In trying to be fair to people we often confuse the two notions of equity and equality.

Equality and equity are not the same

In trying to be fair to people we often confuse the two notions of equity and equality. And it becomes obvious as soon as we treat people the same because, paradoxically, they don't feel fairly treated at all.

March 1, 2022

In trying to be fair to people we often confuse the two notions of equity and equality. And it becomes obvious as soon as we treat people the same because, paradoxically, they don't feel fairly treated at all.

 

Parents can run into this dilemma as they support their children in their various pursuits. One child might be into skateboarding and her parents might give her £50 with which to buy equipment. The second child might be a budding digital designer who's equipment, comprising computers and drawing tablets, will certainly cost a lot more. So in trying to support both children equally the parents of these children might find themselves giving £50 to the skateboarder and £500 pounds to the digital designer in order that they might both be able to pursue their interests equally.

 

At this point it's down to the parents to try to explain to their offspring the difference between equality and equity. Equality, on the face of it is treating everybody the same. Equity on the other hand is treating everybody differently but with equal amounts of respect. So the recipients of equitable support need to understand, every bit as much as the givers, the difference between the two states and the two objectives.

 

In a team situation leaders need to really get to know their team members so that they might properly understand how to support each one according to their needs and wishes. According to the rules of equity this will involve properly matching both support and demands in the way that gives and gets the best from each person. This means that team members have a responsibility to avoid comparing themselves to their peers because this is not only painful, when they think that one of their team mates might be getting more than they are, but any comparison would be based on merely superficial information which might not truly reflect their team mate’s circumstances.

 

So, we need to think twice about how we act with fairness, or equity, in leadership and we especially need to remember that treating everybody the same is not the same as treating everybody equitably.

Now watch the cartoon! Click here

No items found.