Fighting for women’s rights and promoting choice: Implications for critical social work education


  • Kim Robinson School of Health & Social Development, Faculty of Health, Deakin University
  • Rojan Afrouz School of Health & Social Development, Faculty of Health, Deakin University


Social movement, activism, feminism, transnational, intersectionality, critical social work



INTRODUCTION: In recent years, there have been active social movements that have resisted dominant oppressive discourses and systems. In this article, we focus on two women’s movements Abortion Rights in Australia and the Iranian women’s protests. These movements have pushed back on the regulation of women’s bodies, choice, and reproductive rights, and are demanding social justice against violence, key areas of concern for critical social work (CSW).

METHODS:  The theoretical lenses of feminist transnationalism and intersectionality will inform our critical analysis based on our case studies describing activism on reproductive justice (RJ) and social justice.

FINDINGS: Both movements centre women’s choice and control over their bodies – in one case, the removal of access to abortion in the USA has incited protests to protect women’s reproductive right to choose, and in the other Iranian women have taken to the streets to demand their rights to gender equality and protest the systematic violence against women and their bodies. Consideration of the contribution of women’s activism to social work education is presented.

CONCLUSION: While these movements are not equivalent, they demonstrate political and collective activism to fight for women’s right to choose. The article concludes with how social movements can help us develop strategies of hope and collective action. The pedagogy of solidarity and community of practice can amplify social work education to both reflect and encourage activism.

Author Biography

Kim Robinson, School of Health & Social Development, Faculty of Health, Deakin University

School of Health and Social Development


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How to Cite

Robinson, K., & Afrouz, R. (2023). Fighting for women’s rights and promoting choice: Implications for critical social work education. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 35(4), 59–72. Retrieved from