A social lens: Equality vs. Equity

There’s a difference.

There’s a difference. I remember learning about equality early in Kindergarten. However, it wasn’t until high school that I truly understood what equality was. It was only an elementary level of understanding of what equality was, but I began to resonate with the word. Equity, on the other hand, I didn’t know what it was until my mid 20’s. I didn’t understand it until recently. People often think to misunderstand equality and equity because they don’t know what equity means and what equality truly represents.

What is equality? Cambridge dictionary defines equality as “the right of different groups of people to have a similar social position and receive the same treatment.”

What is equity? Equity is defined as “the situation in which everyone is treated fairly according to their needs and no group of people is given special treatment.

Now that we have the definitions of them, what’s the difference and why is it such a big deal? Well, it’s important for understanding today’s drive for social change and social justice. They are not one of the same. We can see it in our social media platforms of people discussing social change: addressing feminism, women’s rights, which parent is better, gender roles, etc. Men and women bashing each other. There are people that downplay people’s efforts to create a more equal system for men and women. They use traditional gender roles to demean, belittle, and gaslight when a negative story about equality or feminism is trending. Yet, so many of them miss the point that just as much as we want equality, we want equity. We want to be treated fairly and justly. Don’t we all?

A really amazing illustration that helped me visualize the difference between equality and equity is this.

A popular term that we have been hearing more and more in the last decade is to be an ally. An ally is a person who recognizes that though they are not a member of a marginalized group(s) they support, they make a concerted effort to better understand the struggle of another’s circumstances.

Advice: It’s impossible to be an ally to everyone, but you can try.

John meada 2019. addressing inbalance

That’s right. We cannot make everyone happy, but that doesn’t mean we cannot try. So let’s try!

1 thought on “A social lens: Equality vs. Equity

  1. I really like the subject matter you picked! I have a question that may be related to this, “Do you believe that people wanting approval from others is one of many reasons we can’t have equality or equity”?

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