World Social Work Day
World Social Work Day is observed on the third Tuesday in March to recognize social workers and everything they do for their communities. Social work is a profession dedicated to enhancing the well-being and quality of life for all people—with a special focus on individuals who are oppressed, vulnerable, or living in poverty.
Social workers focus on individuals and their environment to develop a plan that will help improve the person’s situation and outlook. So on this holiday in March, we encourage everyone to salute these tireless professionals whose work is to help people whenever they can.
The History of World Social Work Day
World Social Work Day was first promoted by the International Federation of Social Workers, or IFSW, in 2007. The IFSW is the global body for the profession of social work, and its members work towards inclusivity, social justice, and human rights. They also work towards promoting the best practices of social work around the world with the help of international cooperation.
Of course, the idea of a Social Work Day was first thought of back in 1983 when IFSW UN Representatives in New York proposed a project to bring social workers into the UN headquarters. Although the holiday to promote this wouldn’t officially begin for another 24 years worldwide, it did lead to the beginning of this holiday.
Facts About Social Workers
Below are some of the facts that we’ve discovered about the profession of social work and social workers while we were doing our due diligence for this holiday.
- Social workers not only help people but also use their skills to strengthen relationships, end generational cycles of abuse and trauma, and promote good mental health.
- Social workers help individuals, families, and groups enhance or restore their social functioning.
- Social workers need a complex knowledge of human behavior, development, and social interactions to do their jobs.
- Every facet of the community employs social workers in some way. Social workers work in schools, mental health clinics, prisons, private corporations, the military, and even in elected office.
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs employs more than 13,000 professional social workers.
- Approximately 40% of disaster mental health volunteers employed by the American Red Cross are working social workers.
- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics states that one of the fastest-growing professions in the United States is social work.
- Social workers can have their student loans forgiven by following the terms of the 2007 College Cost Reduction Act.
Observing World Social Work Day
Every year, the IFSW focuses on a particular theme. For example, the theme in 2015 was “Promoting the Dignity and Worth of Peoples,” and in 2021, the theme was “Strengthening Social Solidarity & Global Connectedness.”
Each theme allows symposiums and exhibits to be planned around areas that need to be addressed by social workers. People wanting to give a shout-out to social workers on this day can do so by using the hashtag #WorldSocialWorkDay on their social media accounts.