February 20 is observed as the World Day of Social Justice (also referred to as Social Justice Equality Day). In June 2008, the International Labour Organisation adopted the Social Justice for a Fair Globalization to bring forward this important celebration. According to the United Nations, the day “recognizes the need to consolidate further the efforts of the international community in poverty eradication and in promoting full employment and decent work, gender equality and access to social well-being and justice for all.”
Social injustice is the difference in privileges between individuals of society; be it wealth or rights as a citizen. Social Justice aims at rectifying it by providing equal opportunities in terms of facilities (healthcare, education, public infrastructure), wealth, privileges and rights as an individual and so on.
Rights are the most important aspect of social justice as many individuals are often denied even the most basic human rights and face discrimination based on race, religion, sex/gender, and economic background. Especially communities which have a historic and systemic process of discrimination that has nearly been institutionalised.
World Social Justice Day 2021: Theme
As the world grows more ‘glocal’ thanks to the internet, the United Nations have announced the 2021 theme “A Call for Social Justice in the Digital Economy.” In their statement, the UN notes how the COVID-19 pandemic led to unforeseen situations like remote-working and this, in turn, exposed a plethora of digital inequality that still persists in the world.
Despite the internet taking over economic and educational infrastructure in the past decade, with many countries promoting and establishing better internet services, it still remains a privilege for many. But the remote-work culture of the COVID-19 pandemic has “laid bare” the digital divide that exists between the so-called developed and developing nations.
While the UN acknowledged digital work-culture can have many benefits—especially for marginalised classes, it has certain drawbacks as well. Things like regular “work and income (for digital entrepreneurs, freelancers), rights to fair working conditions, social protection and an adequate standard of living, skills utilization, and the right to form or join trade unions” are not yet ideal. The theme of 2021 Social Justice Equality Day aims to bring light to these issues so basic human and labour rights are not lost amidst the digital revolution.