Normalising paternity leave

‘Mapping paid paternity leave’ (Dietrich, 2016)

Through history it was always the woman taking care of the new-born baby and household. However, we live in the 21st century now and times changed our society drastically. What is ok and normal today was completely different just a few decades ago. So why is it still not a norm for fathers to go on paternity leave? Society can still portray these men too feminine and therefore weak (Dietrich, 2015). How does actually caring for your family and being a good father make anyone less masculine is a mystery to me. Men are also generally portrayed as not able to take care of their children and household properly, which is not necessarily true and might even be down to the fact that they are not given the chance (Dermott, 2001). After all, parenthood is something nobody can learn from books but only really by trying and learning from their own mistakes. The society does not consider women who stay at work and let their partners take care of the baby normal either and face judgement as ‘bad mothers’.

In times where gender pay gap and lack of opportunities for women is a big theme, women would be given the possibility to focus on their career paths and have children and a family at the same time. More and more fathers are willing to go on paternity leave, and many countries have stepped up and made it more possible for couples to choose. Some countries moved forward enough to be a good example. Iceland has 3 mandatory months for each – a new mother and a new father – and another 3 months which they can divide between the two however they please. Scandinavian countries have similar system allowing both parents to spend some time off with their new-born (Weller, 2016). Even the UK allows men and women to share parental leave and divide it between the two. Until recently it has been just 2 weeks.(GOV.UK, 2018).

It has been established that gender bias may reduce economic growth (O’Brian and Williams, 2013). The governments allowing paternity leave and making it easier for men to access is the first step towards making it a norm among people, it is now down to breaking society stereotypes and making it a more common sight. It should be every person’s choice, man or a woman, to decide whether it is them, or their partner to stay at home and it pushes us closer to gender equality.


Dermott, E. (2001). New fatherhood in practice? Parental leave in the UK. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 21(4/5/6), pp.145-164.

Dietrich,A. (2015). 10 Things you need to know to talk about parental leave
Anna Mracek Dietrich. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Dec. 2018].

GOV.UK. (2018). Shared Parental Leave and Pay. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Dec. 2018].

O’Brien, R. and Williams, M. (2013). Global political economy. 4th ed. pp.200-205.

Weller, C. (2016). These 10 countries have the best parental leave policies in the world. [online] Business Insider. Available at: [Accessed 7 Dec. 2018].

Poverty in the US – the unbreakable cycle?

Poverty in developed countries isvery different from the poverty we see in charity commercials about developingcountries in Africa or Asia. The kind of society people live in developed countrieslike the USA puts social pressure on them by setting different expectations. People might not ‘fit in’ the society by not being able to socialise in acertain way or not owning what is considered basic such as a phone. That oftenlowers people’s opportunities in employment or education. Living in constanteconomic uncertainty also causes stress and can lead to depression and anxiety.That applies to the lucky ones who can at least afford food and livingexpenses. Homelessness in rich, developed countries, mainly in big cities, ison the rise and homeless people face even more problems. People often,unfortunately, inherit poverty by growing up in such condition and canunwillingly pass it down on their children again.

‘The minimumwage job’ (Konopacki, 2001)

The US education is often looked down to, but there is a reason behind the quality of the education. The local community finances public schools in the US. If a school belongs in a poor community, the funding will reflect on the quality of the education and lower the students’ opportunities (Zeichner, 2014). If the students do not manage to get a degree, their chances in employment and the chance to break out of the poverty falls. The chances of getting a good job are very thin even for young people with degrees today. The demands employers have today require experience and ridiculously high qualifications. The only ways to get experience in most cases is either by luck and connections or unpaid internships. People often get themselves into enormous debts to be able to pay for their university fees. The prices for higher education in the US rocketed up by more than 160% in the past 30 years (Martin, 2017). Young people are often unable to pay these debts off, especially if they do accept an unpaid internship. Minimum wage jobs or low paid positions which people often have no choice but accept are no help either. Young people often end up working in a ‘regular’ job outside their field of study, simply because of the reliable – although often low- income, which gives them the security of knowing that one day they will be able to pay off the debt and somewhat get by.

The middle class in the US is awidely affected group. There must be something wrong if people can barely covertheir necessary expenses even if they work way too many hours or have two jobs.The jobs these people can get are often minimum wage which is by far notenough. It is especially difficult for families — parents who want to sendtheir kids on day trips or assure that they are not getting bullied for beingdifferent because of clothes and other possessions. Or those frowned upon forbeing bad parents because of feeding their children fast food, when a healthydiet is just too expensive for many families. Single parent families,especially female-headed households are more likely to live in poverty. (O’Brian, Williams, 2013) In 2015, 13.5% of thepopulation (43.1 million people) in the US lived under the poverty line(Ortiz-Ospina, 2017). The governments often shift the blame to the individualsfor not working hard enough. That only undermines the mental situation of thesepeople.

Homelessness is the extreme level of poverty and is much more difficult to measure, but approximately 7% of the population in the US is or has been homeless. (Ortiz-Ospina, 2017). It’s even more difficult for homeless people to get out of their situation. These people are often in severe physical and mental health. Even with shelters and social care, it takes a long time to help them recover, if ever. There are very little employers willing to give them the vacancies since they are not able to secure themselves properly. People who are poor are more likely to receive benefits than people who’ve been homeless previously or are homeless currently, too (Wenzel, Koegel and Gelberg, 2000). Although there have been attempts by the US government to tackle poverty and homelessness, it barely made any change, and the USA remains to be a stable, developed country with the weakest social safety net.

