Helen Suzman (1917–2009) was internationally renowned for many years as the sole white woman representative in the South African Parliament to speak out against apartheid measures. As a Member of the Parliament (1953–1989), she spoke out against the unfair and discriminatory policies of the government, for instance, opposing capital punishment, prison conditions, gender discrimination against Black women, and policy of apartheid.
Kristin M. Ferguson
Considerable definitional vagueness exists regarding civil society, in part due to the concept's long history and multiple underlying schools of thought. Issues of multiculturalism and social justice are central to the term. Civil society is also a global concept, referring to the supranational sphere. The social work profession can benefit from collaborative action with local civil society associations in working to dismantle structural inequality and enhance opportunities for disadvantaged populations.
Gwendolyn D. Perry-Burney
Maria Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco-Aquino (1933–2009) was best known as the first female president of the Philippines. She challenged the Marcos regime after her husband’s assassination in 1983, and she won the presidency in 1986.
Janet L. Finn and Maxine Jacobson
This entry examines the concept of social justice and its significance as a core value of social work. Diverse conceptualizations of social justice and their historical and philosophical underpinnings are examined. The influence of John Rawls' perspectives on social justice is addressed as are alternative conceptualizations, such as the capabilities perspective. The roots of social justice are traced through social work history, from the Settlement House Movement to the Rank and Film Movement, Civil Rights Movement, and contemporary struggles in the context of globalization. Challenges for social justice-oriented practice in the 21st century are address. The discussion concludes with concrete example of ways in which social workers are translating principles of social justice into concrete practices.