UW Combined Fund Drive

February 17, 2022

World Day of Social Justice is February 20

Each year on February 20th, the United Nations, countries, communities, and individuals worldwide commemorate the World Day of Social Justice.

This year, we celebrate this day to support international efforts to promote transitions to formal employment as a necessary condition for reducing poverty and inequalities, advancing decent work, increasing productivity and sustainability, and widening the government’s scope of action, especially in times of crisis. 

2022: Achieving Social Justice through Formal Employment

According to the United Nations, more than 60% of the world’s employed population earn their livelihoods in the informal economy; this includes 2 billion men, women, and youth worldwide.   

The COVID-19 pandemic has especially emphasized worker vulnerability in the informal economy. Informal workers, who often lack any form of social protection or employment-related benefits, are twice as likely to be in poverty in comparison to formal workers. Most informal workers enter the informal economy not by choice, but because of a lack of opportunities in the formal economy. 

This year, World Day of Social Justice especially highlights the different pathways to achieving formal employment in various national circumstances. In accordance with the International Labour Organization’s Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy Recommendation, 2015 (No. 204), comprehensive integrated strategies that target multiple drivers of informality appear the most effective.  

Steps to Action  

Effective gender-responsive formalization strategies implement different interventions to increase the formal economy’s ability to provide decent work opportunities, to integrate workers and economic units in the current informal economy, and to strengthen accessibility to the formal economy.

Identifying the right incentives and eliminating obstacles to formality are essential to achieve social justice for all through formal employment. Especially during the current and persistent COVID-19 crisis, preventing the informalization of formal jobs is especially urgent. 

Achieving formalization is a complex and graduate process; in order to successfully transition, reliable and relevant statistics are necessary to fully understand the drivers of the informal economy and monitor progress towards formalization.

Today, many countries are implementing new technologies such as E-formalization tools to facilitate the transition to formal employment in their populations. These tools include technologies such as electronic data systems for proper identification of employment and greater access to ICTs and e-commerce.  

As a global community, we must do our part to advocate for effective integration for all workers and to push for the reduction of inequalities across sectors.  

The United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda acknowledges the transition to formal employment as a priority. A new partnership agreement between the International Labour Organization and United Nations Development Programme agrees to undertake joint programming to develop pathways to formality, which will also support the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for a Just Transition. 

Get Involved 


Consider making a one-time contribution or setting up payroll deduction to one of our CFD member organizations working to advance human rights and promote social well-being and justice for all: 

FEEST (Charity Code 1481820): FEEST is a weekly youth-run dinner program that engages young people at high schools in the Seattle and Highline School Districts on issues of civic and social justice, food security, and cultural expression, and community development. 

Global Visionaries (Charity Code 0337117): GV empowers Seattle youth to be leaders in social and environmental justice issues through local community service, educational workshops, and a service-based trip to Guatemala. Counties Served: King 

Powerful Voices (Charity Code 0315231): Fostering adolescent girls’ development by providing programs and promoting social justice so girls can realize their dreams, engage their communities and shape a better world. 

Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project (Charity Code 0316529): Real Change exists to provide opportunity and a voice for low-income and homeless people while taking action for economic, social, and racial justice. Over 300 homeless and low-income people find meaningful work and community here each month. 

Social Justice Fund Northwest (Charity Code 0316137): A progressive, member-funded foundation supporting groups working on a broad range of grassroots social justice issues in the Northwest and Northern Rockies. 

The Service Board (Charity Code 1478661): The Service Board empowers youth to overcome obstacles and build strong community through snowboarding, public service, and a curriculum of social justice. 

University of Washington Women’s Center (Charity Code 0315815): The UW Women’s Center partners to build a culture of social justice, equity and non-violence, both domestically and globally through educational programs, advising, counseling, life skills training, and encouraging positive change in public policy. 

Wayfind (Charity Code 0497080): NAC empowers communities by building strong nonprofits and community leaders and to shape institutions and policies to achieve social justice and equity. 

Whatcom Peace Justice Center (Charity Code: 1479068): The Whatcom Peace Justice Center promotes lasting peace, social justice, and a culture of nonviolence at home and worldwide. We accomplish this through partnerships, education, and public witness.

Contributed by UWCFD student intern Katerina Dang. Katerina hails from the Bay Area and is a senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Global Health. She hopes to be in graduate school in fall of 2022 earning a Master of Public Health in Health Management.