Poverty in developed countries isdifferent to poverty in developing parts of the world, and it is hard even tocompare two developed countries, however, it is still a problem. People fromthe middle class often work ridiculous hours for minimum wage to get somewhatby and often are in debt. They cannot compare to the ones coming from wealthybackgrounds as their way up is way more difficult and takes more time. Theseinequalities and social issues are not tackled well enough and are often lookedover as the government doesn’t take any responsibility. It is a vicious cyclethat is difficult to break.

Markéta Ilavská M00646385 


Konopacki, M. (2001) ‘The minimum wage job’ [Cartoon]. Available at: (Accessed: 09 November 2018).

Martin, E. (2017). Here’s how much more expensive itis for you to go to college than it was for your parents. [online] CNBC. Available at: (Accessed 1 Dec. 2018).

O’Brien, R. and Williams, M. (2013). Global political economy. 4th ed. pp.212-217.

Ortiz-Ospina, E. (2017). Extreme poverty in rich countries: what we know and what we don’t know. [online] Our World in Data. Available at: (Accessed 7 Nov. 2018).

Ortiz-Ospina, E. (2017). Homelessness and poverty in richcountries. [online] Our World in Data. Available at: (Accessed 7 Nov. 2018).

Wenzel, S., Koegel, P. and Gelberg, L. (2000). ‘Antecedents of Physical and Sexual Victimization Among Homeless Women: A Comparison to Homeless Men’. American Journal of Community Psychology, 28(3), pp.367-390.

Zeichner, K. (2014). ‘The struggle for the soul of teaching and teacher education in the USA’. Journal of Education for Teaching, pp.1-18.

Profit driven catastrophe

The emergence of Globalisation is a major subsiding factor of the rapid expansion of global production which has consequently led to the rise of transnational companies. Transnational companies are a ‘significant actor in the global production system accounting for 50% of world trade’ (O’Brien. R, Williams. M 2016: 127). Structural changes have effectively increased transnational companies’ power on the international stage. Technology is the main attribute of the growth of transnational companies, but cannot be narrowed down as the only factor as finance, politics, advancement of transport and communications all play a significant role. This has created a growing concern in global political economy as it is feared that globalisation has fuelled the rise of transnational corporate feudalism.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is key policy that is widely used amongst multinational companies in exploiting global production to achieve better economy of scales. Foreign direct investment is not a new phenomenon, the basic fundamentals of the economic policy have been around for some centuries. However, the magnitude has increased drastically in recent years and has become an ‘important indicator and driving force of economic globalisation’(Drahokoupil.J).Majority of transnational companies put use of this policy by outsourcing or offshoring operational services abroad to a developing country. The policy has caused dividing opinions over economic benefits and ethical issues to the host country.

China has been a country that has benefited greatly from FDI by embracing ‘globalisation of manufacturing’ (Ravenhill. J, 2014: 187). China is the leading destination of foreign transnational companies to invest as they are known as the “world factory”; resulting US$129 billion in FDI (in 2014). Additionally, foreign invested enterprises account for ‘22% of industrial profit whilst employing 10% of labour (The world bank, 2010). This has helped stimulate the economy and inevitable increase the GDP. In the long run it has run increased the standard of living and eventually led to a tax bracket increase. However, China’s success story has been worrisome because as they continue to grow Chinese companies global dominance has to, with over half of the Chinese companies in the fortune 500 . Subsequently this has increased their global economic power but consequently reduced the chances of attracting investors as manufacturing service cost increases and technology advancement pushes them out of the competitive market as companies move to other countries where they can achieve better economies of scales. This has led to China to take on a more selective approach to attract the right kind of FDI to move them out of the manufacturing sector to the tertiary sector to rebalance the economy and move up the value chain (The world bank, 2010).

There is no international law on governing transnational corporations which could effectively minimize or contain their power. The world trade organisation is the only form of regulated body that helps in the overseeing of global trade. However, it has been heavily criticised as the system is most ‘favourable to the most powerful members and developing countries are pressurised in demonstrating their commitment to the existing economic order’ (Baylis. J, Smith. S and Owens. P 2017: 457). Therefore, transnational corporations use this to their advantage to exploit developing countries as they will do anything to stay in the global market. Overall, this undermines states sovereignty as they are effectively governed by transnational companies. Transnational companies are therefore institutions of global governance.

Well established multinational companies like, Apple, Nike and Primark all outsource to either Foxconn or Raza plaza in order to improve their economies of scales due to low labour cost. They have faced huge backlash from the public due to ethical practices in the host countries. In Bangladesh, the fall of the poorly constructed building Raza plaza  resulted in approximately 1,021 deaths by negligence and 2,500 injured (BBC, 2013). This incident could have been prevented if appropriate health and safety precautions were carried out. Foxconn is another factory under the spotlight in relation to 18 of Apple’s workers suicides and poor sweatshops working conditions (The guardian 2017). Since these incident occurred very little changes have been carried out to improve the living standards of workers. More so, multinational companies take advantage of loose legislation of workers right in developing countries by having poor working conditions and low wages in order to maximise profits. This is something they are unable to do in developed countries because of legislation protecting workers right so why do it to another. The exploitation of developing nations demonstrates clearly that multinational companies are the main source of inequality on international stage, as they discriminate between the developed and developing nations.

