Difference Between Charity and Social Justice

Key Difference – Charity vs Social Justice

Charity and Social Justice can be considered as two approaches between which a key difference can be identified. Charity refers to helping people who need assistance. Social justice is the promotion of justice in the society. The key difference between the two is that while charity embraces an individualist approach, social justice uses a much more structural approach. Through this article let us examine the difference between charity and social justice further.

What is Charity?

Charity refers to helping people in need. A charitable person is a generous person who is ready to help those in need. In the world today, there are so many people in need of assistance. In the media, we often hear of so much of poverty, hunger and various forms of deprivation that people undergo on a daily basis. In such situations, helping people by providing them with whatever we have is considered as charity. This does not always have to be money; it can be food, clothing, etc.

In most societies, charity is considered as a good quality. However, one has to keep in mind that when helping others it is wrong to be condescending and sympathetic to others. All people prefer to be treated with dignity and respect, even when helping others, it is vital to bear this in mind.

Charities refer to organizations that help people who are in need. In different countries, there are a large number of charities that aim to assist different social groups. Some aim at helping orphans while others aim at helping female-headed households. Likewise, there is a lot of variety in charities.

Difference Between Charity and Social Justice

What is Social Justice?

Social justice refers to the promotion of justice in the society. This focuses on eradicating the inequalities that lie at the heart of the society. Social justice is creating a society where there is equality, solidarity, and human rights. It pays attention to the structural difference that creates inequality and social stratification in the society.

When engaging in a comparison between charity and social justice, the charity aims at helping the individual. This is an individualistic approach. Social justice looks at the underlying social structure that creates inequalities and tries to remedy the situation. Unlike charity, social justice is much more difficult to achieve as it goes against most of the well established social conventions and structural components.

This can be understood through an example. Charity is helping a person who is considered as poor. Social Justice is looking at the conditions that make the individual poor and attempting to fix this issue of poverty.

Key difference - Charity vs Social Justice

What is the Difference Between Charity and Social Justice?

Definitions of Charity and Social Justice:

Charity: Charity refers to helping people in need.

Social Justice: Social Justice refers to the promotion of justice in the society.

Characteristics of Charity and Social Justice:


Charity: Charity uses an individualist view.

Social Justice: Social Justice uses a structural view.


Charity: Charity makes an attempt to fix the problem on the surface.

Social Justice: Social Justice makes an attempt to eradicate the problem underneath the surface.

Image Courtesy:
1. The Seven Acts of Charity By Pieter Brueghel the Younger [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
2. TLV Social Justice Demo 140712 04 By Oren Rozen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons