Careers in Social Justice

Careers in Social Justice

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

When you see a homeless person begging on the street, you might walk by quickly or you might decide to do something to help. If the second one is your choice, you might be suited to a career in social justice. If you are very much concerned about fairness and helping your community, you can find many different careers in social justice where you can help others.

Many different jobs are related to helping other people. Medical careers, for example, help people when they are injured or sick. Teaching helps children and adults learn what they need to know for all kinds of daily tasks and for getting good jobs. However, careers in social justice give a different kind of help.

Suppose an immigrant comes to Canada and was a doctor in their previous country, but could not find work here despite being well trained. Someone working as a social justice lawyer could help this person to get the right documents here to be able to work as a doctor. Or suppose that an employer refused to pay workers for some extra work that they did; a labour advocate could try to convince the employer to give the employees what they deserve.

Two of the most common areas with careers in social justice are in law firms and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Human rights lawyers sometimes work with government agencies to help change bad laws and to make sure that people receive the help they need. Another important area where lawyers work is in dealing with unjust imprisonments. For example, when a Canadian teenager named Omar Khadr was imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay by American authorities, a Winnipeg lawyer managed to help him get back to Canada. Another Canadian citizen, the journalist Mohamed Fahmy, was able to return to Canada with the help of a human rights lawyer.

Law firms are very important in the field of human rights, but nongovernmental organizations are also good places to find work in social justice. Many of these organizations work in areas like poverty reduction and helping people find jobs. They might help people start small businesses or open up homeless shelters and soup kitchens.

Generally, NGOs do more than just trying to deal with the surface problems, like giving out food and warm clothes. They also try to change the systems that keep people poor and in need. Some people work as advocates for many different marginalized groups in society. They might write articles, meet with government officials and business leaders, or give talks to community groups and other organizations.

Working in social justice can be very rewarding but also frustrating, especially when progress seems to stall. People working in this field need to enjoy what they do and be able to deal with disappointment. In nongovernmental organizations, salaries can be quite low, depending on where they get their funding. Lawyers tend to be well paid, but the work they do in social justice might be different. Whatever the pay, however, a career in social justice can be a good choice.


John Glenn College of Public Affairs. “Career Opportunities in Social Justice.” http://glenn.osu.edu/career/guides-resources/careerguides/Career-Opportunities-in-Social-Justice.pdf

Joshee, Reva. “Opportunities for Social Justice Work: The Ontario Diversity Policy Web.” http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/isp/UserFiles/File/OpportunitiesForSocialJusticeWork.pdf

Social Work Degree Guide. “5 Jobs for Those Committed to Social Justice.” https://www.socialworkdegreeguide.com/lists/5-jobs-for-those-committed-to-social-justice/

University of Windsor. “The Social Justice Path.” http://www.uwindsor.ca/law/544/social-justice-path.

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