Equity vs Equality – Difference and Comparison

What is Equity?

The concept of equity is that every individual or group has different circumstances and needs. As a result of this, everyone should be allocated resources, keeping in view the aforesaid factors. Equity is synonymous with fairness. For example, if there are two people and one belongs to the middle class and the other to the lower class, we should allocate more to the latter. It is for this reason that the one from the lower class needs more.

Equity has been a guiding principle for oppressed groups in the history of humankind. For instance, the underdeveloped, the homosexuals, the women, and the blacks made equity their slogan to claim their denied rights. Their standpoint is that although people are given equal rights at times, the observance of these rights is denied to some groups. Using equity as a revolutionary force, they not only claim their rights but also seek reparations.

Equity is closely related to justice since justice is served on the premise of fairness. Therefore, nearly all social justice movements of the world are inspired by the golden rule of equity. Equity demands that if we have ten apples, we should give more to the one who needs them more and less to the one who needs them lesser. Equity is growing to be more and more relevant in the present context when resources are limited and recipients are extensive.

What is Equality?

Equality is a popular concept, mostly enshrined in the major constitutions of the world, that everyone should be treated in the same manner in every walk of life. Equality is based on the premise that every human being is given some indispensable rights by nature, and therefore their “same” treatment is a direct consequence of it. For example, if we have five apples and five individuals, we should allocate one apple to each person.

In the above-stated example, equality is achieved because individuals are given apples regardless of their wants and need. In that example, there might be possible that two of them would not need an apple. Yet, they are given one apple. It is seen that the concept of equality does not consider other factors in the allocation of resources to individuals or groups.

Equality is a defining concept of human rights. All human rights charters of the world, especially UDHR, are based on the unchallenged presupposition that all human beings are naturally the same and, therefore, cannot be discriminated against on the basis of gender, race, religion, or creed.

Difference Between Equity and Equality

  1. Equity sees the world through the lens of “fairness”, whereas equality sees everything through the lens of “sameness”.
  2. Equity is focused on the tailored needs of individuals, whereas equality strives to make everything for everyone.
  3. Equity is more about the allocation of resources according to the need, whereas equality means allocating everything to everyone.
  4. Equity treats people fairly and on just grounds, whereas equality treats people on the same grounds.
  5. Equity acknowledges individual differences, whereas equality creates uniformity in the distributional process.
  6. Equity is more a qualitative approach, whereas equality is more a quantitative approach.
  7. Equity demands analysis of generalities and particularities, whereas equality is based on mere generalities.

Comparison Between Equity and Equality

Parameters of ComparisonEquityEquality
Approach TypeQualitativeQuantitative
FocusIndividual NeedsGeneral Availability
Individual DiffernecesFocusedCompromised
Targeted EndSamenessFairness
AnalysisInvolvedNot Much Involved


  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/mercer4&section=15
  2. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/geolr17&section=17