Principles of social justice

Principles of social justice2018-10-20T11:00:38+10:00

The principles of social justice underscore much of health promotion since the Ottawa Charter in 1986. Social justice is about upholding human rights. This involves advocating for people, valuing diversity, providing supportive environments in order to achieve equity in health and enable people to achieve good health. The Constitution of the World Health Organisation: Principles, states:

The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.[1]

Since health is a human right, it is a social justice issue and any health promotion should take the principles of social justice into account. The principles of social justice listed in the Preliminary PDHPE syllabus include: equity, diversity, and supportive environments.

Within the Ottawa Charter for health promotion, the principles of social justice can be seen in both the prerequisite for health and the three (3) strategies for health promotion: advocate, enable, and mediate. Each of these strategies require someone to fight for someone else in order to help them achieve what is their right – health.

It should be noted that social justice is about fairness, which is not always the same as equality. Health promotion should seek for everyone to have equal levels of good health, but what each person requires in order to be able to attain health will vary and needs to be addressed.

Students learn about:

Students learn to:

  • identify strategies where the principles of social justice have been applied to promote the health of individuals.

Practice questions

What are the principles of social justice? 3 marks

How has the principle of supportive environments been used to promote health and decrease smoking in Australia. 5 marks

Use a health promotion initiative as an example to show how the principles of social justice are used in health promotion. 6 marks