Thought for the day 20 February

20 World Day of Social Justice
This ‘international day’ was established by the United Nations in 2008, following the unanimous adoption of the International Labour Organisation’s Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation. This year’s theme is a ‘Call for Social Justice in the Digital Economy’. Over recent months the restrictions put in place to restrain the spread of Covid-19 has highlighted big disparities in access to online work and learning in this country: some families have sufficient computers or laptops for parents and children to be online at the same time, and have packages of unlimited, or huge monthly allowances, of broadband data; others are maybe all trying to work with one mobile phone, and a limited amount of data on that. That disparity is not just found in this country, but all round the world, and mirrors the disparity between high-income and low-income countries. It is likely that in the aftermath of the pandemic, in countries like ours, there will be a move to more home-working, but again that will be more practical for some than others, and is not really an option for many in lower-paid jobs – and we might ask whether some of the lower-paid jobs might disappear if fewer people are travelling to city centres to work, or going out for lunch from their city-centre office. Again that is a scenario that will play out world-wide, having a particular impact in low-income countries. There are no easy answers, but maybe something on which to reflect, and encourage politicians to consider among their plans for ‘building back’ after the pandemic

Lord, in the last 12 months many of us have made big strides in our use of technology, with meetings online, greater use of internet shopping and so on. But some people don’t have access to the internet, and feel isolated, others cannot afford to buy extra equipment or more expensive data packages, so are limited in their access to home-working or online learning. For some online working is not an option. It is an issue in this country, and all round the world. As we look forward to rebuilding the world after this pandemic, inspire political and business leaders to take account of the needs of low-income individuals and countries, and work for a more inclusive future

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