Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Difference Between 'Equity' and 'Equality'

24 March 2021, Edited to Add: Hi! If you enjoy this post and would like to use the activity I described in a classroom or small group setting somewhere, please feel free! If you would like to use this post, please cite it correctly to give due credit to me as the author. If you would like to contact me about anything else regarding this post, please feel free to email me directly at Thanks!

Pay attention, folks, because this lesson is important. It's important for feminism, for humanity, for respect and tolerance. So read closely, because I don't get this fired up over nothing. There's this activity I do in my class. All the students sit in a circle, and I ask everyone to take off his or her left shoe and throw it into a pile in the center. Once the shoes are all piled up, I begin re-distributing them, one to each student, completely at random. Then I tell everyone to put on the new shoes. And inevitably, there begin the complaints. "This isn't my shoe!" "It's too big!" "It's too small!" "This doesn't fit me!" Whatever the specific complaints are, very few students are actually happy with their newly mismatched pair of shoes. "What's wrong?" I ask. "I did everything fairly. You all have two shoes - one for your right foot and one for your left." "But Miss David," they say, "they aren't the correct shoes!" "Oh," I say. "You want the shoes that are best for each of you individually? Not just any shoe I find?" "Yes!" they all say. "But," I say, with furrowed brow, "that doesn't seem fair. I wanted to treat you all EQUALLY." I point to a boy with somewhat large feet, and a nearby girl with smallish feet. "He'll have more shoe than you will," I note. And without a doubt, someone unknowingly gets right to the heart of the issue: "It doesn't matter who has more shoe, Miss David. It matters that we all have the right shoes for us." And THAT, my friends, is the difference between equity and equality. Equality means everyone gets exactly the same outcome - two shoes - without regard to individual differences - large or small feet, for example. Equity means everyone gets the same quality of outcome - shoes that fit their individual needs. A lot of feminist arguments are either poorly worded, claiming to desire equality for women in situations where they would actually prefer equity, or misunderstood as demanding equality when they are, in fact, demanding equity. This has become remarkably apparent to me in the recent barrage of posts about women bloggers and how they earn - or fail to earn - respect for their work. Catherine wrote this in her MamaPop post: What is radical about it is that we push on, demanding to be heard, and demanding recognition of our worth as mothers, women, writers, business-people, innovators, people, against the ignorance of those who would keep us down. Some have interpreted this as a half-hearted and hypocritical demand for equality, when it is actually anything but. Demanding recognition as mothers and women sort of fundamentally requires an expectation that we will not be treated exactly the same as a man would. Why would we want to be treated exactly like men anyway? In case you didn't notice, WE'RE NOT MEN. What we're demanding is not equality - it's equity. We demand respect for doing a damn hard job and doing it well. We demand respect for creating a community that inspires and uplifts in the face of some of life's greatest challenges. We demand respect for refusing to compromise our femininity in the face of professional obstacles. We don't demand the EXACT SAME RESPECT that men receive - that's like demanding everyone wear the same shoes, regardless of size. We demand the respect that is most fitting to our stations, but damn it, we still demand the respect. We are women, and we should be treated as women - to do otherwise would be to ignore plain facts. But being treated as women should not automatically mean being treated as less serious or less important, and that's the problem with having an article about our work in the field of blogging - which really is primarily a technological field - placed in the "Style" section of the New York Times. We are not screaming our heads off to be placated with promises of equality. We are not men - do not treat us as men. We are women, and we demand equity.


califmom said...

As the parent of a child with invisible disabilities (Asperger and Tourette Syndromes), I am often in a position of explaining that what is equal isn't always fair, and what is fair isn't always equal. We are not a one-size-fits all world. I wouldn't want to live in one that was. It's that diversity that makes us interesting, complementary, and unique.

Now if you could just do that exercise over at Fox News...

Anonymous said...

Three sincere questions:

1. Why do you consider blogging to be a fundamentally technological field? Perhaps excepting blogs that truly push the technical envelope or that self-host on their own servers, it seems that blogging is much more a mishmash of journalism, creative writing, and the traditional graphic arts (layout, photography, etc).

