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The definition of social injustice tends to be multiple, depending on the aspect and conditions under which it is analyzed. Simply and succinctly, the pattern of injustice occurs when two similar individuals in equal conditions receive unequal treatment.

For there to be a parameter in the treatment given by Justice, some criteria have been established throughout history: a) Justice considers, in people, virtues or merits; b) justice treats human beings as equals; c) treats people according to their needs, their abilities or taking both into account.

Everyone knows that justice is done by men, and for this very reason it improves as societies also develop, not only economically, but mainly by expanding the civil, political and/or social rights of the population. On the other hand, Justice often ends up expressing partial interests, by contemplating, directly or indirectly, expectations that meet the economic and social elites – the owners of power.

Currently, social research is known and diverse, confirming that social injustice affects certain social groups, such as: women receive lower wages than men, the same thing happening with blacks and violence affects much more young people who have low education and those who are unemployed.

Generally speaking, the relationship between economic development and social policies has always been perverse. In many countries, there was the idea that it was necessary for the country to grow economically so that the “pie” was later divided, which proved to be a fallacy. Thus, several factors contributed and contribute to the deepening of social injustices. It so happens that the factors of social disintegration, added to the acceleration of inflation – and even after controlled inflation – caused the worsening of income concentration. In most poor countries, income concentration is one of the crucial factors for the existence of social injustice.


There are several causes that influence social injustice. Here are some of these:

1. Poverty

Poverty leads people to have fewer opportunities to develop and improve their living conditions. It also prevents access to quality food and public services such as clean water, shelter and electricity.

Generally, poverty deprives people of access to adequate health services, which lowers their life expectancy. This happens not only in poor countries, but also in many rich countries where there are marginalized sectors.

2. Access to education

Education is the first cause of social mobility for people or groups that are marginalized in society.

Through education it is possible to climb positions socially. Therefore, when access to quality education is limited, a social gap is generated.

Educated people have more opportunities to emerge than those who are not educated or trained for the job. An uneducated person is more likely to be discriminated against, exploited and mistreated.

3. Unfair laws

There are social sectors that are treated unfairly by legislation that discriminates on cultural, religious, economic and social grounds. Even in more advanced societies, some laws can generate injustice, such as labor laws.

There are also societies in which the limitation of civil and political rights through oppressive laws creates social injustice. This is the case of authoritarian government regimes (dictatorships on the left or on the right).


Here are some of the most relevant examples of social injustice in the world today:

1. Discrimination

Segregation of multiple individuals from one person or social group is perhaps the greatest example of social injustice.

It can be generated as a result of differences in skin color, age (age), ethnicity, religious beliefs, political ideology, sexual inclination, gender and physical disability, among others.

2. Inequality

Inequality occurs as a consequence of social injustice. Privileged groups control, limit or monopolize access to sources of employment, as well as educational services, hospitals, etc.

3. labor exploitation

Immigrants and the most vulnerable sectors of society are often exploited for work because they are not protected by legislation.

Workers suffer abuse, abuse, sexual harassment, threats and unjustified dismissals. Often these people are subjected to situations similar to those of slavery.

4. Gender violence

Gender violence is another example of social inequality, as it is directed at a person or group subject to sex. In Latin American societies with a strong macho tradition, women are the most affected by gender-based violence.

This form of social inequality manifests itself through various crimes. This includes assault and rape, physical and sexual violence, forced prostitution, castration, job discrimination, white trafficking, workplace harassment, etc.

5. Violation of human rights

Abuses committed or condoned by the State constitute a violation of human rights and, therefore, a form of social injustice.

Other forms of social injustice are the segregation of minorities, subjecting people to starvation and disease for political reasons, disrespect for civil and political rights, torture and murder of dissident groups.

Social injustice definition



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