To understand how social workers facilitate social justice, you must first understand what social justice means and how it relates. There are many aspects to social justice. It is about equal rights, treatment, and opportunities for everyone. Overall, the concept remains the same: equality for all people, regardless of their identification or social standing.
Social justice is a relatively modern concept and often takes more practice to achieve than injustice, as that is rooted in prejudice and bias that already exists, usually learned early in life. Interrupting this bias can be difficult even for those that wish to. Learning to help people facing social injustice is a noble pursuit for anyone to undertake.
How do social workers fit in with social justice?
Social workers are representatives of many groups of people who may face social injustice. Those with disabilities, children, seniors, veterans, the homeless, LGBTQ, and people in a lower socio-economic bracket, may all come to a social worker for support. The social worker’s role is to help people in need of their assistance, and part of that is making sure they get fair access to jobs, benefits, and support.
In general, a social worker should:
- Concentrate on diversity.
- Confront the implications of oppression.
- Learn and address the attitudes and behaviors that sustain oppression.
- Adopt an inclusive mindset.
In doing the above in their daily practice, social workers can help fight social injustice. As a voice for people who may struggle to find one, a social worker must stand up for those who are not able to do so for themselves. This means the social worker must be educated in recognizing social injustice and interrupting biases.
Recognizing that society plays a role in social injustice will help the social worker better understand the people they are helping. Understanding how to do this is something you can learn to help others to do. A master’s degree in social work is a great way to start your path toward social justice.
Who can be a social worker?
Anyone interested in helping others and preventing social injustices can work on their degree to become a social worker. What if your degree is in another field? No problem. Education programs exist to help you convert your bachelor’s degree to a master’s in social work.
The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates the job outlook for social workers will increase by nine percent from 2021 to 2031, which is faster than the average for all occupations and an increase of over 60,000 jobs in ten years. This shows that a career as a social worker will be in high demand for the next several years, making a career change a valid move. In addition, 74,000 openings are expected each year because of social workers leaving the workforce due to career changes or retirement.
Unlike other careers, social workers are in demand across the US. There may even be openings near you already with no need to move, or you may find openings in cities you want to live in and make that move you have been unable to make in your current career. Either way, there is flexibility in where to work as a social worker, something not available in all professions.
There are also options to study online, such as the Spalding University online MSW program. The program is there to help anyone with a bachelor’s degree continue their education and become a social worker in just a year for full-time students or two years for part-time students, making this a great choice for anyone needing more flexibility. The master’s of social work degree program is accredited, flexible, inclusive, and offers field placement services for graduating students to find a career as a social worker.
If you find yourself wanting to help others with social justice, a career as a social worker may be right for you. Love the idea, but not sure if this is the career path for you? Take the next step towards a degree and begin researching the options out there to further your qualifications and change your career path. Help yourself learn how to help others and further your studies with a degree in social work.