Transnational companies play a major role in the global market therefore it is as necessary evil that we must uphold. We can however increase the responsibility of corporations, so they can cater for the need of the society and workers instead of being driven solely on profit. This can be achieved through the idea of corporate social responsibility. The UN global compact attempts to address this issue through the ten principles acting as global mechanism to achieve corporate sustainability, which will hold businesses responsible in areas of human rights , labour, environment and anti-corruption( United Nations global compact). This will help contain the power of transnational companies and lead to a responsible capitalist system.

Globalisation has fuelled the rise of transnational corporate feudalism.


1. Baylis. J, Smith. S and Owens. P (2017), The globalisation of world politics: an introduction to international relations, Oxford, seventh edition
2. BBC news (2013), ‘Bangladesh factory toll collapse passes 1,000’ available at: accessed 1st December 2018
3. Drahokoupil.J, foreign direct investment, available at : accessed: 1st of December 2018
4. Fortune 500, ‘Full list’, available at: accessed: 1st of December 2018
5. O’Brien. R, Williams. M (2016), Global political economy, Macmillan education: Palgrave, 5th edition
6. Ravenhill. J,(2014) , Global political economy, Oxford Press university , 5th edition
7. The guardian ( 2017) , ‘ life and death in Apple’s forbidden city’, available at: accessed 1st of December 2018
8. United Nations global compact, ‘ The ten principles of the UN global compact ‘, Available at: accessed: 1st of December 2018
9. World bank (2010), foreign direct investment – the China story, available at: accessed: 1st of December 2018

M00563651 – S.S

Migrants are not actors of the GPE

“Migrants are not actors of the global political economy,

 But social beings willing to endure considerable hardships to support their families” – Stephen Castles

History shows migration has always been there. However, from 1950s and onward, the strong influence of migration into the US and western Europe helped set conditions, in the welfare state, under which migration and minorities formation took place.

The significant rise of the neo-liberalism from the 1980s brought major changes in the welfare states, and migrants and minorities often suffered the most from such changes. They come in sizes, and are marginalised individuals arising from recent immigration and this was a crucial factor of neoliberal reform. Each country within Europe has undergone many national situations and political approaches, varying in experiences whether in class struggle, colonialism or territorial expansion, it has nevertheless shaped the existing welfare ideologies and policies.  ‘These differences have been important factors in shaping the ways in which migrants and minorities have been incorporated into societies’ (Philips, 2011). Regardless of these differences, all of these approaches were changed under neoliberal practice such as trade liberalisation, also in the Europeanisation of economic and social policies.

During the transformation, a new term, “Islamophobia” developed and is now ubiquitous. Therefore, many political groups united, circulating their political movement on ‘problems of immigration’. Soon was accompanied by the term “terrorism”, and the growth of securitisation of migration and asylum policies were in demand. Though it was grievance that the migrants and minorities carried amongst themselves over social exclusion and stigmatisation in terms of race, culture, ethnicity and religion, which was the cause of violent urban uprisings, such as those that took place in Paris and across France in 2005 and 2007, and in Copenhagen and other areas of Denmark in 2008. (Philips,2011)

“Refugees are not terrorists. They are often the first victims of terrorism.” — António Manuel deOliveira Guterres

Many of them Migrants and Minorities are refugees. In the recent years, due to violence across many nations (e.g. Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia), resulting in the outcomes of war and instability have caused mass migration to Europe. For example, Germany has taken well over a million refugees, but now is in migrant crisis by many right-winged political party who wants a stop to it (DW and The Washington Post, 2018). People flee from conflict, from threat,from environments of insecurity which is unmanageable and they will continue to flee from such conditions in the hope to find a level of stability, and Europe will continue to face large stream of migrant refugees.

“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.” — Warsan Shire

In autumn of 2015, the reports stated that 644,000 migrant refugees crossed the Mediterranean and 3,135 of them brave individuals have lost their lives at the sea while reaching to Europe. Marking it one of the greatest tragedy, 800 people alone died just off the coast of Lampedusa (Baldwin-Edwards and Papadopaulos, 2018). Syria, by far, has had the deadliest crisis in the 21stcentury and an end to this brutality is nowhere near to be seem.  Syria’s death toll is lost in the fog of war.In 2016, a United Nations official said 400,000 people had been killed. With 6.1 million internally displaced people and 4.8 million seeking refuge abroad(Human Rights Watch, 2017). Yet an exact number is unknown. These are not numbers, these are lives with respiratory system, circulatory system, a brain full of ideas and dreams and a heart full of love. They are just like those in a stable and developed country, capable of contributing towards an economy’s growth, the only difference is that fate has taken its toll on them.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

Image from IOM, (2018): Migrant Stories

Ali and his family are just one example amongst the thousands and millions of heart-breaking stories. This is a very recent story in 3/9/2018, where a Kurdish man, with his wife and 3 children, are searching and searching with great patience, for a safe haven for their families. He says, “We were in danger there and had no choice but to flee. We first moved to Afrin, in Syria, but were forced to move once again in March 2018. That is when we started our journey to Greece. We want nothing more than security, safety and a better future for our children.”

