How has the COVID-19 pandemic left the poor even farther behind?

In light of the economic downturn our world has been facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be more than considered the biggest and worst economic calamity post the Great Depression. According to the IMF, the global economy was expected to grow 3 percent in January 2020, but instead, it is now estimated to fall 3 percent, which can be assumed to be way worse than during the period of the Great Recession in 2008-09. If the pandemics in the past are to be analyzed, they have more adversely affected the poor and downtrodden section in comparison to the upper class. Leading economists worldwide have stated the COVID-19 pandemic will create a further economic divide between the rich and poor, leading to unforeseen inequality. Furthermore, it has been observed that pandemics have augmented unemployment and inequality more for low-skilled workers or people with basic education than people with advanced degrees.

Migrant and daily wage labourers have suffered severely due to the pandemic after a nationwide lockdown was announced in March 2020. The ultra-rich population of India has successfully managed to keep themselves away from harm’s way, but the low-income families have been facing the brunt of the crisis as they are forced to deal with the pandemic with limited or no resources. According to research conducted in January 2020, India’s richest 1 percent were accounted to have held more than four times the wealth held by 953 million people who made up the bottom 70 percent of the nation’s population. Therefore, upcoming government policies to uplift the nation’s economy needs to particularly focus on preventing a long-term dent in the livelihoods of the poor and disadvantaged section of the society. A stronger public healthcare system is one of the most important demands in the current situation, but unemployment benefits, boosting public work programs to present job opportunities, providing financing opportunities to sustain employment, and progressive tax measures can provide a cushioning effect for the poorer segment of our society which has been reeling under effects of the pandemic. Thus, our policymakers must take up this opportunity to introduce the changes as mentioned above to the teeth to protect their most vulnerable from any such further calamities.

Being an Ally to the LGBTQ+ People

The 21st century has brought a lot of changes in the world, ranging from technology and science to reformation in societal norms and stigmas. The LGBTQ+ has been one such aspect that has created some stir worldwide. However, the LGBTQ+ community needs more and more allies to feel accepted and comfortable. Such allies can be instrumental in raising the effective and powerful voices for LGBTQ+ equality and aid them in coming out in their respective society and help others realize the vitality of equality and unbiased behavior for everyone regardless of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Most of the LGBTQ+ community members decide to come out for the first time when they are in high school or university. There is no full-proof or single way to be a perfect ally, but one can practice the multiple ways to be a more supportive teacher, mentor, friend, parent, or colleague. You can start by being open to learn, listen and educate yourself, which involves knowing the difference between sex and gender and keep yourself updated on LGBTQ+-related news and issues. Secondly, you need to start speaking up or confronting people when you hear offensive or anti-LGBTQ+ comments and let your friends, family, and co-workers know that you find them offensive and degrading.

Thirdly, stop making assumptions that all your friends, co-workers, or relatives are straight as someone you know could be looking for some support in their coming-out process, and such assumptions can meddle with space and comfort they might have anticipated. Fourthly, understand that language matters, and if you’re not sure of someone’s pronoun or label, just ask them respectfully. And, lastly don’t hesitate to apologize when you mess up or assume someone’s sexual orientation and ask for guidance which will be appreciated.

In addition, being a good queer ally begins with taking a step back and listening to the people you want to help. The LGBTQ+ people are well aware of how to liberate themselves. Therefore, by truly centering their voices, the non-queer folks can provide an allyship that will have the power to promote real and lasting change.