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How to Consume Quarantine Time during Pandemic Covid-19

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Thousands of People are dying because of the worldwide spread of this pandemic disease that has run a wave of fear among the people around the globe. This has affected the whole world altogether and the fear of the unknown has often led to the feelings of panic. Psychologically, people have been lead into the face of the certainty of lacking control. Recently, the population throughout the world have been facing significant economic, physical, social, and psychological impacts of coronavirus. Not knowing that how to get on with this virus, for many, this at large is depressed, despondent, and desolate situation. People have been quarantined to homes from busiest of their routine. Consequently, in this situation, people have to maximize their time for great improvements in them as well as others. So that at the end of the quarantine they will have something to say and something to appreciate. They will have feelings of accomplishment that they have done something productive and have carried the days successfully. They feel proud of their selves for the contribution that will be counted as a wise decision. Rather than going round the bend or feeling sick of the current situation, therefore, they should seize the opportunity. People are not living in the 16th Century where they had to set on the long journeys to explore the world, whenever they got time, where they had to strive to acquire knowledge, where they had to work very hard to learn new skills. They are the inhabitants of 21st Century where technology has hit the heights. They can explore the world, acquire knowledge and have several skills by sitting at home.

Currently, a huge number of websites are working on online education where one has been offered with thousands of online courses by different foreign/international as well as local websites like digiskills.pk or British online learning etc. where one can enroll in the courses of one’s interest and at the end of the day he/she will be able to achieve the certificates. It will add to one’s skills as well as in resume. Another best way to keep one busy is home décor. If one is sick of that monotonous setting of his/her home and has been thinking of transforming the home to a better look then don’t wait it’s the perfect time to roll your sleeves up. One can take several tutorials, courses and tips for home décor on Google, YouTube, Guide Books, and magazines. If one doesn’t exactly know where to start, he/she can have a look at different DIYs on YouTube, magazines or Guide Books. However, if one is well satisfied with home design no matter, he/she can also consider deep cleaning of home in this pandemic as it is a necessity of the time too. One has to keep oneself and surrounding safe by taking care of the cleaning. Most people complain of lack of time, therefore, these days they have got a great deal of time to steal a march on their desires.

Many of us had to take different courses for a long, others had to try their hands on different recipes. If one loves cooking then book the next few days for cooking ones favorite but healthy food for his/her loved ones. But most importantly, as in the long run, people have long forgotten to live for themselves. Making time for one’s self is a must thing to do. Take great care of oneself and family by caring them keeps great importance. Moreover, book lovers can get on with reading. Reading is an addiction to book addicts, this is a great opportunity to consume themselves in reading. Furthermore, if one is bored out of one’s mind, there are plenty of the latest books to read. If one is not sure what to read, he/she can take guidance by checking a list of world’s bestselling books of the last few years or a list of previous year’s most-read books. One can also have a look at book reviews by different critics to help to choose books of one’s interest. When one reads one has plenty of ideas to speak as well as to write. If one gets bored of reading he/she can start writing to stretch thinking and meditation. Just choose the best corner of the home to sit and meditate there. Think differently, meet with own shadows, meet oneself, ponder over own personality for transformation, create a different world for oneself as well as for the others.

Furthermore, people also have an option of consuming their time by watching favorite TV shows, movies, talk shows, or most trending series on Netflix or any other websites are there to look on. People can spend hours and hours to watch their favourite shows but they have to be mindful of their eating habits because most of people have eating habit while watching TV. Many people eat snacks or fast food or unhealthy things. While this situation strictly restricts people from overeating or eating unhygienic food. Eating excessively may give rise to obesity that may weaken the immune system. With weak immunity, there are more chances of attack of Covid-19 even if one is young. Due to the hectic days, people have forgotten the sit-ins with their families, elders or even younger’s. People are no more able to take time out of their busy schedules to be with families. This is a great opportunity to speak heart and mind to their loved ones. This is the time to recall your memories of good times together and laugh out loud that will please you. Amid this people also have to manage time for exercise to keep their mind and body fit. One can take walk into fresh air as well to keep oneself safe and healthy. There are hundreds of tasks to keep one consumed when people have been driven to their homes. Do not let your hours, days and weeks slip out of your hands otherwise, you will regret it. It’s not a big deal to let the time fly without doing anything productive. But people should keep themselves busy with favorable tasks despite current circumstances so that at the end they can say that they made most of their time by doing ruminative activities. Additionally, they will say that they stayed at home, took rest, took exercise, red books, played games, danced, and listened to their favourite music. Moreover, they spent their hours learning new skills and that pandemic and that quarantine worked for their betterment.

The writer has graduated in English Literature from NUML, Islamabad and is currently teaching at IBA-PUBLIC school Sukkur, Sindh.