For more stories, go to:

“It is the obligation of every person born in a safer room to open the door when someone in danger knocks.” — Dina Nayeri

Irregular migration (illegal emigration) has been tackled for years. The European Council partnered with countries of origin and campaigned against this type of migration during the first decade of the 21stcentury. The EU also had policies on migration, the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility in 2005, and had programmes to cooperate with countries of origin to address irregular flows, trafficking and organised crimes and helped by giving development aid and financial support (Baldwin-Edwards, 2018).The EU strategy of controlling sea borders worked from 2000-2011. However, by late 2012, these policies started to show some cracks. Millions of Syrian refugees’displacement started in 2011, it began to have an impact on Greece (a country with deep economic problems and no functioning asylum system). In March 2011,the NATO-led coalition began a military invention in Libya and this led to the fall of the government and a crisis initiated. The consequence of this was a large number of irregular migration across the central Mediterranean. (Baldwin-Edwards,2018)

Migration is a very huge issue in every possible way, not in just a physical way, it has psychological impact on each migrants and citizens welcoming or unpleasant with this. Children and young people are most vulnerable to mental health problems and in Ramel et al. (2015), it was recognised that “unaccompanied refugee minors (URMs) have high levels of psychiatric symptoms (Papadopaulos, 2018). The European Agenda main interest and effort is put into protecting human rights in the schemes for refugee relocation and resettlement. The aim included to relocate 40,000 people from Italy and Greece and an additional 20,000 people from outside the EU. Although,this only reflects a tiny fraction of those in need of international protection(Baldwin-Edwards, 2018). Nevertheless, it was pointed as a success in political achievement. The migrant crisis only continue to grow because inequality still exists openly, increase in unequal ethnic division of labour, unequal access to civil, social and political rights and discriminatory migration management. The compatibility in measures for the social inclusion for migrants and minorities is a delusion. The main purpose of the US and the EU is to achieve economic and political goals of global capitalism and a target of creating a new European identity through pursuing a powerful notion of citizenship.

“It affects and involves us all, and what it needs is understanding, compassion and political will to come together and find real answers for the refugee plight. This has become a defining challenge of our times.” — Filippo Grandi


  1. Philips, N. (2011), ‘Migration in the Global Political Economy’, Lynne Rienner Publishers, Colorado and London, p.15-40
  2. Baldwin-Edwards, M. (2018), ‘The Politics of evidence-based policy in Europe’s migration crisis’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, p.1-19
  3. Papadopoulos, I. (2018), ‘ European refugee crisis: psychological trauma of refugees and care givers’, Emerald Publishing Limited, p. 1-21
  4. Global Giving (2018);
  5. DW, “Refugee numbers in Germany dropped dramatically in 2017”, (2018);
  6. The Washington Post, “What you need to know about Germany’s immigration crisis”, (2018);
  7. Human Rights Watch (2017);
  8. International Organisation For Migration (2018);

M.F. M00642759

Playing on the Government’s Team

Should individuals who can shoot a ball well influence change in a country, and, if change is good, should the government support them?

(Clay Jones, 2018)

Specific athletes in the US have taken social issue awareness and funding into their own hands. An example being Basketball star LeBron James, who opened up a public school in Ohio, where he grew up. It is one of the best opportunities attending kids and their families will ever have to escape social hardships; students will have free uniforms, free meals, free tuition to the University of Akron (in Ohio) if they get accepted once graduating High school, and more. Families ofStudents will have access to GED programs as well as an always stocked food pantry in case they don’t have the means to feed their kids (Zahn, 2018). This all stemmed from LeBron’s personal struggles growing up, knowing what kids inOhio may be going through, and wanting to give kids a chance he didn’t have.James missed 83 days of school in the fourth grade as him and his mother had to live couch to couch for months, so he gave kids free transportation to school.He had to ride his bike fast through rough neighbourhoods at times to avoid gangs, so he is giving every student a free bicycle when they attend school. He will make an impact that the state of Ohio can’t for those kids, and that isn’t a knock on the ability of the state of Ohio, it is just an amazing thing he is doing.

He isn’t the only athlete to act this way, NFL player Chris Long donated his entire salary in 2017, to fund scholarships in his home town in Virginia (Hess,2018). NFL player JJ Watt raised over $41 Million in hurricane relief for the state of Texas after Hurricane Harvey, making it the largest crowd fundraiser in world history (Houston Texans, 2018).

All of these positive impacts are objectively great, and these athletes should have every right to help the public out the way they have, but what happens when the public disagree with what some athletes are doing to help?

Around theUS there is a debate over one former Football player, Collin Kaepernik, who famously knelt during the national anthem in order to protest police brutality, and it has divided millions. He used his profession as a stage to get a message out that he felt there was an injustice in his country, using a non-violent form of protest to exercise his right to free speech. Yet people have become violent over this topic and fans have even petitioned their teams to not sign the player to the roster, all over a non-violent protest during a song. He used his influence, the way athletes globally do, to stand up(or kneel) for something he felt was an injustice, and got berated for it,essentially losing him his job. Even the President of the Unites States doesn’t support this man’s means of protest. Is there hypocrisy from the system that idolises athletes when they are on the field and when they are donating and crowdsourcing money but are willing to turn on them when they disagree, rather than have a conversation? Trump also responded to LeBron James’ school by saying “I like Mike” which is a shot at LeBron that someone else was better at basketball than he was, completely irrelevant but divisive all the same. This is similar to Jones’ point how the government can “demonise”a group of people in order to change the conversation. (Jones, 2011)

So, when is it ok for the Government to allow athletes to fund things they cannot and to try and cause social changes for the better? I say always, because athletes are helpful, and I do not feel it is the role of the government to then divide the country by trying to rewrite these acts as unpatriotic or “a terrible message” when they don’t agree with them.

