Equality vs Equity – Getting What You Need

Equality vs Equity – Getting What You Need

When we talk about parks, transit, sidewalks and roads, buildings – we use the words equity and equality.  I’ve often heard them used as if they mean the same think.  In fact, I was once one of those people.

They are not.

It’s hard sometimes to understand the concepts and how they differ.  Until we understand what the differences are and why equity is what we should be striving towards, we will not achieve it.

These mobility visuals from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, help to clearly and concisely show what is mean by equity and equality.

By definition, equality is ‘everyone gets the same – regardless if it’s needed or right for them’.  Equity is ‘everyone gets what they need – understanding the barriers, circumstances and conditions’.

We are not all the same.  Our experiences are not all the same.  Our individual barriers, circumstances and conditions are not all the same.  Whether we are talking about parks, sidewalks, transit, housing, etc., – we must make sure that we are meeting people where they are and ensuring that people are getting what they need not that everyone gets the same.