Friday, 15 August 2014

Women Should Vote (Democracy)

This post was written by Eren via UN Volunteers

WHAT IS DEMOCRACY?

The term democracy is derived from 'demos' and 'cratia' in Latin which means people and power; thus democracy means "power in the hands of the people." 

Democracy is a type of government where sovereignity belongs to the people; the government is representative of and responsible to them; the goal of the state is welfare of the people which includes the development of personalities of the citizens. 

Basically, democracy is a form of government in which a country's political leaders are chosen by the people in regular free and fair elections. In a democracy, people have a choice between different candidates and parties who want the power to govern. 

The people can criticize and replace their elected leaders if they do not perform well. The people are sovereign - people are the highest authority - and government is based on the will of the people. Elected representatives at the national and local levels must listen to the people and be responsive to their needs. 

It is thus not only a form of government but a type of state as well as an order of society. It may be defined as "political method by which every citizen has the opportunity of participating through discussion in an attempt to reach voluntary agreements as to what shall be done for the good of the community as a whole." 

In a democracy every citizen has definite basic rights that the state cannot take away from them. These rights are internationally guaranteed. Everyone has the right to have their own beliefs, including religious beliefs, and to speak and write what they think. Everyone has the right to seek different sources of information and ideas. Everyone has the right to associate with other people, and to form and join organizations of their choice, including trade unions. Everyone has the right to assemble and protest government actions. 

However, citizens have an obligation to exercise these rights peacefully, with respect for the law and for the rights of others. All citizens are equal under the law. No one may be discriminated against on the basis of their race, religions, ethnic, group or gender. 

It is conclusive that voting and democracy is crucial in a government because it allows people to participate in their government, holds elected representatives responsible for their action, and it prevents a minority from dictating the policies of a majority. It can be said that democracy is not only a form of government, it is a great way of life.

Now just imagine in every woman exercised the right to democracy. Wouldn't the world be a much better place? Make the choice to vote today.

The more women vote and participate in democracy, the more chance for establishment of equality and women empowerment to be achieved in society. Democracy is the way to go if equality is to be a reality.


Monday, 11 August 2014

Living Up to Societies Standards


This post was written by Volunteer Blogger Karin recruited via UN Volunteering Service.

Living Up to Societies Standards
“Not going to a good college means you’ll end up as a druggie.”
“Not having a successful job means you’re a failure.”
“Being overweight makes you a burden to society.”

Society’s standards vary
Depending on the time, culture, gender, preference, and sometimes just because society is fed up with a norm, the standard changes. It changes daily. Are we even capable of living up to these standard or do we fail in trying to do so?

Take a moment to think about today’s societal standards for women: Tall, long hair, skinny, high heels and maybe a little skirt, be able to hang out with the guys but at the same time don’t act too manly…

Now, think about how women were seen 50 years ago: The beauty standard for those women was to be curvy and advertising companies gave tips, how not to look too skinny (yes, people once thought that women not walking on toothpicks are actually pretty), additionally women wore clothes that didn’t reveal too much and were proud of what they were.  

The same goes for men. They have always been the primary breadwinners for their families. Suddenly, their image changes and nowadays they have to be the sensitive stay-at-home-dad that supports his successful career wife. It does not matter if you are a guy or a girl: The standards will be set for both genders.

We all know and see that society’s standards are changing with times. But the vast majority of people, mostly women, see it as their life goal to reach standards set by society. Are they slaves to standards or is it in their best interest to reach this goal?

How do we reach a standard that is produced mostly by advertisements?
Advertising makes us believe that in this world there is no room for mistake. Society wants us to believe that every woman can be a size zero, have at least 2 children, and live happily married while being a successful full-time manager. On top of that, since shy and more emotional people are hard to be around with, we all have to be happy and grateful about our oh-so-perfect-lives. No complaining allowed! Other people have it harder in their life.

Can we ever live up to society’s standards?
I am not talking about personal standards. Personal standards are the ones we can reach. We set them ourselves; we can adapt our lives and goals to them. Some people are perfectly fine not reaching their standards; does that mean that they are failures? Probably not, because they decide how much effort and work they want to put into reaching their own personal standards.

Personally, I do not believe that we can ever live up to society’s standards. Moreover, I don’t know if this is really something we want. When did it become more important how you are perceived by the outside world, than by yourself? Isn’t it more valuable to be a nice person, than to smile in order to make others happy? As soon as we think we reached the bubble it pops and there will be a new standard. It’s a vicious cycle of wanting to be better and better, but deep down we do not set our personal standards, we copy what we see in advertisements.