Ben C McArdle M00688707

Jones, C., The Week, 2018. [Accessed December 2018] Available at:

Zahn, M., Inside LeBron James’ New $8 Million Public School, Where Students get freeBikes, Meals, and College Tuition, Money, 31st July 2018. [AccessedDecember 2018] Available at:

Hess, A., Why Super Bowl Winner Chris Long Donated his entire 2017 salary to Charity,CNBC, 5th February 2018. [Accessed December 2018] Available at:

J.J. Watt Foundation Announces Hurricane Harvey Recap and 2018-19 plans, Houston Texans, April 27th 2018. Accessed December 2018] Available at:

Jones, O., ‘Class Warriors,’ Chavs: The demonization of the working class. 2011 [Accessed December 2018]

Hyperlink1:Roling, C., 10 Current Athletes who are ridiculously charitable, BleacherReport, 8th August 2016. [Accessed December 2018] Available at:

Hyperlink 2:

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Hyperlink 6:

Are we Moving From an Arab Spring to Enter a Western Winter

A violent protest in a capital city in Europe, can that be possible? Its shocking, I know 

This photo is from Brussels yellow vest protest  |  Photo Credit: AP

The city of lights Arc de Triomphe daubed with graffiti, and the Champs Elysee cloaked in clouds of tear gas and water cannon on Saturdays.

The yellow vest movement has been protesting for weeks due to the rise of taxes especially on fuel (Sky News, 2018). The price of fuel has increased by 23% this year, and the yellow vest protesters are frustrated and tried to voice their opinion the past few weeks (Duncan, 2018).

© Valat/EPA, via Shutterstock

In the past few weeks, protesters from the yellow vest movement have been swiping the city of light. However, in Saturday the protest has dramatically switched to a violent protest that resembles the Egyptian revolution during the Arab Spring in 2011. 

The yellow vest protest started almost two weeks ago, and on Tuesday the 27th of November Emmanuel Macron held his meeting in the Elysee Palace. The outcome of the meeting was not as expected from a democratic president. The reason for that is because he did not take the yellow vest complaints into consideration and has just shut them off and left for the G20 summit in Argentina. 

Basically president Emmanuel Macron ignored the protesters. Macron did not address the yellow vest protesters adequately and did not acknowledge the yellow vest concerns. Instead during a meeting in the French capital Macron said 

“What I've taken from these last few days is that we shouldn't change course, because it is the right one and necessary” (Macron,2018) 

To clear things out the yellow vest movement don’t follow any party in France. Instead, they are ordinary people who are getting impacted by the increase in taxation on fuel. After Macrons meeting the yellow vest protesters provoked an angry protest against the french president.

The yellow vest protesters came from different ruler areas around the city to showcase their frustration and shifted from being angry at tax rise to criticising the living costs and President Macron’s economic policies. The protest turned violent, Police fired tear gas, water cannon, stunned grenades and in return protesters burned cars and put buildings on fire. An RT reporter was injured while broadcasting the rally. On Saturday the protest shifted from being angry at tax rise to cliticising Macron’s economic policies (BBC,2018). 

© (L) lucas_rtfrance / Twitter; (R) Reuters / Stephane Mahe

The protest on Saturday shifted to Brussels. A group of yellow vest protesters in Brussel stormed in the capital to attack the prime minister’s office. For the same reason as the yellow vest in France, they are against the green tax and living cost in the country. (Telegraph,2018). Protesters burned police cars and blocked tunnels in the city, and the yellow vest protesters in France closed the tunnel on the French-Italian border. (Bellamy,2018).

What has been happening in Europe the past few weeks was a disaster for a region that is known for its democracy. In the book, A Theory of Global Capitalism Robinson indicates that economic change has always involved political and social changes. That is what happened in Europe. The increased taxation on fuel created an uprise for many citizens in France and Belgium. 

The spread of the yellow vest movement from France to Brussel is an example of what David Harvey calls “Time-space compression”. We are living in a transnational social structure know a day, and it is a complexed phenomenon. The protest in France sparked due to facebook groups ( MCNICOLL, 2018) and it has reached Brussel. Facebook has also helped the formation of Arab Spring. We are living in a time where time and space are decaying because of technology. 

Reference list

AlJazeera (2018) France’s Macron seeks to review fuel taxes amid violent protests. Available at:

BBC (2018) France fuel protests: Tear gas fired in clashes in Paris. Available at:

Bellamy  , D. (2018) ‘Yellow vest protests close tunnel on French-Italian border ‘, euronews. Available at:

Duncan, C. (2018) ‘Paris protests: Emmanuel Macron orders PM to hold talks with ‘yellow vests’ protesters after violent clashes’, The independent.  Available at:

MCNICOLL, T. (2018) France’s ‘Yellow Vests’: How Facebook fuels the fight. Available at:

Telegraph (2018) Brussels protesters attack PM’s office as Paris braces for more ‘yellow vest’ unrest Available at:

William I. Robinson ‘The Transnational State’ A Theory of Global Capitalism: Production, Class and State in a Transnational World (Johns Hopkins 2004) Chapter 3.

Huda Al Thani


Why are populist parties rising?

