Equality vs Equity

This article was written by Hamini

Violence…oppression, can Equality exist without Equity?

After the horrific violent and human rights incidents that have occurred against women, there was an outcry for protecting women’s rights and treating us equally. Inequality is indeed a crime committed against women, but can we really strive for equality without equity? Am I crazy to think that we need both equality and equity in equal doses, because equality doesn’t always lead to justifiable treatment.

Women don’t want to be put first or thought “highly of” or treated like “damsels in distress” we want to be treated equally and equitably. Let’s not forget equality does not mean equity. Equity is an important part of this equation because equity incorporates elements to ensure equality by giving everyone a chance. Equality is throwing the same tools and resources to everyone and hoping they make use of it while equity ensures the tools and resources provided are modified based on individual needs and abilities.  We don’t want men to jump in and protect us from the evils of the universe; we want them be broad minded. What I mean by broad minded is that to see women for who we really are independent, free thinking individuals who can make their own decision and open their own doors.  Every human being, regardless of gender, needs some sort of assistance at one point (this is where equity kicks in), but it doesn’t mean they should be discriminated against. We are not pets who need to be fed, groomed, sheltered and protected.

Given fair and just chance at resources and opportunities,  women can provide for and protect themselves. All we need is a fair opportunity and justifiable treatment. Less pay for same job, treating a female intern/worker as the office maid, telling women how to think and behave, telling women “not to be loud or disruptive” because its not lady-like while encouraging men to act the exact opposite is definitely not fair or equal treatment. Have you ever wondered why a man who is so competitive at a job is considered “an employee looking to advance” while a woman might just be a “bossy bitch”? or a woman who refuses follow the gendered unwritten rules is a “asocial” while a man is “reformist and progressive”. This all leads to equity, we need equity to ensure equality!

Equity leads to equal chance. It ensures fair and just treatment, therefore giving equal opportunity, lacked in many sectors, to all. It enables a female to move upwards (in education, employment, economically…) to gain a place of confidence, it allows greater chance at anti-oppression initiatives both at individual and communal level. Equity allows individuals (regardless of gender, age, ethnicity…) to participate in the race of humanity. I believe equity can help eliminate gendered oppression by getting humanity upfront on everyone’s agenda.

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