2. Why would anyone claiming to be marginalized in turn themselves marginalize the Style section? Or are style and design-related pursuits (which is core subject matter for thousands, if not tens of thousands of blogs) less important or inferior in some way to other pursuits?

3. What is the essential difference between your collective radical speech and the collective radical speech of your critics? You claim that you're "screaming [your] heads off", so why the surprise when critics scream back? Why not respond in a more muted and measured fashion?

Julie Pippert said...

Anonymous, I'm not Lara but:

3. She said "We are not screaming our heads off..." If you're going to passive-aggressively criticize, at least cite and quote properly. Your point is moot because you missed the crucial word: not.

And IMO? By this point in time? Women asking for equity isn't a radical act.

Critics who can't grasp that aren't radicals, either, just not terribly enlightened or open-minded people on this issue, usually.

2. She hasn't marginalized Style and Fashion in the way you mean. That is a niche, and the BlogHer conference did not fit into it. It wasn't even remotely a conference about Syle and Fashion. It was about business and technology, in blogging.

It's not rocket science to figure out that this section was inappropriate for the conference coverage, or why a women's blogging conference got put there. Missing that is being deliberately obtuse...and dare I say perpetuating the very marginalization Lara argues against.

1. Blogging is technological because of the medium. This *is* technology, all of it, Web 2.0, social media and the blogging mediums. Where people go with all over various topics and niches. But that doesn't mean it isn't technology, what we're doing here. I've worked for software companies and hardware companies that created all types of products. But it was still technology.

I catch your anonymous point here.

I think you're wrong. That simply.

If a blog is one of the design or fashion blogs, okay, sure, cover it on Fashion and Style. That's a fit.

But an article covering the BlogHer conference----which included panels about doing good with this technology, building a business, learning how to use the technology, politics, being taken seriously as a political bloggers, and mommyblogging (various)---and the vast array of genres of blogs written by women *do not* belong there.

BBC got it right: it belongs on the Technology page because no matter how you dress it up (blog about cooking, mommying, watching birds, building robots, etc.) this is technology.

Lara, great article, great job...don't denigrate yourself on Twitter. You are your own eloquence. I love the point about what we really want is equity.

Thanks for joining in the discussion.

unmitigated me said...

Lara - Can see myself using that activity in my classroom next month (Eek!)

CMom- I make that point quite frequently in my classroom (which also serves children like yours)

Julie P. - Thanks for saving me lots of typing.

Lisa said...

Julie is right, you ARE your own eloquence. This is wonderfully written and I, of course, agree with everything you said.
And, as an aside, I totally love that activity you do with your students. I may be stealing that in the fall....

Anonymous said...

Lara,your posts are always so thoughtful, sincere, and eloquent. I distinctly remember (towards the end of college) the "aha" moment I first realized the difference between these two concepts in my own life. I was involved in a male-dominated sport, where women competed separately but on the same equipment, if you will. I realized that I was being cheated of having the same quality of experience as the men, when we could easily remedy this by changing one variable. Fifteen years later I returned as an alumna to compete on a women's alumni team, and was pleased to see that the changes I envisioned had been made.

You might be saying, what sport are you talking about? Don't think I'm crazy, but I competed in timber sports, aka lumberjack games, and am referring to the size of the logs we used for speed chopping and sawing events.

Anonymous said...

This post showcases one of the many reasons that you're a great teacher and that the kids in your classroom this month (!) are blessed to have you guiding them :)

(P.S. I moved to Wordpress and I think you forgot to update your Blogroll)

Cate Subrosa said...

Lara, I loved this post. I loved your analogy, loved picturing you in the classroom with those kids, loved the lesson.

This is something that is so basic, so blindingly obvious, but alludes many people. You described it with great clarity.

I'm not sure I agree that article belongs in the technology section, as technology is the medium rather than the focus of blogging... although I see your point that it might well have been placed elsewhere if it were about a men's blogging convention.

Great post. Hope you have a great weekend :)

flutter said...

