noun. the quality of being fair and impartial; the value of the shares issued by a company.
Social equity is concerned with justice and fairness of social policy. Since the 1960s, the concept of social equity has been used in a variety of institutional contexts, including education and public administration.
Diversity… Inclusion… Equality… Power… Privilege… Justice… Freedom… Liberation… Belonging…
The words that come to me when I start thinking about Equity and what it means.
People sometimes mistakenly use equality and equity as synonyms, but the words have different meanings as illustrated in the image that is often used of the children watching the ball game.
Image 1: Equality, each individual is treated the same.
Image 2: Equity, each individual has different supports to enable equal access.
Image 3: Justice, the systemic barriers are removed, the cause of the inequity is addressed.
We can accommodate changes and we can adjust practices to be inclusive, we can challenge inequalities but we need to address the inequities themselves.
By addressing the root cause, by focusing on the barriers – societal, structural and systemic – we can then affect sustained change. These changes have more meaning, are more impactful and create a legacy of social justice. The individual is liberated, free from the power hierarchy.
Another way of looking at it is shown in the variations and the reasonable adjustments made to each bicycle to personally meet the needs of each individual to enable full access to the opportunity.
Equality is important. I believe in equality of opportunity – I am an advocate of people being treated equally, of people being paid equally.
Equity is more significant though. I believe in social justice and social equity – I am concerned with social justice and I am passionate about things being fair.
Once we recognise that people do not start at the same point, that people do not have the same access, nor the same opportunities, we can do something about it. More importantly, we can focus on we will do about it.
“Equality is leaving the door open for anyone who has the means to approach it; equity is ensuring there is a pathway to that door for those that need it”.
Once we are aware of the inequities, we can help to change the status quo.
“We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change”.
Once we acknowledge that we can all make a difference, we can make the choice to be part of the solution.
“What you do makes a difference, and you need to decide what kind of difference you want to make”.
Once we accept that we need to take action, we can lean into the agency to collectively affect change.
“There will be no equity without solidarity. There will be no justice without a social movement”.
Once we check our own privilege, we can take responsibility for redressing the power imbalance.
“Equity is the principle of altering current practices and perspectives to teach for social transformation and to promote equal learning outcomes for students of all racial, cultural, linguistic and socio-economic groups”.
Once we concede that equity is a human right, we can transform our world.
“The dimension of cultural equity needs to be added to the humane continuum of liberty, freedom of speech, religion, and social justice”.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are universal goals for all which are broken down into 5 key elements: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership.
Each of the 17 SDGs is focused on ensuring inclusive and equitable opportunities for all.
Greta Thunberg is a brilliant role model for everyone, but especially young people, about how to be an activist and how to campaign for social equity and social justice. She embodies the way we can all make a difference about something we care deeply for.