Equality Vs. Equity: What’s the Difference? Real examples (2024)

  • 8th March 2023

Published By:

Raissa Rurangwa

Equality Vs. Equity: What’s the Difference? Real examples (1)

The terms equality and equity may sound similar, and are sometimes (incorrectly) used interchangeably.

Making a distinction between the two is integral to our business goals here at Recite Me. So, as the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #EmbraceEquity, we wanted to take a deeper look into both terms and how equality and equity factors can affect you, your organization, and the customers and communities you serve.

What is the difference between Equity and Equality?

Equality means giving everyone the same resources or opportunities.

Equity goes the extra step by recognizing that every individual is unique. Being equitable means accounting for varied circ*mstances and allocating the exact resources and opportunities to each person needs to receive an equal outcome.

Put simply, equity means understanding that not everyone starts in the same place, and making adjustments for fairness based on individual needs. We tend to think of ‘being fair’ in terms of giving everyone the same thing. But, very rarely does that work out.

Equality Vs. Equity: What’s the Difference? Real examples (2)

Equality Definition

Equality is about ensuring that each individual is given an equal opportunity and is treated in a fair manner.

Furthermore, equality asserts that no one should face reduced opportunities because of factors such as their birth, background, beliefs, or disability status.

Equality acknowledges that historically, certain groups of people with protected characteristics, such as disability, race, sex, gender, and sexual orientation, have endured discrimination.

Equity Definition

Equity means that each individual or member of a group is provided with the resources or opportunities necessary to achieve their goals, taking into consideration the unique circ*mstances and challenges they may face.

Equity recognizes that some people may encounter adverse conditions and barriers that make it more challenging for them to attain the same level of success, even when exerting the same effort.It advocates for those who have been historically disadvantaged, taking into account historical and external factors when determining what is fair and just.

Equality and Equity in Pictures

It’s often much easier to see the difference between equality and equity visually than explain it in words. You’ve probably already seen some of the most famous graphics of the difference between equity vs equality:

Three people are picking fruit from opposite sides of the same tree. However, the tree is leaning to one side, so although both individuals have equal access, it’s much harder for one to access the fruit than the other. Equity is providing a taller ladder on one side or propping the tree up so it’s at an angle where access is equal for both people.

Equality Vs. Equity: What’s the Difference? Real examples (3)

A line of people of different heights are watching an event from behind a fence. Equality is giving equal opportunity for each person to get a box to stand on to get a better view. Equity is giving each person a box of the right height for their stature, so they all get the same view.

Equality Vs. Equity: What’s the Difference? Real examples (4)

These two concepts are great examples to get you thinking. However, they are perhaps not the most practical examples in a real-life setting. So, let’s look at some real-world alternatives.

Equity Vs. Equality in Practice

When organizations push for equality-based solutions and an equitable workplace, rather than adapting services and policies to meet individual needs, they fail to consider the diverse lived experiences of individuals and communities. Regardless of whether you work in the public or private sector, your staff, customers, and clients will all be affected by equity factors in the workplace in one way or another. Here are a few examples from a business perspective:

Equity in Services

Imagine you’re a local or federal government member that needs to manage a funding cut by reducing the operational hours of community centers in your area. An equality-based approach would simply mean cutting the opening hours at each center by the same amount. An equity-based approach would involve researching how many hours each center is used for, and reducing hours in locations where community use is less frequent.

Equity in the Community

Let’s say you’re a private-sector company distributing marketing materials about a new product or service, or a public-sector organization publicizing new community initiatives. You give the same materials to everyone, but 30% of the residents in your area don’t read English as a first language. To be equitable and provide everyone with the same information, you’d need to print/email the information in other languages too.

Equity in Education

Students from all backgrounds should have equal education opportunities, from early childhood to higher education. You might think equal learning opportunities mean having computer labs with the same number of computers and operating hours for each school. However, a more equitable approach would be to operate longer opening hours and have more computers and printers at schools in lower-income neighborhoods where students are less likely to have the resources they need at home.

Equity in the Online World

The information on your website is unlikely to be accessible or inclusive of everyone because no uniform solution can account for variations in individual needs. To provide equitable online experiences for people with varied physical, cognitive, neurological, and linguistic differences, you need to utilize accessibility software like the Recite Me Toolbar. Comprising customization options so website visitors can make their own decisions about how they use your website, our assistive toolbar helps you to provide equitable online experiences for everyone.

Download Our Digital Inclusion Toolkit to Support ALL Website Visitors!

The Recite Me Digital Inclusion Toolkit has been developed to help businesses make a real difference in people’s lives. Download your copy today to learn more about:

  • Disability do’s and don’ts.
  • Website design tips for an inclusive website.
  • How to write an accessibility statement for your website.
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Equality Vs. Equity: What’s the Difference? Real examples (5)

Encouraging Equity and Inclusion in 2023

Understanding the difference between equity and equality is crucial in reducing disparities within our workplaces, homes, and communities.

