Difference Between Equity and Equality

Main Difference – Equity vs Equality

Although equity and equality sound and look alike, they are two different concepts. Equity aims to understand the needs of each individual and distribute the resources fairly. Equality involves ensuring that every individual gets the same amount of resources regardless the differences between them. This is the main difference between equity and equality. Equity takes into consideration the natural differences between individuals such as height, weight, gender, physical disabilities, etc. However, the notion of equality treats all individuals in the same manner. Let’s look at the further differences between equity and equality in this article by analyzing these two concepts individually and looking at them differently.Difference Between Equity and Equality - infographic

What is Equity

Equity is the quality of being fair and impartial. In the field of social sciences and education, equity refers to understanding the individual needs of people and treating them accordingly. This concept is easier to understand if we look at some examples.

Suppose that you have to buy shoes for three children. Since you want to be fair and impartial you buy three shoes of the same design and same type. Now, you might consider that you are being equal and fair. But, do all three of them have the same requirement? Are you being fair to all three of them? This is where equity comes into play. If you really want to be fair, you should look at the requirements of the three children, and buy accordingly. Here, you have understood the individual needs of the children and treated them accordingly.

Imagine a track race. Have you ever wondered over the difference between runners’ starting positions?  The concept of equity also comes into play here. The runners in the inside lanes have an advantage over those in the outer lanes since the distance they have to run is shorter. This is why the runners have different positions on the track.

The following image presents the difference between equity and equality very cleverly.

Difference Between Equity and Equality

What is Equality

Equality is the state or quality of being equal. Equality claims that every individual should be granted the same resources and privileges regardless of the differences. But as seen from the above- discussed examples, the concept of equity is not always fair.

If a teacher is supposed to distribute pencils to the students in the class, he would give the same number of pencils to each student. This is equality. But, if the teacher has to distribute school-t-shirts to every student, he cannot distribute the same sized t-shirt to everybody; he’ll have to make distinctions between different sizes. This is equity.

Main Difference -Equity vs  Equality

Difference Between Equity and Equality


Equity is the quality of being fair and impartial.

Equality is the state or quality of being equal.


Equity involves treating each individual according to based on his or her needs.

Equality involves treating every individual in the same manner, irrespective of their differences.

Individual Needs

Equity considers individual needs of people.  

Equality does not consider needs and requirements of people.

Image Courtesy:

“#equality but I still don’t know what banks mean by#equity” by Leigh Blackall (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

“Equality” (Pubilc Domain) via Pixbay

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.