The Good News
After all, we are still individual people and we can make a difference in this world. We take the sole decision of who we admire and what we want to reach. YOU DECIDE. Standards are good for society because it helps define our culture, but we don’t have to accept them. In the end, it is for us to decide what standard we want to live up to.


By Karin Philippczyk, UN Volunteers
ABOUT AUTHOR
Karin Philippczyk
Karin, 23, is a world traveler currently on search of a new travel goal. She is bilingual, having been raised by a German dad and a French mom - also reason for exceptional and unnecessary strict table manners.  She is studying International Business Administration.

In her own words: "My friends would describe me as spontaneous, happy and highly organized. These traits are probably a consequence from being a full-time nanny in addition to my studies. I use a calendar meticulously; however, my calendar is my brain, which I carry around like a holy book.  Every event/birthday/random appointment will end up in there. I love nights out with friends and reading for hours on rainy days. Additionally, I am a Quarterback on a local American Football Club."


Do you think you have been conformed to societies standards? Let us know, like, share and leave us a comment. Also feel free to Contact Us if you have any question, queries, suggestions or criticisms.

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Monday, 4 August 2014

5 Steps to Fight the Temptation to do Wrong




Temptation: noun; strong urge or desire to have or do something wrong, unwise or forbidden especially when you are not supposed to.


Temptation usually comes to us every day and in different forms. The worst of it is when the urge is to do something bad. Temptations to do something bad can be triggered by any of the following:

-          Anger
-          Jealousy
-          Revenge
-          Lust
-          Hatred
-          Strong belief
-          Mischievousness
-          To forget other memories
-          Pleasure and so much more.

Note how most of the reasons to do bad have a negative connotation to them. The urge to do wrong reveal the violent conflict within us which is can prove hazardous for emotional safety if not controlled. The urge to do wrong can also be harmful to the recipient and any related person which puts the safety of the other person at risk.

What’s wrong with doing something bad, you may ask. The simple answer is doing something bad has negative effects not only on the individual doing wrong but also on the society at large. Even the smallest of wrongs has consequences that always follow that action. We certainly don’t want to be the ones to set off a chain of wrongs, do we?


5 Steps to Beat the Temptation To Do Wrong

1 IDENTIFY THE ROOT CAUSE

What is the temptation and what is causing it? By understanding the root cause of your situation from each side of the story you become more self-aware. Being self-aware will help you create more informed decisions not only in the given situation but also in your future decision making.

2 ASK FOR HELP

If you find your temptation too difficult to resist, ask for help. You can seek the counsel of a trusted loved one, counselor or a support group. Be sure that the person you are asking for help is not indulging in the same bad temptation that you are trying to fight. However, if they have had the same temptation and overcame, ask them how they did it.



3 PRACTICE DIALOGUE

Talking has therapeutic elements to it, especially if you speak to the right person. If you have no one to talk to, create a video log in which you will pour out your true emotions and feelings. Write about how you feel, then after a week or two or more, read and see what you think about what you wrote. Be sure to keep your vlog or diary in a safe place if you don’t want anyone to read it.

Do not keep bottled up emotions as they will find other ways of expression which may not prove to be healthy in the end. If someone has offended you, talk to them about it and avoid spreading gossip.   
Also practice forgiveness in order to heal your emotions. Forgive yourself and forgive others.



4 CULTIVATE A DEMANDING GOOD HOBBY

It is nice to develop a hobby but if the hobby is not demanding enough, your mind will still drift back to your temptation. There is a saying an idle mind is the devils workshop. Certainly, if you do not engage in a good activity that is always demanding your attention, then you could easily think of a way to feed your temptation.

For those who believe in God, praying and worshipping can prove helpful; become active in your church activities or join the choir. However, if your given temptation is to not go to church and you feel bad about it, talk to an understanding adult and stand for what you believe in only if you see that it has good results.



5 THINK OF THE CONSEQUENCES

Every action has a reaction. It’s science. Sometimes we may feel that our actions cannot possibly come back, especially those times when we did good and did not see any good in return. Every good you do counts, no matter how small. Just as every bad, no matter how small.

Imagine that you have given into your temptation to do bad. What will be your immediate reaction when you do it? How will you feel a day later? What about a week later or 5 years? Who is getting hurt in the process? Are you getting hurt in the process?

Have you practiced any of the above four steps?

The golden rule: Do not do to others what you wouldn’t want to done to you or a loved one. So whenever tempted to do something wrong, do something good.


Do something good today. 


You may also like to read: HOW TO DEAL WITH TEMPTATION