Ina hotly debated topic that often divides opinions we will be discussing why and how populist parties are rising in recent years. First of all, it is worth considering that some may see this as a natural shift in view points and therefor it is inevitable for people to look for alternative parties to support.We will try and identify what factors have led to the rise in extremist parties and some of the social and economic reasons. We will be investigating the rise of populism within Europe and the USA and how it could possibly be leading to other parts of the world.

We have seen populist parties rising all around Europe for the last couple of years, but the question is why? We can argue that people like myself feel so desensitised from politics, where we feel as if parties are catering to the rich and wealthy of our society and therefor disregarding the needs and issues of the working and lower middle class. To add on we can express that sometimes governments are reluctant to discuss and debate problems that are felt by working class citizens. Whereas populist parties are offering limelight on these issues mainly targeted or felt by the lower classes. This could be due to the downfall of governments not addressing issues that a lot of the citizens are trying to push for example the migrant crisis, or the “open boarder” situation here in the UK and more Importantly economic instabilities. Another example is (Christiansen and Christiansen, 2018) explains that during the 2013 elections in Italy the 5 Star Movement and Northern League who are notoriously known for being populist alternative parties managed to get more than half of the votes. This also conveys that people are looking for parties that represent their views or highlight issues that the mainstream parties might not be. Populist parties often take a more extreme viewpoint on issues which could be said to be a core reason why they attract more voters. This could also suggest that it may potentially become a trend in global party politics as we have already seen evidence of this in Europe.

It has also been addressed in the (, 2018) article about populism that “the West seems to belong to the populists. Only the brave would bet against them after the year they’ve had” this also amplifies the idea that populist parties are here to stay and now becoming a normal part of today’s political atmosphere. The article also goes on to say that Nigel Farage former UKIP leader goes on to say “ever more “massively” in personalities, not formal titles. What keeps it alive is the charisma of those who possess it, their ability to rally the masses and make deals and connections as expediency dictates” this is can help identify why populist parties are rising as we can suggest that when people are voting for alternative parties there is always a ring leader or someone who everyone instantly identifies with the party or with the issues they are highlighting. This has been done with President Donald Trump who during the 2016 presidential elections was known for his comments on issues such as the immigration issues and terrorism. Some can also say his radical solutions to problems such as building a wall on the Mexican border to deter illegal immigrants from crossing the border helped him gain more popularity and voters.

We can see that populist actors or parties obviously know now to attract voters with their hard-hitting policies and statements, they are designed to hit the voters emotionally to create discussion and anger in some cases. Taggarts view on populist parties (2000, cited in Kessel, 2015) explains that “Populist parties are ‘chameleonic’ in the sense that they adopt an ideological ‘colour’ and focus on issues relevant to their specific context” this also backs up the idea that populist parties are able to meet the demands of the voters as they are smaller political parties and therefor able to highlight certain issues where as bigger political parties have to cater towards the majority of the voters.

To conclude everything up from what we have been able to take to gather is that populism has risen to fill the gaps that parliament often creates, for example to the disconnection between the Politicians where (Heywood, 2013) explains when talking about political parties and politicians “sometimes to be a breakdown in trust “ he expands his thoughts to say that “hostility is based on a common perception that established political elites are ‘out-of-touch’, ‘privileged’, ‘corrupt’ or ‘self-serving’, anti-political groups and movements have taken very different forms.” This can be argued one of the main reasons for the growth in populist parties is in some way a way of the voters to show their lack of support or to some extent rebellion against the typical political parties. So, to finish off we can blame a few things, socially the lack of communication and connect felt by voters and their representatives, to the worries of the working class and middle-class voters, to representatives not prioritising or not speaking out more about issues that these citizens are worried about for example their finances to immigration. These are just a few reasons why people are reaching out and supporting the growth and popularity of populist parties.


Christiansen, J. and Christiansen, J. (2018). Populism in the UK. [online] Adam Smith Institute. Available at: [Accessed 6 Dec. 2018].

Heywood, A. (2013) Politics. Available at: (Accessed: 9 December 2018). (2018). How Populism Is Splitting Europe. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Dec. 2018].

Kessel,S. (2015). Populist Parties in Europe. London: Palgrave MacmillanUK.


Why Feminism Should Only Focus on Developing Countries – A Case Against the Insane Agenda of Western Radical Feminists

Feminism that once was a struggle for women to have the right to vote has been radicalized and is all about misandry even though there are many real issues that women face today. We can see terms like “toxic masculinity” and “male privilege” in the media constantly, which is insane. For example, who fights the wars? Mostly men. Men usually lose custody cases; more men are in prisons than women and more women attend universities than men, all of this is the case in western countries, the issues are different in the developing world. So, there is plenty of issues where women are more well of than men. (Crowley, 2014) argues that feminism is in danger to suffer from cultural relativism and that it is “characterized by simplistic cultural comparisons without recourse to political and economic analysis”. I would go even further than that and say that most feminists do not care about third world women whatsoever, there are more moderate reasonable feminists that do care, of course. Where are the western feminists, when little girls are forced to marriage or when pedophiles sexually abuse little girls? What about Saudi Arabia or Iran? No, we need to fight the ultimate evil that is patriarchy by protesting on the streets in countries that are the most gender equal countries in the world, makes sense, right? All of this shows that western feminists are hypocritical and only want to further their own idiotic agenda.

