Dec 24, 2023
Global Social Issues: Inequality, Poverty, Migration, Climate Change, and Reproductive Justice.

International Social Issues

International social issues are global problems with deep roots that affect human well-being and sustainable development. These include inequality based on income, sex, age, disability and gender orientation as well as the lack of opportunity for all people.

These problems require a response that goes beyond simply calling for more government.

Poverty

Poverty affects all aspects of life, including health and education. It can also impact the ability to participate in the economy and make productive decisions. There are many reasons for poverty, including lack of monetary resources, unaffordable housing and utilities, lack of food and water, and discrimination.

Some groups are disproportionately affected by working poverty, such as women and people with disabilities. These groups often have limited opportunities to find decent employment and may be vulnerable to labour abuses.

It is possible to reduce poverty, as many Asian and Latin American countries have demonstrated. However, progress has been slower than hoped and it is unlikely that the world will meet its target of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030. This is partly because rich countries have cut their aid to poor nations.

Inequality

Inequality encompasses all forms of disparity in resource endowments, access to resources, and the rewards for labour. It is a key issue that affects people around the world. It is not just a matter of fairness; inequality harms the overall functioning of societies.

Global inequality arises from the exploitation of developing countries’ natural resources and workers by developed nations. The exploitation is driven by modernisation principles and a capitalist global economic system.

Despite improvements in gender, racial and sex equity, global inequality continues to increase. It is exacerbated by unequal migration patterns during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, and a vaccine apartheid whereby wealthy pharmaceutical corporations are able to distribute more of their vaccines to richer countries. It is also exacerbated by the effects of climate change on low-income communities.

Migration

Migration affects a broad range of international social issues, including economic development, climate change, global health and security. It also creates a flow of remittances that helps families back home, boosts international trade and FDI, and provides an opportunity for migrants themselves to gain skills.

However, inflows of refugees and displaced people can cause problems for host countries and communities: a lack of employment opportunities may negatively impact the economy, while an increase in labor market competition can strain the finances of certain segments of native workers. In addition, refugees can reignite preexisting tensions among different ethnic groups competing for resources and territory.

This is why it is important to understand the drivers of migration, and to address their negative impacts. It is also important to promote policies that support the aspirations and capacities of migrants.

Climate change

Climate change is a global challenge, but its impacts are felt differently by people and communities. Those who have the resources to shield themselves from climate risks like water scarcity, crop failures, sea level rise and health issues from air pollution are more resilient. They can afford to evacuate during hurricanes, buy food that isn’t impacted by drought and live comfortably in homes with cool air.

People who depend on the land for their livelihoods are among the most vulnerable to climate changes. Efforts to mitigate the impact of climate changes should consider how policies can disproportionately affect people with limited capacity to adapt. They should also take into account the impact of policies on poor countries that could impose unsustainable financial burdens. This would undermine development and poverty eradication efforts.

Reproductive justice

Reproductive justice is a broad movement that addresses the rights of women and girls to make their own decisions about fertility, sexuality and reproductive health. It also includes addressing barriers to accessing optimal health.

For example, it is common for doctors to recommend contraception for all adolescents. But the recommendation may not take into account the priorities and wishes of young people. It also does not address the stigma surrounding certain methods of birth control, such as implants or IUDs.

Reproductive justice activists advocate for individuals to be informed about all birth control options and have access to a wide range of contraceptives. They also fight against policies like the Global Gag Rule, which restricts global health funding. Adding the lens of reproductive justice to existing reproductive rights movements can help to create fresh language, identify new allies and foster nontraditional partnerships so that the optimal health/reproductive justice movement fully reflects the voices of all women.

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