Difference Between Equity and Equality

Difference Between Equity and Equality

What is the difference between equity and equality? It’s so easy to mix up words which have almost similar spellings and almost similar meanings. Equal refers to being uniform with respect to quantity, degree, value, proportions, etc. Now given the similarity in spellings between these two words, it’s easy to mistakenly use them interchangeably.

These terms are widely used throughout, especially in situations which involve politics, welfare, charity, or any topic which is concerned with distribution. This article will provide an appropriate picture with respect to the difference between equity and equality.

Definition of Equity

Equity is being unbiased, with the intent of taking into account individual needs and performance while making decision. If we were to imagine a football game with three individuals who want to watch it. Two of them are short while the third is on a wheelchair. They are unable to watch the game because of a wall which is obstructing their view.

If the first two individuals are given boxes, and the handicapped boy is given a slopped platform, upon which his wheelchair can be pushed, all of them may be able to see and enjoy the game. This is a practice with equitable distribution. This scenario will aid in understanding the difference between equality and equity.

Definition of Equality

Equality is uniform treatment. No special characteristics such as riches, cast, color, needs, etc. are taken into account. Continuing our example of the football game. Given that all three individuals want to watch the football game. However, they are unable to because of the wall obstructing their view.

Now here is the subtlety that highlights the difference between equality and equity. By the law of equal distribution, all of them are given three boxes each. The first two individuals are able to climb on top of the boxes and hence, enjoy the game, but, sadly, the third individual being on a wheelchair is unable to climb on top of any box. Thus, cannot enjoy the game. 

Equity vs Equality Comparison Table

If you are still confused as to what is the difference between equality and equity, this will help

Basis of Comparison Equality Equity  
Mean Provide the uniform distribution   Unbiased distribution taking into account needs  
Process Continuity End
Division of assets Everyone gets uniform share   A need-based share is provided
End result Everyone gets a bit of everything regardless of need  Everyone gets whatever sufficiently fulfills their respective needs

Conclusion of the Main Difference Between Equity vs Equality

The application and utilization of these terms has a wide array. It won’t take anyone long to understand what’s the difference between equity and equality. However, after achieving this clarity of use, one can appreciate how these two terms are applicable to all sorts of situations from quarrels in between siblings due to unjust distribution to current affairs of world hunger or civil unrest. But, alas, just understanding the dissimilarity is not enough. A sound application of knowledge of what makes all the difference.