World Day of Social Justice
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
World Day of Social Justice is celebrated annually on the 20th of February.
In commemorating this day, the International Labor Organization (ILO)’s purpose was to highlight the need for equitable development and upholding human dignity. In 2020, the UN’s theme for the year was ‘Closing the Inequalities Gap to Achieve Social Justice’. Last year, it was “A Call for Social Justice in the Digital Economy.” The COVID-19 pandemic has also called attention to privacy and security concerns that have emerged – a topic TeachAids has recognized and addressed recently in depth. Health is not an isolated subject – with increased globalization and advancement, it has become evident over the past few years that health is connected with technology, science, policy and all of these interrelated systems are integral to ensuring a fair and just society.
Health issues are exacerbated in regions where social justice levels are poorer – there is a lack of equity, a violation of rights and roadblocks to access and participation. One of the main motivations of TeachAids is the pursuit of social justice – closing the gender gap and addressing the lack of access to education have been prominent themes. In our work over the years, we have seen firsthand how communities are hindered when improper processes, rules and norms govern healthcare delivery. Despite scientific evidence and policy communication, issues like stigma, discrimination stand in the way of just outcomes. We have witnessed the resilience of individuals who have been confronted with disease – too often they fear the discrimination and the stigma that comes with an illness more than the infection itself. When people feel unsafe or marginalized, this affects their sense of cultural identity and engagement with society, thereby reducing the overall well being of entire communities. Pressing public health issues are undeniably social justice issues.
Historically, social justice has been demonstrated in different ways – from people signing petitions to marching, advocating and protesting. In a digital world with an information boom and rising awareness, many of these forms of promoting social justice have evolved. Today, there are numerous opportunities to protect those around us – in-person as well as with the click of a button. However we choose to do it, may we all intentionally seek to elevate and empower those around us.
Promoting the protection of social rights and enabling access to education is central to building a future where there is equality. This, in turn, will foster a sense of security and safety as a community, enhancing the peace and productivity of communities and nations.