Social Justice Topics for Thought-Provoking Essays

, Staff Writer
Updated May 19, 2021
Social justice topics written on signs
    Social justice topics written on signs
    Maskot / Maskot / Getty Images
    Used under Getty Images license

Have you been assigned to write an essay about a social justice topic? This type of assignment encourages students to engage in critical thinking about important current events and societal issues while also improving their writing skills. If you're not sure what you want to write about, review this list of social justice topics for students. You're sure to find something that you'd like to explore for your assignment.

What Is Social Justice?

The phrase social justice refers to issues associated with equality and basic human rights. Look for topics that focus on equal opportunity and the distribution of wealth and privileges within a society. There are many examples of social justice issues around the world. With that in mind, consider topics in the society or country in which you live as well as in other parts of the world.


There are many education-related social justice issues to consider when selecting an essay topic.

  • limiting access to pre-school education rather than making it available to all students
  • lack of funding for schools in low-income communities, leading to decaying buildings, larger class size, lack of materials, and the most inexperienced teachers
  • limiting students with learning disabilities to self-contained classrooms rather than including them in academic courses
  • too much emphasis on teaching to standardized tests rather than preparing students for the reality of life and the job market
  • school policies that disadvantage students whose individual identity may not conform to traditional expectations
  • scheduling/advising practices that steer female students away from science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) classes to ones more related to traditionally female occupations
  • the prohibitively high cost of getting a college education

Those who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds often face a very difficult road to the middle class.

  • the crippling level of student loan debt that economically disadvantaged individuals have to incur in order to go to trade school or college
  • an extremely low federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour as of mid-2021), creating a reality in which some full-time workers can't meet basic living expenses
  • the food insecurity and hunger that is caused by economic conditions that prevent people from earning enough to sufficiently feed themselves or their families
  • the difficulty of getting out of generational poverty due to a lack of assistance available for the working poor
  • the lack of good-paying job opportunities in rural areas where the cost of housing tends to be least expensive
  • continued income inequality for women in some jobs and organizations
  • glass ceilings that persist in some industries and companies that prevent women and minorities from advancing to jobs in the highest levels

There are many social justice issues associated with the cost and availability of healthcare coverage, as well as factors that significantly impact senior citizens in their golden years.

  • the extremely high cost of healthcare coverage for people who are trying to support themselves and their families by working
  • ongoing closures of rural hospitals leading to a lack of access to healthcare for people who live in these areas
  • the high occurrence of chronic health concerns that poor people tend to develop due to a lifetime of having to eat the cheapest possible food
  • the extremely high cost of many prescription drugs, including insulin and other life-sustaining medicines that people who need them have to take every day
  • senior citizens who are having to work into what should be their retirement due to being stuck in low paying jobs that didn't cover their expenses, let alone allow for retirement savings
  • social security payments to senior citizens that are insufficient to cover basic living expenses
  • disability (SSI - Supplemental Security Income) payments to people who are disabled that do not sufficiently cover basic living expenses

More Social Justice Topics for Students to Consider

Not all social justice essay topics are related to education, money or healthcare. There are quite a few other social justice research topics that may capture your interest.

  • gerrymandering voting districts to ensure that most voting districts don't have a majority of minority voters
  • voter suppression efforts to make it difficult for minorities to exercise their right to vote
  • disparate impact in the form of disproportionate arrests of African Americans and others who are in racial or ethnic minority groups
  • the extremely high financial cost and lengthy process of immigrating from an impoverished home country to another nation to start over
  • the high cost of defending oneself and/or paying restitution if one ends up going to jail, even for minor offenses
  • lack of gainful employment opportunities for people who have previous convictions
  • high levels of gun violence and drug trafficking in impoverished communities
  • climate change and insufficient commitment to environmental protection, leading to sufficient impacts in many communities

Prepare an Outstanding Essay

If you choose a social justice essay topic that is meaningful to you, you'll be surprised at how easy it is to write a well-researched, thought-provoking essay. Once you decide on a topic, your next task will be to write an effective topic sentence. Review these compelling hook examples before you start writing your topic sentence so you'll be inspired to craft a statement that really draws readers in and makes them want to read your work.