The World Day of Social Justice presents a great opportunity to learn more about issues facing the world today. Without social justice, the world will remain a place of uneven and unequal progress. Vulnerable populations like the poor, indigenous people, racial minorities, and others face uphill battles in the face of discrimination and systemic inequalities. The World Day of Social Justice shines a light on these battles, which is the first step to improvement. For a deeper dive into poverty, LGBTQ+ rights, gender equality, and more, here are five books that explore the major social justice issues of our time:
Before the world can solve the issue of poverty, people need to understand the decisions poor people have to make. People, including experts, often get overwhelmed with the problem. It’s too easy to stop thinking about it. This book describes itself as an “invitation” to think again and focus on concrete problems. Big questions like “Is democracy good for people?” and “What is the root cause of poverty?” aren’t especially useful. This book is interested in evidence and field research. It offers a vivid look at what life is like when you’re only making 99 cents a day.
Abhijit Banerjee is a Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at MIT and a co-founder/co-director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab. In 2011, he was listed in Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers. Esther Duflo is also a professor at MIT and co-founder/co-director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab. She’s won various academic awards. Both authors won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics.
Journalist Frederic Martel visited over 50 countries to explore the globalization of LGBT rights. His travels took him to the US, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and more. The book is packed with interviews from a wide variety of people, such as television journalists, jurists, refugees, activists, and others. While the United States sets the tone for gay culture and activism, countries are unique. The book seeks to give readers a full look at gay life, gay rights, and the gay experience as it varies across the world.
Frederic Martel is a French sociologist, researcher, and author.
This book focuses on gender equality and the oppression of women and girls in the developing world. While there’s been progress in the past decades, women and girls still face significant discrimination and oppression. Half the Sky shows how with assistance, even more progress can be made. A woman from Zimbabwe went back to school, earning a doctorate and becoming an AIDS expert. A Cambodian girl, after escaping a brothel, built a retail business with help from an aid group. This book argues that empowering women is the best strategy for ending poverty and improving economic progress.
In 1990, Kristoff and WuDunn won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of Tiananmen Square, becoming the first married couple to win the prize for journalism. They both worked as journalists for the New York Times. DuWunn was the first Asian-American reporter to win the award. They’ve written five books together.
This book combines scholarly research and firsthand accounts to trace the spread of the broken-windows policy strategy. This method has led to extreme and deadly police powers across the world. Contributors include Patrisse Cullors, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, prison abolitionist and scholar Ruth Wilson Gilmore, and others. Anyone interested in policing in the United States and abroad will find this book enlightening and alarming.
Jordan T. Camp is a Visiting Scholar in the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. he is also the co-director of the Racial Capitalism Working Group at Columbia University. Christina Heatherton is an Assistant Professor of American Studies at Barnard College.
This book follows eight American families from Milwaukee, showing how broken the American system is. In the past, evictions were rare, but now, they are commonplace. Most poor families renting their homes spend more than half of their income on housing. Desmond relies on years of fieldwork and data to present his case. He also captures the heartbreaking stories of those featured in the book. Evicted won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 2017, as well as many other notable awards.
Matthew Desmond is an American sociologist and writer. At Princeton University, he is the principal investigator at the Eviction Lab and Maurice P. During Professor of Sociology. In 2015, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for his work on poverty.