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New Social Compact

Gender Pay Gaps during Pandemic: A Reflection on International Workers’ Day 2021

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Men, rather than women, have been disproportionately affected by job losses over time. Nonetheless, the harsh reality of this pandemic recession has shown that women are more likely to be unemployed. As a matter of fact, women have lost substantial jobs as a result of increased childcare needs caused by school and daycare closures, which prohibit many women from working, and as a result of their employment being concentrated in heavily affected sectors such as the services sector (hospitality business, restaurant, retail outlets and so on). According to a study by Alon et al, women’s unemployment increased by 12.8 percent during the first period of Covid-19 (from March 2020), while men’s unemployment increased by just 9.9 percent. Changes in job rates (which include transfers into and out of the labor force) follow the same trend, with women experiencing a much greater drop in employment than men during the recession. Similar trends have been seen in other pandemic-affected countries.

In Southeast Asia, where informal workers account for 78 percent of the workforce, women make up the majority of blue-collar employees. In Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar, women make up a substantial portion of the domestic workers, despite having a low contractual working status in informal settings. They are underpaid as a result of the pandemic, and the Covid-19 recession has reduced their importance in the workplace. Indonesia as one of the countries which affected by pandemic also experienced similar thing, with two-thirds of the female population in the active age group (between 15 and 64 years old), Indonesia is supposed to have tremendous potential for accelerating its economic development, but the truth is the opposite due to the never-ending pandemic. Since the pandemic began, many employees, mostly women, have lost their jobs or had their working hours shortened. Of course, their daily wages are affected by this situation. Besides, the wage gap between men and women also widens from March 2020 to March 2021, with women in the informal sector receiving up to 50% less than men, clearly resulting in discriminatory practices.Despite the fact that Indonesia ratified the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Convention No. 100 on Equal Remuneration in 1958, fair and equal salaries have remained unchanged until now, and the legislation seems to have been overlooked and inapplicable in a pandemic situation.

Furthermore, the issue is not resolved at that stage. Apart from the pandemic, both formal and informal workers are exposed to various work systems and regulations. Women may have similar experiences with low wages and unequal payment positions in both environments, but women who work in the formal sector have the capacity, experience, and communication skills to negotiate their salaries with their employers, while women who work in the informal sector do not. Women in informal work face a number of challenges, including a lack of negotiation skills and a voice in fighting for their rights, particularly if they lack support structures (labor unions). Furthermore, when it comes to employees’ salaries, the corporate system is notoriously secretive. Another issue that continues to upset women is the lack of transparency in employee wages. Despite the fact that the national minimum wage policy is regulated by the government, only a small number of female workers are aware of it.

Overcoming Gender Pay Gaps within Pandemic Condition

In the spirit of International Workers’ Day 2021, there should be an organized and systematic solution to (at the very least) close the wage gap between men and women in this pandemic situation. International organizations and agencies also attempted to convince national governments to abolish gender roles and prejudices, however this is insufficient. As a decision-maker, the government must ‘knock on the door’ of companies and businesses to support and appreciate work done disproportionately by women. Furthermore, implementing transparent and equitable wage schemes is an important aspect of significantly changing this phenomenon. Real action must come not only from the structural level (government and corporations), but also from society, which must acknowledge the existence of women’s workers and not undervalue what they have accomplished, because in this Covid-19 condition, women must bear the “triple burden” of action, whether in productive work (as a worker or labor), reproductive work (as a wife and mother), and also as a member of society. Last but not least, women must actively engage in labor unions in order to persuade gender equality in the workplace and have the courage to speak out for their rights, as this is the key to securing fair wages. And when women are paid equally, their family’s income rises, and they contribute more to the family’s well-being.

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New Social Compact

Latvian human rights activists condemn homophobia in China, Latvia and the world

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The issue of human rights of LGBT persons is like a hot potato – hard to spit it out, but also hard to swallow. Despite majority of the public having nothing against the LGBT community, people are afraid to allow them to have the same human rights everyone else has.

Governments and politicians also clash when it comes to fully recognizing the human rights of LGBT persons – and communist China is no exception. Interestingly, the Chinese Communist Party maintains a stance of double morals on this issue. On the one hand, during UN meetings China always reproaches other nations about homophobia and violations of LGBT rights. On the other hand, China has never been able to eradicate homophobia in the Chinese community, but instead has furthered it, for instance, by banning Eurovision broadcasts in China and by trying to ignore the existence of an LGBT community in China.

