Equity vs equality: the difference is only a few letters. However, these letters make a world of difference.
They’re both words that have become crucial in conversations about marginalized people. Due to the similar pronunciation, you might be tempted to use them interchangeably. However, this is something you should never ever do.
So how do you properly use these words? This article will walk you through all you need to know about equality and equity.
Equity vs Equality
The main difference is simple: equality focuses on giving people the same resources. It proposes that everyone should be treated the same way, and from that, a better world will shine.
Equity, instead, recognizes that different people have different circumstances. In an equitable system, resources are distributed based on the needs of the people.
A Flaw in the System
The concept of equality was implemented in this country in order to fight against corrupt systems in place. In the past, people did not have access to the same resources. A perfect example of this is the LGBTQ community, which only recently won marriage rights.
Systems that promote equality, while coming from good intentions, unintentionally end up reinforcing systems that are unjust. How could this be? Let’s take a look at an example.
Let’s say a state passes legislation to introduce 300 laptops to every public school. Most people would rejoice; surely, bringing laptops into public schools would help everyone out.
But not so fast. What if we’re talking about a state like New York, where the levels of wealth between people vastly varies between counties? What good would 300 new laptops do in Westchester County, one of the wealthiest counties in America, where, more than likely, most students already have their own laptops?
A system that focuses on equity would do more research. They’d figure out how many schools have students that already have laptops. Then, they’d focus their supply of laptops on those most disadvantaged.
It can be frustrating to think that our ideas about creating a better world are flawed. Unfortunately, it’s what we have to do. If we continue on the path that we’ve chosen, we’re not going to make more progress in creating a just world.
One of the key parts of creating an equitable society is clearing space for LGBTQ people to speak their minds. Why not take some time to read and listen to some LGBTQ stories?
More than likely, most people you meet aren’t sharing stories like this. Click here for an awesome article on a personal definition of pride.
Forging a Better World
If we want to create a better world for all people, we need to take into consideration the battle of equity vs equality. While they both are ways forward, it’s become extremely clear that equity is the only way to truly create a world that’s just and right.
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