What is Equity & Equality

Equity and equality are two important concepts often discussed in the context of fairness and social justice. While they share similarities, they have distinct meanings and implications.

Equality refers to the state of being equal, where individuals are treated in the same manner and given the same resources, opportunities, and rights without any regard to their differing circumstances, needs, or abilities. It focuses on equal distribution and uniform treatment, aiming to provide everyone with the same starting point or level playing field. Equality assumes that all individuals have the same needs and can achieve success with equal support and opportunities.

Equity, on the other hand, recognizes and acknowledges that individuals have different circumstances, needs, and abilities. It refers to fairness and justice in providing resources, opportunities, and rights, taking into account these differences in order to achieve a more just and inclusive outcome. Equity involves actively working to address and eliminate disparities and systemic barriers that prevent certain individuals or groups from reaching the same level of success as others. It emphasizes the redistribution of resources and opportunities to ensure that everyone has a fair chance to succeed, even if it requires unequal treatment or additional support for marginalized or disadvantaged groups.


The term equity refers to the principle of fairness.

Equity means what is fair in the process.

Equity is giving everyone what they need to be successful

Equity means people must have access to equal opportunities.

Types of equity

Horizontal Equity

Horizontal equity refers to the principle that individuals in similar circumstances should be treated equally or receive equal treatment. It implies that individuals who are in the same situation, with similar needs or characteristics, should be treated similarly without any arbitrary distinctions or discrimination. For example, in the context of taxation, horizontal equity suggests that individuals with the same income or financial capacity should pay the same amount of taxes.

Vertical Equity

Vertical equity, on the other hand, focuses on the principle of treating individuals differently based on their differing circumstances or abilities. It recognizes that people have varying levels of need, capacity, or responsibility, and therefore, the distribution of resources or benefits should reflect these differences. In terms of taxation, vertical equity suggests that individuals with higher incomes or greater financial capacity should contribute a higher proportion of their income in taxes compared to those with lower incomes.


In equality everyone is given equal opportunities and accessibility and are then free to utilize it. Some people may choose to utilize it while others let them pass by.

According to D.D Raphall, “The right to equality is a right of equal satisfaction of basic human needs, including the need to develop and use capacities which are specifically human”

According to Barker, “Equality means equal rights for all the people and the abolition of all special rights and privileges”

Types of Equality

Civil Equality: Civil equality refers to the equal treatment of individuals under the law and the protection of their civil rights. It encompasses a range of legal rights and liberties that ensure individuals can exercise their freedoms and pursue their interests without unjust discrimination

Political Equality: Political equality focuses on the equal participation of individuals in the political process and the right to have an equal voice in decision-making. It ensures that all citizens have an equal opportunity to participate in the political sphere, including the right to vote, the right to run for office, and the right to engage in political activism.

Social Equality: Social equality refers to the principle of fairness and justice in the distribution of resources, opportunities, and benefits within a society. It involves creating a society where all individuals are treated equally, have equal access to essential services and resources, and can fully participate and contribute without facing systemic barriers or discrimination based on factors such as race, gender, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics.

Natural Equality : It implies that all person are born free and equal.

Economic Equality: There should not be huge differences of wealth among people. It implies abolition of poverty

Equality of Opportunity: Equality of opportunity refers to the principle that all individuals should have an equal chance to succeed and achieve their goals, regardless of their background, race, gender, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics. It emphasizes providing the same starting point or access to resources, education, and opportunities to everyone, ensuring that no one is disadvantaged due to factors beyond their control.

Equality in Education: Equality in education emphasizes providing equal opportunities and resources for all students, regardless of their background or abilities. It involves ensuring that every student has access to a quality education, adequate resources, and support to succeed academically. This principle aims to reduce educational disparities and promote equal educational outcomes for all learners.

Gender Equality: It means that women and men have equal conditions for realizing their full human rights and for contributing to, and benefiting from, economic, social, cultural and political development

Unesco Agenda for Gender Equality

Promotes education for women’s self empowerment at all levels and in all fields

Encourage equal access to knowledge in all fields notably within science and technology.

Support of women’s human rights by eliminating all forms of discrimination against women

Promote attainment of Gender parity, equal participation in policy making and elimination of stereotyped roles.

Collect and analyze gender specific statistical data and develop appropriate guidelines ¢Encourage women’s creativity and freedom of expression

Assist in building a culture of peace in the minds of women and men.

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