I came across an inspiring image yesterday. It shows a family watching a football match, and it puts on display a clear difference between Equality and Equity. It shows how focusing on being equal, isn’t fair at times. It shows another perspective on what to consider when treating ourselves and others. While it is clear there is a difference, how do we understand that difference? Did we ever dwell on that difference? Maybe not! So let’s do it together.
The picture reminds me that principle from a management book that you should not treat everyone with Equality. While with respect, for example, you want to treat everyone in your team with it; you might not have an equal approach when it comes to performances or career advancement. People are at different points in their careers; they have different needs or strengths and weaknesses. So using Equality as a baseline, no matter the situation, is usually the wrong approach! As demonstrated earlier with respect, there is also value is Equality.
Similarly, most parents will do the same for their children. A 13 years old, can’t be treated like a 5 years old. And usually, girls and boys are also treated differently.
We often confuse Equality with fairness. One big reason is because of the material things. If we have the same money or the same gadgets, then we are equal with others, and we feel good. Life is fair. We have been craving being equal for so long at times, that we feel it was about time.
Equity is critical when being around other human beings. We are different, we are complex, and we have different experiences and past. By looking through the length of Equity, we might allow more care, compassion, and support in our interactions. We could create see everyone as equal, and offer them our best support tailored to them (equity). In fact, we can have the best of both worlds.
Equity and Equality are not opposite, nor exclusive; they are complementary. They go hand in hand! While the values driving could be same the (equality), the way we implement these values differ on the individual and the situation (equity).
Finally, here is the picture that inspired today’s post!
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