Equality vs. Equity

When we discuss equality, it is almost always portrayed as a positive notion, something that we should all build towards. Issues such as gender equality and education, however, are not as simple.

For example, mentorship and training programs are constructed for women who have interest in participating in politics. Its reputation of being a man’s occupation, both throughout history and in the present, has severely decreased women’s chances to step foot into the industry. While these programs are solely available to women, which seems unfair to the opposite sex at first glance, it aims to even out the playing field that has historically been built extremely uneven. Equity aims to create justice that often would be overlooked if we solely based laws on equality.

The same could be said about education. A student with special needs will undeniably need further attention and resources. In a way, it could be said that in order for this child to be treated equally amongst other students, he or she would need to be approached equitably. In fact, this could be said about any student. Not one single human learns in the same way, therefore only a small minority will find themselves thriving in a typical school environment. As seen in this image, the elephant will not be able to climb that tree as successfully as the chimp. Although it seems like everyone is beginning on equal levels at first glance—like a standardized test, there will always be a people at an advantage and consequently, people that are at a disadvantage.

In order to achieve true equality, we must reflect on the adjustments that must be made to suit each individual to the best of our abilities and reach a state of equity, where true fairness is shown.