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6 Careers in Social Justice Work to Explore

28 February 2022   |   by Explore Careers

If you’ve ever considered a career in the legal sector, then you may have started exploring social justice.

As a career pathway, there are plenty of avenues to dive down, but you might be wondering what exactly social justice is and the types of roles that align with this industry.

In today’s blog, we’re covering just that! Let’s dive in.

First Things First; What is Social Justice?

Justice is the concept of fairness; social justice is fairness as it manifests within society. This includes fairness in healthcare, employment, housing, and other areas of our community. Social justice applies to all aspects of society and is closely tied to human rights.

Social justice means:

  • Everyone’s human rights are respected and protected.
  • Everyone has equal opportunities.
  • Everyone has a fighting chance at the life they want. They aren’t held back by things out of their control, like systemic obstacles or discrimination.

Social justice is broad, and the ways we can aid, support, and help to reduce the challenges highlighted by key social justice movements around the world are nuanced.

6 Careers to Explore in Social Justice Work

As social justice touches across several areas of society, there are plenty of ways to get involved and numerous pathways to explore a career in. You might pick one area of social justice – such as racial discrimination or gender equality – or you might work more generally to help improve things across a cross-section of areas.

Below we’ve collated six top career pathways worth exploring if you’re interested in social justice:

1. Social Service Worker

Social Service Workers work towards social justice at the frontline of this field. They work directly with community groups and individuals to help connect them with the services they need. Social Service Workers generally work at the local or state levels with non-governmental organisations but may also work for local government organisations. It can be an extremely challenging yet incredibly rewarding role as you actively see the difference you’re making in people’s lives.

2. Social Justice Researcher

Social Justice Researchers focus on gathering information, statistics, and data across various social justice issues, including criminal justice, poverty, LQBTQIA+ issues, gender inequality, indigenous rights, and more. Social Justice Researchers might work for fo non-profits organisations, international organisations, academic institutions such as universities, or dedicated research institutes. Their research can help support different social justice programs and their outcomes and influence policy development.

3. Human Rights Lawyer

Social justice law covers many issues, including gender equality, housing rights, war crimes, LGBTQIA+ issues, freedom of speech, indigenous rights, and more. Human rights lawyers interested in social justice issues advocate on behalf of victims, persecution, civil rights violations, and other areas of social justice. They work at local, national, and international levels within non-profit and private organisations. Those interested in this area of law could specialise in international human rights law or civil rights laws.

4. Social Services Program Officer

Social Services Program Officer’s play a role in designing, implementing, and managing programs to create social change for vulnerable and marginalised populations across communities. Social Services Program Officers usually work within local government and community organisations to run the programs their organisation is involved in delivering.

5. Social Justice Policy Analyst

Social Justice Policy Analysts work with local and national human rights policies and the local, national, or international level for non-governmental organisations, government offices, international organisations, and policy think tanks. Policy Analysts are typically responsible for keeping up with changes and trends in social concerns, politics, and other relevant areas to make recommendations to influence policy to create positive changes.

6. Social Justice Advocate

Social Justice Advocates work in roles similar to Social Service Workers, advocating on behalf of vulnerable and marginalised groups for their rights to services. Social Justice Advocates also act as lobbyists, promoting and pushing forward specific policy changes they feel will benefit various social justice issues. While advocates are not lawyers, having a working knowledge of the law so have a solid understanding of individual rights they’re advocating for.

Where to Learn More

As always, these roles are just touching the surface of where a career in social justice work can take you.

We highly recommend checking out the career pages on the United Nations and The Red Cross for more information on these exceptionally rewarding pathways.

You can also find out more about the legal and justice sector in general by visiting our dedicated Legal Industries page.


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