The Difference Between Equity and Equality

The Difference Between Equity and Equality

Why equal isn't always right
9858
views

I spent most of my life believing that equality was everything. As long as I treated every person the same way, nobody could be unhappy with the results and it was all okay. Flash forward to my sophomore year of college when I became a Resident Assistant. We have extensive training covering a variety of topics, but one that stayed with me was the difference between equity and equality. So, let me explain it to you.

Equality is defined as "The quality or state of being equal; the quality or state of having the same rights, social status, etc." That sounds pretty good, right? And equality is good! There is absolutely nothing wrong with promoting equality, or in other words, fairness. But when you place equality next to equity, that's when the lines become a bit blurred.

Equity is defined as "fairness or justice in the way people are treated." You might be thinking "Oh, they're pretty much the same thing," but in actuality, they are very different concepts that cannot be accurately explained by a simple definition.

When we talk about equality, we pretty much mean that everyone gets the same thing. For example: in a classroom of first graders, if Jimmy gets thirty minutes of recess, every other child gets thirty minutes of recess (barring any disciplinary action restricting recess time). Okay, that's equal and fair. Now imagine a classroom of students with a writing test prompt in front of them. The instructions are printed on the first page of the exam, but while the majority of the class reads them, one student has a pair of headphones to listen to the instruction. This upsets one of the students, claiming it is unfair that the other student gets to listen while he has to read.

Is that scenario really unfair? That's where the difference between equality and equity comes into play. While equality is treating everyone the same way, equity is giving each person what they need to be successful. At first glance, this seems like it may be unfair, but in reality, it's moving everyone towards the same level of success. Not every person starts from the same place, nor do they have the same needs. This is most apparent in education, where different learning types (visual, auditory, tactile, etc.) are demonstrated.

In the previous example then, was it unfair that the one student got to listen to instructions while the others read them? It isn't a matter of whether the other children WANT to listen to the instructions, but whether they NEED to in order to successfully complete the exam. By allowing the auditory learner to listen to the instructions, you are giving him the same opportunity to succeed as the students who are visual learners. He isn't getting some advantage that is withheld from the others.

Another example is providing extra services in school to the students who need them, such as after-school programs, and tutoring. For example: Maddie does exceedingly well in math, while Susie struggles. Susie begins attending tutoring sessions, and after a few weeks, her math scores improve. Since Maddie does not need the extra help, Susie really isn't getting anything that Maddie doesn't already have, so it's fair. All that happened here is that the playing field of success was improved by allowing Susie to receive the extra help she needed to learn the same material as Maddie.

In case my explanation was confusing, here's a picture denoting a PERFECT example of equality versus equity:

Equality does not "level the playing field," it simply gives everyone the same thing. Equity, however, recognizes that some people have less privilege than others and therefore need a little bit more help to reach the same place. Instead of making everything equal, let's make it equitable.

Cover Image Credit: Everyday-Democracy

Popular Right Now

Why Your Grandma Is Your Biggest Blessing In Life

Because nobody loves you more than she does.
204924
views

There are many people in your life you are thankful for: Mom, Dad, siblings, cousins, best friends, teachers, neighbors, you name it. You are grateful to have people who constantly support you, who pick you up when you're down and love you unconditionally. But the one person who stands out among the rest of them is your grandma.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Why Your Grandma Is The Best Person In Your Life

Ever since you were little, you and your grandma have always had a special connection. Going over to Grandma's house for the night was something you looked forward to. She knew how to entertain you at your best and worst moments. No matter what you did together, you loved it. Being with your grandma wasn't like being at home or with your parents – it was better. You went to the park, made cookies, went out to dinner, got a “sweet treat" at the mall, played Go Fish, took a bubble bath for as long as you wanted and got way too much dessert than you should have. You did things you weren't supposed to do, but Grandma didn't stop you. Because at Grandma's house there were no rules, and you didn't have to worry about a single thing. Being with Grandma was the true epitome of childhood. She let you be you. She always made sure you had the best time when you were with her, and she loved watching you grow up with a smile on your face.

The older you got, your weekend excursions with your grandma weren't as frequent, and you didn't get to see her as much. You became more and more busy with school, homework, clubs, sports, and friends. You made the most out of your time to see her, and you wished you could be with her more. Although you were in the prime of your life, she mattered even more to you the older you both became. You were with your friends 24/7, but you missed being with your grandma. When the time rolled around, and you got the chance to spend time with her, she told you never to apologize. She wanted you to go out, have fun and enjoy life the way it makes you happy.

