Understanding Welfare State

The welfare state is a concept of government in which state play a key role in the promotion and protection of economic and social well-being of people. It is based on the principles of equitable distribution of wealth, social responsibility, and equality of opportunity. The general term may cover many forms of social and economic organization.

A fundamental characteristic of the welfare state is social insurance. Such insurance is financed by compulsory contribution and is meant to provide benefits to families and persons during times of greatest need. In practice, however, the cash benefits fall short of the levels anticipated by the designers of the strategies.

The welfare state also includes the provision of health services, basic education, and housing. In these respects, the concept is more extensive in the western European nations than in the U.S, featuring in many cases provision of state-subsidized education and comprehensive health coverage.

The main problems in administering welfare state include determining the needed levels of service provision by state, equitable provision of resources to fund the services, ensuring efficiency in the operation of bureaucracies and state monopolies, and ensuring contribution meets the needs of families and individuals while at the same time providing enough incentive for productive work.

Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau is a French term meaning ‘New Art’. As you can interpret from its name, art nouveau was a completely new genre of art that was brought up in the world by Alphonse Mucha and became very popular during 1890-1910. Art Nouveau pieces mostly contained subjects such as plants(flowers), women, natural elements, and was also famous for its curved lines.

Art Nouveau was suitable and generally used for posters for plays or ad posters because most of the art nouveau paintings were composed of big calligraphic letters and pictures that focused on the model. As Art Nouveau became popular it began to be used by a diverse of fields such as architecture, jewelry, furniture, textile, and is now accepted as total art.

Many of Europe’s architectures tend to have the image of art nouveau because of the many   artists who were active during the 20th century. Antoni Gaudi, who is famous for the unique style of structure such as the Casa Batillo  or Casa Milla, is also a artist who was influenced by Art Nouveau, and old buildings of  cities like Prague(which is the hometown of Alphonse Mucha) are  also built in a Art Nouveau style.

For this blog post I wanted to write about my favourite style of art which is Art Nouveau because recently I got to know the name of it. I like pretty much all of the components of this art style- women who seem to have skin like peaches and cream, their pink cheeks, curved lines that visually comforts me, and all the nature in the paintings- but of all those features, I especially like the antique colour of the paintings. I love how all the subjects of the paintings are outlined with mute toned blue colours which makes the main subject pop out from the background but would still go together nicely.

Related Artists: Alphonse Mucha, Gustav Klimt, Antoni Gaudi, Toorop Jan, Aristide Maillol

The Role of Government in the Economy

A government is very important in shaping a country’s economic direction. The government supports the economy when it enhances communication and transport via highways and postal service, and establishes the military and police to protect life and property. State or local government also supports the economy by building roads and funding education.

Government’s makes rules that ensure trade and businesses operate in the best interests of the public. For example, the government may permit a monopoly to operate in an industry or market with little competition, but limit the freedom of such company to increase prices. Such act helps to avoid adversely affecting consumers who would have no recourse.

A government also devises monetary policies to control the growth of the economy. By adjusting tax rates and interest rates, controlling access to credit, and controlling circulation of money, the government can control the decline of the economy or the inflation. Similarly, the economy is affected when the government provides certain businesses special treatment, such as imposing higher taxes on imports or limiting foreign competition in a certain market to boost domestic production.

Women’s Rights Improving in Africa

Initially, gender inequality was very common in Africa. Women had to face female genital mutilation and sexual and gender violence. Some time back, even male political leaders in Africa could marry child brides and abuse their partners in public.

Africa women did not just seat around waiting for someone to fight for their rights. Decades of fighting have greatly seen the life of women improving in Africa. For instance, last year, Ugandan women held a protest against the anti-pornography law and challenged its constitutionality in court. When women in Kenya were stripped, they held a demonstration to assert their right to wear the clothes they want. In Nigeria, women took to the streets when the “˜Chibok girls’ were kidnapped.

After a long struggle for gender equality, political representation of women in Africa is rising. With the help of women’s rights movement, a girl child is now educated. Many girls are now becoming lawyers, teachers, journalist, engineers, and doctors.

What Did Women Gain after the Arab Spring in Arab World?

Discrimination of women in the Arab world is common and many activists hoped that Arab Spring would improve women’s rights. During the revolution, women activists came from all social classes. They were well organized and aggressively participated in Arab uprising. To demand change and gender equality, some women protested with their children.

During the revolution, participation of women side-by-side with male protestors helped to lessen gender differences and created a sense of equality. Women made their voice heard during the Arab spring revolutions at many levels. Women played a very significant role in the revolution that begun in 2011 and ended in 2013. It is believed that about a fifth of the demonstrators who brought down President Mubarak government were women.

In Egypt, a new constitution was crafted. The document is good because it has addressed issues related to women. The Egyptian new constitution is evidence that women demand for gender equality bore fruits during the Arab Spring. For the first time, women issues have been taken seriously. For instance, in 2014 in Egypt, a man was sentenced for taking photos of woman asleep on a bus.

Fight for Gender Equality in Japan

Before the 19th century, women in Japan were taught to obey a male: husband, father, brother and even a son. In addition, Japanese women were prohibited, by law, from expressing political views, attending political meetings, and joining political parties.

The first proponents for women’s rights in Japan advocated for reforms in the patriarchal society that was oppressing women. Later, women’s rights advocates begun to fight for voting rights or political inclusion. The key women rights activists were Shidzue Katō, Fusae Ichikawa, Shigeri Yamataka and Hiratsuka Raichō. The fight against women suppression bore fruits when women were allowed to participate in politics in 1921. After women were allowed to participate in political assemblies, a number of women’s interest groups emerged.

In 1970, a new women’s liberation movement emerged called ūman ribu (woman lib). The movement criticized the male-dominated nature of Japan and asked for a fundamental change in the political-economic system in Japan in order to recognize the rights of women.

In 1979, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. This convention was ratified by Japanese government in 1985.

Feminist Movement in 1960-1970s in America

In the 1960’s, women were limited in almost everything in America. A woman was expected to marry in her 20’s, start a family and devote her whole life to homemaking. Women were subjected to their husbands, and they had no legal right to the property of their husbands, apart from limited right to care and support. About 38 percent of women who worked in 1960’s were limited to jobs as nurse, secretary, or teacher.

Beginning in 1960s, the feminist movement focused on ending workplace inequality, salary inequality and denial of access to good jobs. They did this by protesting against discriminative laws. The feminist movement sought equality of women on both personal and political level.

Today, we see a lot of gains of the feminist movements. These gains include equal access to education for men and women, existence of resources to help rape and domestic violence victim, increased participation of women in the workplace and politics, and legal protection of rights of women.