Updated: Apr 16
For my friend Bernie: Equality and equity are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they have very different meanings. Understanding the differences between these concepts is crucial for creating a fair and just society. In this blog post, we'll define and compare equity and equality and explore why both are important.
Equality refers to treating everyone the same, regardless of their background, abilities, or circumstances. It's about giving everyone an equal opportunity to succeed. In a world where everyone is truly equal, people would have access to the same resources, opportunities, and privileges. However, this is rarely the case. In reality, people come from different backgrounds and have different abilities and circumstances that affect their ability to succeed.
Equity, on the other hand, is about recognizing and addressing these differences. It's about creating a level playing field by providing people with the resources and support they need to succeed. Equity recognizes that some people have disadvantages that make it harder for them to succeed, and it seeks to address these disparities. It's about giving people what they need to succeed, rather than treating everyone the same.
To illustrate the difference between equity and equality, consider the following scenario. Imagine a group of people standing at a fence, trying to watch a baseball game. The fence is too high for some people to see over, while others can see just fine. If we treat everyone equally, we might give everyone a box to stand on. However, this would still leave some people unable to see the game. If we want to achieve equity, we would give the shorter people a taller box and the taller people a shorter box, so that everyone has an equal opportunity to see the game.
So why is it important to understand the difference between equity and equality? Because treating everyone the same can actually perpetuate inequality. If we don't recognize that some people have disadvantages that make it harder for them to succeed, we'll never address those disparities. By striving for equity, we can create a fairer and more just society where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.
In conclusion, equality and equity are two different concepts that are often used interchangeably. While equality is about treating everyone the same, equity is about recognizing and addressing differences to create a level playing field. Both concepts are important for creating a fair and just society. By striving for equity, we can work to address the disparities that exist and create a more equitable world for everyone.