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What is Social Justice in Social Work?

Written by CB Community

Social workers are almost universally compassionate, caring people who genuinely want to make the world a better place.

In a field that can be emotionally challenging and sometimes thankless, the people who are drawn to social work are those who are looking for fulfillment and to truly help people who are struggling.

Most social workers are typically passionate about fighting for social justice in their line of work. Getting into social work is actually a great career path for people who want to ensure justice for all.

Here’s how social workers are working toward a more equitable society every single day:

What is Social Work?

The field of social work is relatively new in the timeline of human history, but it plays a key role in our society.

Social work is intended to help people meet their needs and achieve better well-being, especially people belonging to vulnerable or oppressed populations. Social workers help to ensure that everyone has access to support, no matter who they are.

Social workers help people from all walks of life. They work with patients and their families in hospital settings, they help family units stay together whenever possible, and they provide assistance and education to people who are struggling with a wide range of personal, health, and economic problems.

Social justice is embedded in the work social workers do every day and is actually a core tenant or value of the social work profession. Social workers are essentially tasked with creating more equality in our world by giving a leg up to people who have been underserved in one way or another.

Social workers understand the importance of diversity in our world and fight for everyone to be treated with dignity, kindness, and respect.

Areas of Social Justice in Social Work

Social justice is multifaceted. There are many groups of oppressed and vulnerable people, and those identities often intersect to create even more challenges for individuals within their community and within society as a whole.

Because of this, some social workers have a broader scope in their social justice work, while others are more focused and specialize in working with certain populations.

Here are just a few of the areas of social justice that social workers contribute to on a daily basis:

Voting Rights & Participation

Everyone should have a voice in our political system. Unfortunately, many of the most vulnerable people do not have what they need to fully participate in local, state, and federal elections.

Some people who have been convicted of a crime have their voting rights taken away, while others simply can’t afford to take time off from work.

Social workers are helping to protect voting rights and participation by providing education and discussing options with people. Encouraging people to vote, combined with initiatives to make voting easier, will be key for a more equitable future.

Substance Abuse

Alcohol and drug abuse are huge problems in the United States. Social workers help people affected by the opioid crisis every day and work with individuals who have lost everything due to drug use.

Working with these people to help them get clean and back on their feet is a powerful form of social justice. Society prefers to forget about people who are addicted to substances and leave them to figure things out on their own.

Social workers give people struggling with addiction hope for a better future.

Child Migrant & Protection

Migrant children are extremely vulnerable. Refugees, undocumented immigrants, and other people who don’t have permanent residency or stability have access to fewer resources and need more support.

Social workers play a key role in fighting for the safety, health, and well-being of migrant children and those who may be exploited as they try to find a safe haven.

Social Justice Isn’t Just For Social Workers

It’s true that social workers strive to promote social justice every single day as they work with people who need their help.

But even people who don’t want to become social workers can and should contribute to the social justice movement.

There’s a lot you can do to pursue social change. You can vote for candidates who are dedicated to social justice and campaign on their behalf.

You can raise money for social justice organizations or support them directly with donations. You can raise awareness and speak up for people who are facing discrimination, poverty, racism, and other inequalities.


If we want a better world for all, we need to be willing to fight for it, whether that means pursuing a career in social work or simply making social justice a priority in our everyday lives!

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.