There is a constant debate about the gender pay cap, which is a real issue according to feminists, there is a pay gap, but there are many different reasons for it and none of them is destructive patriarchy like some of these “bright” feminist individuals might say. The pay gap “doesn’t differentiate really important factors, such as education, occupation, experience, and hours, which account for nearly all of the differential in earnings between men and women”(Greszler, 2018). In addition to this, it is against the law to pay someone less based on their gender, in other words if a woman does the exact same job as a man with same experience, education and hours she will get the same wage as the man.

So, what are the issues that feminists should focus on? There are important issues such as guaranteeing education for all girls in developing countries, this would be hugely beneficial for third world countries. This would make girls more likely to join the workforce, get higher wages, marry later and overall become more healthier (The World Bank, 2018). This would have a significant economic benefit for the entire world too, it would create more competition in the global markets since the intellectual capability of developing countries would increase. Making contraception widely and easily available in third world countries would decrease the enormous birth rates that many developing countries have, and would also give more individual freedom to women. There is a huge issue with violence towards women in developing countries. Female genital mutilation is still a common practice in some countries, and because there is no real individual sovereignty for women in developing countries, they experience many types of violence in general. Even though these are awful issues, women are doing better than ever globally, for example more women are in paid employment than ever in history (O’Brien and Williams, 2016 p:204).

Will all this change for the better? No, it will not. We live in a world where a person can go to jail for hurting someone’s feelings, this insanity will continue, because the media and universities encourage it. People fought in wars, had to work for 16 hours a day and had to suffer from poverty, what people must go through now is getting offended by everything, how awful! Not to mention the gender studies programs that prepare people to be unemployed to cash welfare checks every month, while dwelling in victimhood crying how it is all because of patriarchy. At least in Hungary they removed these programmes completely (Reuters, 2018), so maybe there is hope. In the end, what do I know, I’m just a privileged and toxic white male, thus you should take this blog with a grain of salt.

Simo-Juhani Sievanen/M00627621


Crowley, E.(2014). Third World Women and the Inadequacies of Western Feminism. Global Research. Centre for Research on Globalization. Available at:

Greszler, R. (2018). “Pay Gap” Myth Ignores Women’s Intentional Job Choices.

O’Brien, R., Williams, M. (2016). Global Political Economy: Evolution & Dynamics. Fifth Edition. Palgrave Macmillan.

Reuters. (2018). Hungary to stop financing gender studies courses. Available at:

The World Bank. (2018). Half of the population does not have the chance to achieve their full potential. Available at:

HER struggle for career: Iran

Gender inequality and discrimination towards women in Iran is visibible in many areas. From dress code to struggles with finding a job, that would give wage equal to men’s earnings. Although Iran according to (Human Development Reports, 2017) is in the category of highly human developed countries, it takes 109th (the higher place, the better equality) place based on Gender Inequality Index which is very low. Moreover seats taken by women in the parliament respresent only 5.9% (Human Development Reports, 2017).

Iran is placed on one of the lowest positions based on The Gender Gap Report from 2017 (World Economic Forum, 2017). It is 140th in the ranking, including Economic Participation and Opportunity, out of 144 overall. On the other hand Iranian women make up more than 50% of the university graduates (Human Rights Watch, 2017). It looks like everything should be sorted if both genders get the needed education, which is obviously needed in order to find a good job. However, it is not as good as it seems. Only 17% of women participate in labour force. Laws created by government unable women to live free social lives and restrict opportunities on the job market (Human Rights Watch, 2017). What is the point of getting the education if you cannot use it in practice? 

(Human Rights Watch, 2017) says that unemployment along women in Iran is twice as high as men’s and participation in the job market is even lower than the average for women across North African and Middle-East countries. Gender pay gap is significant, in 2016 on average women earned $4963 in a year, when for men it was $29,468 (Oxford Human Rights Hub, 2017). 

‘Women are possessed by their emotions and are unable to make reasonable decisions’ 
(Mohammad H. Nayyeri, 2013). Judge is one of the banned positions for women, as apparently they cannot think correctly and when it comes to important decision making they are overly lead by emotions (Mohammad H. Nayyeri, 2013). Again after recieving education they cannot use it in the way they would like to. If you study law your dream could be becoming a judge, but in Iran women can simply forget about that.

Similar problems have women in the Parliament. There are 2700 MPs but only 73 of them are females (Mohammad H. Nayyeri, 2013)! Why it happens? So many women are educated, they should not have problems with finding jobs. The only problem that keeps them away from dream jobs are mindsets of those who think women should be only a wife and a mother. 

Iranian Islamic Republic follows its laws based on religion and believes women should not step out of the wife and mother role. Many who tried to oppose, were punished. 

One of the reasons that cause problems for women could be even their marriage. In Iran if husband decides that the job his wife wants to take is not appropriate or she cannot meet the standards of a good wife, including looking after the family he can forbid, her right to work (Mohammad H. Nayyeri, 2013). It does not mean that women have no right to work, but if husband does not want her to, he has the right to stop her from doing it. 

The fighters

We were told, ‘You will go to hell if you don’t wear the hijab.’” says Masih Alinejad, women of hope and braveness to Iranian feminists (KIM GHATTAS, 2018). Although left her country years ago, she is the hope for Iranian liberalists. Masih also faced problems with law, still back in Iran. In the age of 19 she and her friends and her fiancé were arrested for showing off brochures that were calling for the Iranian freedom of society. It would not be wise to say that she and many other Iranian women were left forgotten of their actions. Alinejad, as a young journalist uncovered many scandals and controversies which ended up in her losing the job. After she left to London for education, when trying o come back to Iran she was told, she could be arrested, so she left the country (KIM GHATTAS, 2018).

