“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is “What are you doing for others? Martin Luther King, Jr.
Every year on the 20th February, the world joins hands in celebrating the United Nations’ World Day of Social Justice, and reflect on the importance of social justice in eradicating poverty.
This year’s theme ‘A Call for Social Justice in the Digital Economy’ enhances preoccupations around the rise in digitization.
In the last 10 years, expansion in broadband connectivity, cloud computing and data have led to the spread of digital platforms. Since early 2020, the outcomes of COVID-19 have forced many organizations to embrace remote working arrangements, while ensuring business continuity and reinforcing the growth and impact of the digital economy.
Covid-19 has also revealed and intensified the growing digital divide within, between and across developed and developing countries, particularly in terms of availability, affordability and use of information and access to the internet, thus deepening existing inequalities.
While digital working platforms provide workers with income-generating opportunities and benefits such as flexible work arrangements, they also present challenges.
For hourly paid workers, there is the regularity of work and income, their rights to fair working conditions, and the right to form or join trade unions.
A challenge for normal businesses is the amount of funding required to continuously adapt to digital transformations, especially for small and medium enterprises. Inadequate availability of reliable digital connectivity continues to be a challenge in many countries. In Kenya, for example, the deployment of a Digital Services Tax was created for all types of online services.
“This year’s commemoration supports efforts by the international community to search for solutions to achieve sustainable development, poverty eradication, promote full employment and decent work, universal social protection, gender equality and access to social well-being and justice for all ” (UN 2021). “Consequently, it aims at fostering dialogue with member States and relevant UN institutions and other stakeholders on actions needed to overcome the digital divide, provide decent work opportunities, and protect labour and human rights in the modern era of digital technologies. ” (UN 2021).