Equity means giving everyone what they need to succeed, while equality means treating everyone equally. Equity balances need and circumstances, while equality is fairness. Equality ensures everyone has equal opportunities, while equity recognises that some people face more significant barriers and may need more support. For instance, providing disability-related resources and accommodations ensures equal education and employment opportunities. Equity is fairness and meeting individual needs, while equality is sameness.
What is Equity?
Equity refers to the fairness and impartiality with which resources, opportunities, and benefits are distributed among individuals or groups. In society, equity ensures that everyone, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics, has equal access to the same opportunities and benefits. Everyone should have equal access to education, employment, healthcare, housing, and other necessities. Equity refers to a company’s or property’s ownership interest in finance. Stocks or shares represent this ownership interest, entitling the holder to a portion of the company’s profits and assets.
To achieve equity, systemic barriers and biases that prevent certain groups from accessing the same opportunities and benefits as others must be addressed. This includes the elimination of discriminatory policies and practices, the promotion of diversity and inclusion, and the provision of targeted assistance and resources to marginalised communities. Equity is frequently contrasted with equality, which focuses on treating everyone equally regardless of their circumstances or needs. While equality is essential, equity recognises that not everyone starts from the same place and that different approaches are required to level the playing field and ensure fairness.
What is Equality?
To be equal means to be treated with no bias in regard to your rights, opportunities, or treatment. It’s the belief that everyone deserves to be treated equally and fairly, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or socioeconomic status. Economic, social, and political equality are all components of true equality. In contrast to social equality, which emphasises equal access to education, healthcare, and other public services, economic equality refers to the equitable distribution of wealth and resources. The right to vote and hold public office is what we mean when discussing political equality.
The pursuit of equality is a cornerstone of human rights and is protected by a wide range of domestic and international statutes and treaties. The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” But because discrimination and inequality take many forms, progress toward equality must be fought for constantly. Equal rights and opportunities for all people, regardless of background or identity, require ongoing efforts and policy changes.
Difference Between Equity and Equality
Equity and equality are frequently used interchangeably but have distinct meanings and implications. Equality means treating everyone equally and providing equal opportunities, resources, and access to goods and services without bias or favouritism. It is based on the idea that everyone, regardless of their background, identity, or circumstances, should have equal opportunities in life. Equality is a goal that promotes fairness and justice. It is frequently reflected in laws and policies that aim to prevent discrimination based on race, gender, religion, or other factors.
Conversely, equity is concerned with providing fair and just outcomes while considering people’s differences and needs. It recognises that people start from different places, have additional resources and abilities, and thus may require further treatment or support to achieve equality. Instead of treating symptoms, equity focuses on levelling the playing field and addressing the root causes of inequalities. It entails recognising and addressing systemic discrimination, bias, and privilege and developing policies and practices to assist people who have historically been marginalised or disadvantaged. Equity, therefore, treats everyone equally, whereas equity provides everyone with what they need to succeed.