Join us in our mission to create a more equal and inclusive world. When you actively support and embrace equity within your own sphere of influence, you help drive positive change that leads to more equitable solutions for everyone in our modern-day society.

Looking for inspiration or resources? Check out the International Women’s Day 2023 Website and browse the ‘Get Involved’ menu to access event packs, videos, resources for employers, and collaboration opportunities.

Want to learn more about the Recite Me toolbar? Get in touch with one of our team today, try it for yourself, or schedule a free demo to learn more about how harnessing the power of tech for good can provide a more equitable online experience for your customers, clients, and supporters.

Alternatively, try your luck with our web page accessibility scanner, to see how your website stands for a number of accessibility features.

Equality Vs. Equity: What’s the Difference? Real examples (6)


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Equality Vs. Equity: What’s the Difference? Real examples (2024)


Equality Vs. Equity: What’s the Difference? Real examples? ›

For example, ensuring equity in a group would mean all members get the resources they need to reach a goal. Ensuring equality in a group would mean all members get the same resources. An illustration depicting a group in two scenarios, one with equal resources and another with equitable resources.

What are some examples of equality vs. equity in real life? ›

Equality on the other hand, means everyone is treated the same exact way, regardless of a person's needs or other individual differences. For example, in equity, the coach takes into consideration the specific needs of each player's position on the team, and provides the shoes they need to be successful.

What is the difference between equity and equality in simple terms? ›

Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities. Equity recognizes that each person has different circ*mstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.

What is a simple example of equity and equality? ›

For example, equality would be giving everyone the same type of ladder to pick mangoes at the top of a tree. Equity would be realising that not everyone can use the same type of ladder and providing another way for them to reach the mangoes at the top of the tree.

What is equity vs equality examples for kids? ›

Equality is everyone receiving the same thing or the same treatment. Equality is giving everyone two pieces of pizza. Equity is meeting everyone's needs. Equity is giving the child who eats more three pieces of pizza and the child who eats less one piece of pizza.

What is a real life example of equity? ›

In the real world, equity often means providing different resources or opportunities to different people, depending on their needs. For example, an equitable education system might provide additional support to students from low-income families or students with disabilities.

What is a real life example of equality? ›

Let's look at a few examples of equality and diversity in the workplace: Male and female workers doing the same job and receiving the same pay. Physical disabilities not restricting the carrying out of a role i.e. someone in a wheelchair doing the same job as someone sitting in a chair.

What is the difference between equity and equality in the classroom? ›

In basic terms, equality aims to ensure that all students receive the same resources, whereas equity concentrates on creating a learning environment that is both just and impartial.

What is the difference between equity and equality in the workplace? ›

Equality means everyone should be treated equally under the existing culture in your workplace. Equity is knowing that certain members of your staff come to work each day with different requirements that need to be accommodated before they can receive equal treatment.

What does equity mean in simple terms? ›

What is Equity? The term “equity” refers to fairness and justice and is distinguished from equality: Whereas equality means providing the same to all, equity means recognizing that we do not all start from the same place and must acknowledge and make adjustments to imbalances.

What are 5 examples of equality? ›

15 Examples of Equality in Society
  • #1. Racial equality. ...
  • #2. Gender equality. ...
  • #3. LGBTQ+ equality. ...
  • #4. Marriage equality. ...
  • #5. Equality for disabled people. ...
  • #6. Income equality. ...
  • #7. Equal employment access. ...
  • #8. Religious equality.

What are 2 examples of equity? ›

What Are Equity Examples? Equity is anything invested in the company by its owner or the sum of the total assets minus the sum of the company's total liabilities. E.g., Common stock, additional paid-in capital, preferred stock, retained earnings, and the accumulated other comprehensive income.

What is equity with simple example? ›

Equity can be calculated by subtracting liabilities from assets and can be applied to a single asset, such as real estate property, or to a business. For example, if someone owns a house worth $400,000 and owes $300,000 on the mortgage, that means the owner has $100,000 in equity.

What is an example of equality vs equity in school? ›

Giving each student a take-home laptop, for example, would not address students who don't have Internet in their houses. Even if a school is equal, some students may still struggle. Equity, on the other hand, provides people with resources that fit their circ*mstances.

Can you give me an example of an equity? ›

Equity is equal to total assets minus its total liabilities. These figures can all be found on a company's balance sheet for a company. For a homeowner, equity would be the value of the home less any outstanding mortgage debt or liens.

What is an example of equity for children? ›

Equality says that all four have the same size bicycle. Equity, on the other hand, says the children need smaller bicycles so they can reach the pedals because they are shorter in height, while the adults need bigger bikes because they have longer legs and can reach the pedals more easily.

What is an example of equity vs equality in the workplace? ›

Equality – all candidates get the same amount of time to complete a written test as part of the hiring process. Equity – all candidates get the same written test, but those with dyslexia get more time to complete it.

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