February 20, 2022 is World Social Justice Day! Every year since 2009, this day has been set aside to provide a focus on fair outcomes for all through employment, social protection, social dialogue, and fundamental principles and rights at work.
The United Nations declared it as a part of their commitment to social justice and fair globalization. This year’s theme is Achieving Social Justice through Formal Employment. More than 60% of the world’s population, approximately 2 billion women, men, and youth, work in the informal economy1 . In the US and other developed countries, even when formally employed, inequities in pay result in women especially Women of Color making far less on average than their male counterparts. For example, Black women typically make $0.62 for every dollar paid to non-Latino white males. Parental status widens this gap with Black mothers making $0.50 to every dollar a
white father makes2 . As women and moms, issues of social justice related to employment and fair
compensation have a distinct impact on us and our families.
In 1966, A Phillip Randolph and Martin Luther King, Jr proposed a Freedom Budget which was a practical, step-by-step plan for wiping out poverty in America3 . This ten-year plan focused on fairly and indiscriminately providing a decent living for all Americans including both steps towards full employment and improvements to both minimum wage and other fair compensation practices. Today, in 2022, much of what was proposed if implemented could lead to improvements in the lives of so many of us. The Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan was aligned with the tenets of the Freedom Budget and provided historic relief to the most working families ever.
So, what can you do? There are two things you can do to focus on fair outcomes for all of us. First, find out more about the Child Tax Credit and its impact on families in your state. Addressing issues of poverty by supporting families via the child tax credit is traditionally bipartisan. So encouraging our leaders to come to a resolution about this would improve outcomes for many families moving forward. At the same time, we should be encouraging our legislators and businesses to achieve pay equity. Businesses can take the first step by examining their pay practices to determine if they treat all employees equally. Compensation practices that favor white men as a result of historical and conventional biases and inconsistencies should be addressed. By achieving pay equity in a competitive
economy, the workforce will actually become stronger. Contacting your legislators and asking them to
concurrently support fair pay bills and the Child Tax Credit will go a long way towards addressing
poverty, especially for women and mothers.
There are many social justice issues to be concerned with today. Gender inequality, systemic and
structural racism, and employment issues are a few which have been noted in recent years. The Covid19 pandemic has both placed a spotlight on the vulnerability of workers in the informal economy and
exacerbated issues related to gender bias and racism. The World Day of Social Justice recognizes the
need to address these issues of discrimination, poverty, and gender equity in order to insure access to
justice for all.
Bio: Nadine Finigan-Carr, PhD, affectionately called Dr Nay, is a mom, scholar, and trained yoga
instructor. Her research focuses on preventing risk behaviors in children and adolescents so that they
can thrive. She is the author of Linking Health and Education for African American Students’ Success
(Routledge Press). For more information see her website www.nadinefinigancarr.com
Fun Fact: Dr Nay’s birthday is on World Social Justice Day, February 20th