The Chinese Communist Party has become seriously entangled in its own ideology – as I already wrote, Chinese representatives have no shame in criticizing other countries’ discrimination of people with a non-traditional sexual orientation, stressing that China doesn’t consider homosexuality to be a mental illness. Moreover, the Chinese government has publicly stated that China supports the activities of LGBT organization. But this is simply not true! Although on the international stage Beijing acts as a protector of the human rights of LGBT communities and agitates for the equality of gays and lesbians, in China itself LGBT and women’s rights activists are being repressed, detained and held in labor camps. Thus, Beijing is doing everything in its power to suppress women’s rights and human rights in general.

The most pathetic thing in all this is that Beijing has always voted against all UN initiatives and resolutions that concern the recognition and establishment of human rights for LGBT persons, as this would draw even more attention to the violations of human rights in China itself.

In this regard, in solidarity with Chinese LGBT representatives the leading protector of LGBT human rights from the party Latvian Russian Union (LKS) Aleksandrs Kuzmins and one of the LKS’s leaders and MEP Tatjana Ždanoka have expressed concerns over the recent homophobic attacks in Latvia and are urging citizens from Latvia and around the world to attach a rainbow flag next to the ribbon of St. George during the upcoming 9 May Victory Day celebrations, thus commemorating members of the LGBT community that died during World War II.

Kuzmins stressed that during WWII members of the LGBT community also fought against Nazi Germany, adding that it’s no secret that in the Soviet army there were hundreds and thousands of gays and lesbians who fought shoulder to shoulder for the freedom of their motherland. These people were, however, repressed and exiled to Siberia after the war by the Stalin regime. Most of them were tortured to death in gulags, which is confirmed by information recently acquired from Moscow’s archives.

Human rights activists from the LKS believe that it’s time for people to change and openly talk about the mistakes that were made in the past – we don’t live in the Middle Ages anymore and we should get rid of ancient dogmas and stereotypes about the LGBT community, lest more people fall victim to the intolerance and hate.

On the eve of the Victory Day, the LKS urges global leaders to admit the severe mistakes that have been made and to end the repressions against their own LGBT communities.

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New Social Compact

Farveez Maharoof explains the importance of spreading social awareness via cricket

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Image source: skysports.com

Cricket legend Farveez Maharoof recently played in the Road Safety World Series to spread awareness about road safety. The Road Safety World Series was being played in Raipur to spread awareness about road safety in India. Modern Diplomacy talks to Farveez Maharoof about why cricket is a good platform to spread awareness about social causes.

Why is cricket a good platform to spread awareness about social causes?

Cricketers have a huge following specially in Asia. Both India and Sri Lanka have a very high number of cricket fans. When cricketers speak about an issue, their fans and viewers listen to them. Moreover, it is the social responsibility of people with a platform to spread awareness for causes. Personally, I have been a part of many social campaigns in Sri Lanka. I think it is my duty to raise awareness about social issues. The Road Safety World Series spread awareness at a more global scale.

What was your most inspiring moment during the Road Safety World Series?

 Personally, I was inspired to play in the Road Safety World Series even after retirement because the series is being played for a cause. Road Safety impacts people across the world and I think it is important for people to take it seriously. I feel strongly about the issue of road safety because I lost my uncle in an accident. It affected my family deeply. I want to spread awareness about it so that others are more careful when on the roads.

Did you campaign for road safety via your personal Instagram too? How did your audience respond?

 I was not required to campaign on my social media. I did because I felt strongly about the issue. Moreover, because I have a decent number of followers on Instagram, I thought it was a good platform to spread awareness about the cause. When many cricketers post about the same issue together, it gets more highlighted in the audience’s mind. I personally use my social media for raising awareness about issues in Sri Lanka as well.

Why is road safety important to you at a personal level?

My family lost my uncle in a road accident in Canada. My mother was affected very deeply by the incident. The effects of the accident were long lasting on my family emotionally. I have always been very serious about road safety after that. The reason I played for the Road Safety World Series is because I felt strongly about the issue and wanted to play for the cause of road safety.

How is playing a series during the pandemic different from pre pandemic times?

 Playing cricket during the pandemic is very different. We are not used to being in bio bubbles and staying quarantined at the hotel. There has been a shift in the way we have to live during the tournaments. Moreover, there are many COVID safety protocols to be ensured while we are travelling. These protocols are essential and should be followed.

The Road Safety World Series was actually being played in Mumbai last year. However, when COVID hit, the series had to be paused and postponed in between. After almost one year, the series resumed in Raipur. Hence, COVID has affected sports deeply.

What are other social causes that you are passionate about?

I am passionate about social causes which affect Sri Lanka. In the past, I have campaigned for many causes in Sri Lanka including breast cancer. I am someone who likes to stay connected to my roots. I want to give back to the community in every way I can because I have been blessed with their support. I will continue with social work and I will continue spreading awareness about causes.

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