Equality vs. Equity

Equality vs. Equity

Many people would say that treating people equally is fair. Equality is important, but it is not always fair. Equity means fairness. Let’s put this into perspective. A turtle and a leopard are put at the same starting line to race. In this case, they are equal. However, we know a turtle does not have the same chance as a leopard to win the race and will most likely lose, so putting them at the same starting line is not fair. Fair would be giving the turtle a different starting line that is closer to the finish line, so it actually has a chance. This is the difference between equality and equity.

Treating everyone equally is not always fair because others aren’t given the same opportunities or have acquired the same skills. We should consider where people come from, what opportunities they were presented with, and obstacles that may still be in their way when trying to treat people fairly. Treating people fairly establishes a sense of community.

Adlerian theory would explain this as horizontal movement. Alfred Adler created two concepts, horizontal movement and vertical movement. Horizontal movement means acting in the interest of others, while vertical movement means acting in the interest of oneself to increase power. If we practice horizontal movement, we can create a society that is fair to everyone.

Fair is equity, not equality.