Equity vs Equality

Today, we often hear the words equality and equity used interchangeably when referring to the treatment of different groups in society. However, these two concepts are quite different, despite their similarities in meaning. This article will discuss equity and equality and how they work together to create positive change for marginalized groups in society.

Main Difference

There is a lot of misunderstanding and confusion about the two regarding equity vs. equality. People use the two interchangeably, but they are pretty different. The definition of equity is giving each person what they need to be fair. This can be done by considering individual circumstances, needs, and differences. Equality, on the other hand, is treating everyone the same, regardless of their differences.

In theory, equity is a good thing. It strives for fairness and takes into account people’s unique needs. However, it can be challenging to achieve in practice because it’s so subjective. What one person may deem necessary may not be seen as necessary by someone else. Equality, on the other hand, is much more black and white.

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What is Equity?

Equity refers to the fair distribution of wealth among people. Equity is achieved in a society where everyone has equal access to necessities. However, inequality exists in a society where some have more than others. When someone has more than what they need, it creates inequity. For example, a person who earns $1000 per week but spends $2000 per week is engaging in an inequitable practice. On the other hand, an equitable situation would be one where two people earn $1000 each and spend $500 each per week or two people who earn $2000 each but spend only $1000 each.

What is Equality?

Equality means that everyone receives the same amount of something. If everyone gets the same number of apples, then we have equality. But if some get more apples than others, we have inequality. For example, let’s say four people each receive 10 apples. Two people will have five more apples than the other two; this is inequality. On the other hand, equity is when everyone has an equal opportunity to attain or achieve something.

It means fairness in how opportunities are distributed or shared. Achieving equity would mean giving an apple to those who had none before. So for our previous example, it would mean giving six apples to those who only received one apple at first–this brings them up to a total of six apples instead of three apples like before.

Difference Between Equity vs. Equality

The words equity and equality are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. Equality is the state of being equal, while equity is the state of being fair. So, in a nutshell, equality is about everyone having the same opportunities, while equity is about ensuring those opportunities are distributed fairly.

Men vs. Women: Equity vs. Equality

There are countless examples of inequality between men and women in our society. Men are typically paid more than women for the same job, women are not given the same opportunities as men, and sexual harassment and assault are still significant problems.

However, there is a difference between equality and equity. Equality is when everyone is given the same opportunities, regardless of their sex, race, or socioeconomic status. Equity is when people are given what they need to be successful, despite any barriers that may be in place.

Racial differences: Equity vs. Equality

The term equity is often used interchangeably with equality. However, the two concepts are pretty different. Equality is the state of being equal, while equity is the state of being fair. In other words, equality is about sameness, while equity is about fairness.

For example, a class that has 20% African American students is considered to be equitable if all students have an equal opportunity to succeed in the class. If African Americans represented 80% of the class instead, it would not be equitable because they would not have an equal opportunity to succeed as their peers.

Age differences: Equity vs. Equality

When it comes to equity vs. equality, it’s essential to understand the difference between the two. Age differences can play a significant role in how these concepts are applied. For example, younger people may be more likely to benefit from equality, while older people may be more likely to benefit from equity.

This is because younger people generally have less experience and resources than older people. So, when it comes to allocating resources, equal treatment may not be fair. Younger people would be more likely to benefit from equality, whereas older people would be more likely to benefit from equity. For everyone to receive equal opportunities regardless of age, we need equity and equality.

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Gender identity: Equity vs. Equality

The concepts of equity and equality are often used interchangeably, but they denote two different things. Equality is the state of being equal, while equity is the state of being fair. So, in terms of gender identity, equality would mean that everyone is treated equally regardless of gender identity. In contrast, equity would mean that people are treated according to their individual needs and experiences.

For example, if a classroom has 10 desks, four of which are meant for girls, six for boys, and two for non-binary students (students who identify as neither a boy nor girl), an equitable situation might be to place four desks with chairs for girls next to four desks with chairs for boys. An equitable solution, in this case, would also require extra desk space for non-binary students who need it.


Regarding social justice, the terms equity and equality are often used interchangeably. But while they may appear to be the same, there is a big difference between them. The problem with equating these two concepts is that it implies that everyone has already achieved equity or equality when this isn’t true. One cannot give someone something they don’t have or provide access to something they don’t know about or have access to – therefore, those who need it most will never get anything from this equality. Instead of using these words interchangeably, we should focus on achieving genuine equal opportunity for all people by tackling the systems of privilege, power, and oppression.