combating organised crime, corruption and drug trafficking. The Federal Council adopted its anti-corruption strategy for the 2021-24 period on 25 November last year.

Ms Waly is also director general of the United Nations Office at Vienna, one of the UN’s four headquarters worldwide. During the meeting, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the functioning of the UN offices in Geneva and Vienna was also raised. Mr Cassis reiterated his support for a UN system that is effective even during crisis situations.

Mr Cassis seized the opportunity to speak about the Foreign Policy Strategy 2020-2023 and other strategies recently adopted by Switzerland. He highlighted the Digital Foreign Policy Strategy (2021-2024) and planned measures to boost International Geneva in this area.