Reflecting back on these moments with your grandma, you realize how truly special she is to you. There is no one who could ever compare to her nor will there ever be. All your life, there is no one who will be as sweet, as caring, as sincere or as genuine as her. Even though you're all grown up now, there are things about your grandma that never changed from when you were a kid. She still takes you out for your favorite meal because she knows how important eating out means to you. She writes you letters and sends you a $5 bill every now and then because she knows you're a hard-working college student with no money. She still helps you with all of your Christmas shopping because she knows it's your tradition. She still asks what's new with your young life because hearing about it makes her day and she still loves you to no end. Your grandma is your biggest blessing (whether you knew it or not), and she always will be no matter what.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Kron

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Just Because You Chose A Specific Major Doesn't Mean You Can't Explore Other Passions

Those same passions that you found at whatever point in your life, are not static. They are, for a fact, going to change. And that is completely OK.

55
views

As children, we all grew up with a favorite hobby or activity and kept up with them as we got older. Whatever these hobbies and activities were turned into the things we turned to when we needed a break from all the drama of school and work. These were the things that turned into passions that we live to do and talk about. These are the passions that we wish we could turn into futures.

Well, I'm going to assume that quite a few of us feel that way.

Thought, not everyone is lucky enough to find their passions during their childhood. For others, such passion takes a little longer to develop. But the time that this occurs is not as relevant as the fact that you find something you absolutely adore doing. It is more important that you find something that you love and enjoy, something that motivates you, raises your spirits, and encourages you to learn more.

So, you should go out there and explore everything the world has to offer! There are thousands of things, each more different than the last, that you could be interested in. The things that make your heart race, increase your need for knowledge, or simply make you overjoyed should be things that you pursue. These are activities and hobbies that influence your life from the minute you find them.

Not all passions are created equal.

A majority of the passions we find ourselves in are artistic and creative in nature and not truly suitable for a future job. When brought up to our parents, they are turned down, usually with the phrase "But, can you get a job with that major?" or "How successful are you going to be in a field like that?" Our passions end up being something that we look forward to doing, not forever, but for the time being. However, the opinions of others (even if they are your parents) should never get in the way of you chasing your dreams. If your passion is truly the field and career you would like to pursue, then I say go for it!

My parents said, "While I encourage you to look into computer science, it's not something we're going to push you to do. You can major in whatever, as long as you enjoy doing it and can provide for yourself."

That is the advice that my parents gave me as I entered my junior year of high school, the year most significant to the college application process other than the actual application itself. Before all of that and my entrance into Rutgers, I was just a student within my high school's animal and botanical sciences program looking to study environmental science. But, after much thinking about how I generally do not like bugs and dirt, I listened to my parents' advice and started looking into computer science.

By my senior year and the time when applications roll around, I had decided that computer science was something I was truly interested in! I found coding and everything that came with it to be fascinating to learn, and I looked forward to every AP Computer Science class I got to attend. Looking at the jobs and career fields related to these studies only encouraged me more. At the end of the year, I had already decided that I would like to work an exciting government job in cybersecurity (impressive, I know).

Now fast forward to now, I'm a full-time student at Rutgers and I am no longer interested in computer science. Although, to be fair, I am less interested in the mathematical aspects and courses that come along with everything else. I am currently looking to major in Information Technology and Informatics, with minors in Critical Intelligence Studies and Linguistics. It was a small change, but simultaneously a significant one. While my goal is relatively similar to what it was before, not everything is the same.

The passions and skills that I have developed in my short time at Rutgers have changed some things. I am no longer as interested in coding as I used to be, but rather the analytical aspects of cybersecurity; I would rather be active in my job, constantly interacting with people as opposed to just sitting at a desk as my 9-5.

Those same passions that you found at whatever point in your life, are not static.

They are, for a fact, going to change. And that is completely OK. College is the time for you to discover what makes you tick, the things that push you to be at your very best at all times rather than a fraction of that.

Here at Rutgers, you have the opportunity to explore hundreds of majors and minors, making the combinations and possibilities endless. You have the ability to customize your courses and activities to pursue a specific path, as well. Everything that you do from the moment you step on campus will impact your future. It is simply up to you to figure out what it is exactly you want to do.

Even then, while your passions may not be your future, that does not mean you have to completely disregard them.

You still have the ability to keep them within your life through extracurriculars and free time. Never, at any point in your life, should you being willing to settle for anything less than something you are passionate about even as they change over time.

Related Content

Facebook Comments