About Equality and Equity
5 min read
The thoughts expressed here are mine and do not in any way represent that of my university, employers, hierarchy, or close associates. Additionally, I am no expert in this field, it is only from observations and personal experiences that I have drawn my opinions.
For the last few months, I have been bothered by the ideology peddled by most employers of labour. This very concern has led me to ask a not-so-popular question – am I being approached for employment or opportunities because of the colour of my skin? Perhaps, this question is ‘popular’ howbeit in the minds of the most concerned few. This rather daunting question, even led to a more stomach-turning one – is this equity or equality If my question turns out to be true? Of course, if False, am I being headhunted because of my intelligence, skills, and ‘diversity’ of my uniqueness? Or is it rather because of prejudice? If True, does this mean I am privileged and profiting from an undeserved opportunity?
As a researcher, when I am faced with a challenging technical problem, especially the ones that leave me tasking for days, I am led to examine the base class. In object-oriented programming, a base class is a fundamental template or blueprint on which other classes are built. These newly created classes inherit functionalities, methods, and principles from the base class. It is also to be noted that new methods, principles, and ‘ideology’ can be created which can override the inherited methods. Please hold this thought as this will make more sense soon. Back to my original ponder, the questions I have asked myself for weeks have led me to this one question. Which is best Equality or Equity? Or succinctly put – Which is the more noble, just, and fair goal- Equity or Equality? While both have inherited the ideas of social justice, fairness of rights and opportunities, – one more than the other, is overriding the very fundamental truth of the base class while claiming to belong to the base class.
As a society, we constantly debate over whether equality or equity is the more desirable goal. On the surface, the two concepts may appear to be interchangeable, but upon deeper examination, it becomes clear that they represent fundamentally different ways of thinking about the world.
Equality is the absolute ideal that everyone should be treated equally, regardless of background or characteristics. This is a noble goal and one that is deeply ingrained in our culture. The idea that all people should be treated with dignity and respect is a fundamental principle of democracy. However, the problem with this approach is that it assumes that everyone starts from the same place and that the same opportunities are available to everyone.
This is a fallacy. In fact, there is no one equal person and in truth, people have different starting points and challenges to overcome. Some individuals may have had a privileged upbringing, while others may have struggled with poverty or discrimination. Treating everyone the same, without taking these differences into account, can perpetuate inequality, defeating the main purpose of fairness, diversity, and inclusion.
Equity, however, is the idea that everyone should have and be provided/presented with an equal opportunity to succeed. This means that individuals and groups who have been traditionally marginalized may require additional resources or support to achieve the same level of success as those who have not faced such barriers.
To achieve equity, we must be willing to acknowledge and address the ways in which structural inequalities exist in our society. This requires us to take a step back and examine the systems and institutions that shape our lives. We must ask ourselves: Are the playing field and opportunities equal for all individuals? Are certain groups or individuals facing barriers or discrimination that make it harder for them to succeed? It is only by acknowledging these difficult truths and taking steps to address them, that we can truly achieve a society that is fair and just for all. Equality may be a nice idea, but it is not enough. We must strive for equity if we are to create a society in which everyone can reach their full potential.
It is however important to note that achieving equity does not mean that everyone will have the same outcome, but rather that everyone will have the same opportunity to succeed. This means that some individuals may still achieve more success than others, but it will not be due to systemic barriers or discrimination that has constantly plagued our society. More importantly, equity is not about granting preferential treatment to certain groups or individuals, but rather about levelling the playing field and providing the necessary resources and support to overcome barriers.
Additionally, equity must be seen as an ongoing-continuous process, as society is ever-changing and dynamic- opportunities to address inequalities, challenges, and discrimination will always arise. In practice, achieving equity may involve a variety of actions, such as implementing policies and practices that promote diversity and inclusion, creating more accessible educational and job training programs, and addressing biases in hiring and promotion practices.
Ultimately, the goal of equity is to create a society in which everyone can reach their full potential, regardless of their background or characteristics. It's not only morally right but also beneficial for society, as a diverse and inclusive society is more productive and innovative.
In conclusion, while equality is a very noble goal, it is not enough to achieve a truly just and fair society. Equity is the more desirable goal, as it acknowledges and addresses the structural inequalities that exist in our society and ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed. This requires us to be willing to look beyond the surface and examine the systems and institutions that shape our lives. Only by achieving equity can we create a society in which everyone can thrive.
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