The year 2018 was fulfilled with manifestations on the human rights in Iran. Many women and men were sentenced for the protests against the laws. Shaparak Shajarizadeh was sentenced for 2 years in prision with 18 years of probation, for takin of headscarf and hanging it on the stick on the streets of Tehran (Center fot Human Rights in Iran, 2018). She was taken with her 9 years old son, who was set free later. Other women like Narges Hosseini, who was told, she could be charged for “encouraging immorality or prostitution’’ by taking of her hijab. Maryam Shariatmadari, 32 was also sentenced for one year in prison for similar reasons (Center for Human Rights in Iran, 2018).

Gender inequality is a big problem for women in Iran. They struggle with self-expression and access to the job market despite their higher education. I believe that one day all the people and especially strong feminist in Iran will be rewarded. The effort of those fighting for the rights in the country will not be forgotten and will give courage to others. Hopefully in the near future all the women in this country will have the same opportunities as men and will not struggle to pursue their dream careers. 



Fighting the poverty: Sri Lanka


Poverty can be defined in many different ways, depending on what it means to you. In the West it could be not having a mobile phone but in the rural areas of Africa or Asia poor will be those without the access to the clean water, education or health services.

Slums in Colombo, (Adopted into Sri Lanka, 2015)

Sri Lanka managed to decreased the extreme poverty rate, in this case leaving on 1.90$ a day, from 13.3% in 1985 to 0.7% in 2016 (World Bank Data). It seems very good, but according to (IPS Research Team, 2018) Global Poverty Line (GPL) shows that 9.5% of population lived under 3.20$ a day in 2016, when based on National Poverty Line (NPL) it was only 4.1%. It shows a big difference. Can we actually believe the data then?

The problem of the poverty is still present. On my trip to Sri Lanka in 2016 I had a chance to see many rural areas, which cannot be described differently but as slums. Travelling on the train from a small village of Wadduwa to Colombo I got to see terrible leaving conditions. People leaving next to the seaside in the small houses built of wood, children playing with rubbish. It was different in Wadduwa, touristic place, with a couple of bigger and smaller hotels. The poverty could decrease but there is no denial it does still exist. Urban areas tend to look different, the poverty is not as visible comparing to the rural areas where it is so significant. Regional inequality is the real problem.

Understanding the poverty in Sri Lanka is very important, so the actions to reduce it can be taken. Data shows that children under 15 years of age are those the most affected by extreme poverty (IPS Research Team, 2018). It says that these children are 36.4% of all the people leaving for under 1.90$ a day. The results then show that families with more children are more likely to live in extreme poverty (IPS Research Team, 2018). The same problem can be seen in the group of people 65 years old and older, they are the 8.7% of those leaving in extreme poverty (IPS Research Team, 2018).

There is another problem which stops Sri Lankan government from creating access to health and education, which is one of the steps in stopping the poverty. Sri Lanka is said to have one of the lowest rates in the world of the tax-to-GDP (World Finance, 2016). However, it would be hard for people to be paying high taxes if they do not have well paid jobs. In rural areas with poor industry and access to transport is hard to find other job than in agriculture. Where is the solution to be found in that case?

Improvements, solutions?

Students at Sujatha Balika Vidyalaya School (The World Bank, 2016)

Tourism is probably one of the factors that could help Sri Lanka develop its economy. The beautiful country offers many attractions for tourists. Every year more people visit Sri Lanka to see the beauty of nature it offers. One of the ideas introduced by government to the poor is homestay for tourists (Dinesha Piyasena, 2018). They encourage people to engage in tourism by giving the travelers a place to stay in during their holiday. It can definitely be seen in Sri Lanka. While I was there in 2016 many households offered to stay in their houses, offering meals and experiencing the real Sri Lankan life.
It could be a very good idea as nowadays many tourists want to discover areas outside of the cities and hotels and get to know local people, foods and traditions and there is no better way than staying with the Sri Lankan family which to us, people of West is usually really cheap, but for them can be life changing.

The Million Houses Program (MHP) was introduced in 1984 (UK Essays, 2016). The program was meant to help in building houses across Sri Lanka and improving slum areas. (UK Essays, 2016) says that fifty thousand houses were built in the rural areas and thirty thousand in urban. Sri Lanka got the World Habitat Award for that program in 1987 (UK Essays, 2016).

Access to education is needed in order to give young people opportunities of finding well paid jobs in the future. There are many projects going on in Sri Lanka and one of them is Transforming the School Education System as the Foundation of a Knowledge Hub Project (TSEP) (The World Bank, 2016). It was created to promote primary and secondary education amongst young people, as well as improving the learning outcomes and training teachers. The results seem really good, 85% of students were getting education until 11th grade in 2016 when in 2011 it was 82% (The World Bank, 2016), which is not the biggest improvement but it is just one of many projects that Sri Lanka is working on.

Poverty in Sri Lanka is nowhere near the end. From my personal experience and other findings, it is clear that the ongoing problem of slums, lack of access to education, industry and job placements are still present. However, Sri Lanka is working towards their goals and hopefully the government will not lose the courage to fight the poverty so one day Sri Lanka can stop regional inequality.