I think this is the perfect way of putting it, Lara. It's also not just related to the blog world but the world in general. How to be treated in a manner that is no less and no more important than anyone

SUEB0B said...

Brilliant, Lara.

Issa said...

I loved this post. Simple, eloquent and without any name calling. Bravo to you, seriously.

I get tired of hearing that because I'm a mother, my opinion doesn't matter in the world. Really, last time I checked I am raising little people who will one day, be in the world. You'd think that after thousands of years, this would make since.

William said...

Aww man, I posted all this before, then it disappeared. =/

My understanding of the situation is that it really IS just an issue of demographics from the point of view of the NYT. More women read that section, so a story that will be primarily of interest to women is run there. The thing the NYT should be bashed for is inappropriatly classifying a story in service of their bottom line, not an intentional slight against the feminist movement.

Also, the phenomenon of internet backlash always boggles me. There must be a certain mix of personality traits: masochism, self-righteousness, and sheer blowhard-ness that causes people to appear on blogs and post things attacking opinions widely held by the constituants of that blog. What exactly do they hope to accomplish? Are they just SO convinced of the rectitude of their point of view that they don't understand that other people's opinions are as resistant to change as their own?

My personal favorite is "Well, if you want to make your way in a man's world, you have to act like a man!" First, for the suggestion that we want women acting like men (we're mostly jerks, anyway), and second, for the suggestion that the fact that business has been dominated by men for a majority of the history of the human race somehow justifies it as inheirantly so.

Major Bedhead said...

This was amazing, Lara. Kudos to you for putting it so perfectly.

Anonymous said...


Quoting Lara, "We are not screaming our heads off to be placated with promises of equality. We are not men - do not treat us as men. We are women, and we demand equity."

The intent of Lara's words is that bloggers are in fact screaming their heads off. Quoting that as "not screaming" would be an editorial abuse.

The reference to "radical" comes from the quote, "What is radical about it is that we push on, demanding to be heard, and demanding recognition of our worth [...]". It's a self classification made by a member of the movement, not something I just pulled out of my hat.

But being treated as women should not automatically mean being treated as less serious or less important, and that's the problem with having an article about our work in the field of blogging - which really is primarily a technological field - placed in the "Style" section of the New York Times. [Emphasis mine]

In my opinion, that does qualify as marginalizing.

Quoting you, "Blogging is technological because of the medium. This *is* technology, all of it, Web 2.0, social media and the blogging mediums. Where people go with all over various topics and niches. But that doesn't mean it isn't technology, what we're doing here."

Is writing using a word processor fundamentally technological? I think it would be disingenuous to claim that. Obviously blogging is an applied technology, as is printing and word processing, but you didn't address why it's more closely related to technology than it is to journalism, creative writing, and graphic artistry.

Arguably there are multiple places in the paper where such an article is appropriate. From a purely demographic standpoint, Style is probably a winner for the New York Times.

Lastly, your characterization of me as passive-aggressive and deliberately obtuse is unnecessary and unhelpful.

Anonymous said...

Lara, I've often struggled to explain these concept to people. Thank you for putting it so simply, and eloquently. I hope you don't mind if I borrow the shoe activity!

Schriftstellar said...

Elegantly put, Lara! Thank you so much, and I hope you don't mind if I, too, steal the activity!

Lara said...

califmom - when i first learned the activity, it was in learning how to approach special needs students and how they fit into mainstream classrooms. when you make it clear to the students WHY it's often good to give certain students extra time, attention, etc., they're usually pretty good about understanding and helping out. many teachers don't take that time, though, and student interactions can become strained.

anonymous - first, as a caveat, i'm not perfect, which i think everyone already knows. so i may not always have made myself and my meanings as clear as i would like. i'm happy to clarify. so, answering your initial questions:

1) it's not necessarily that i believe blogging itself is a technological field. more that i believe that a conference about the medium of blogging is fundamentally technological. only a few parts of the weekend were about the WRITING that we do, as opposed to the ways we use the medium itself. so i guess i should have specified that i think blogher is a primarily technological conference, less than that blogging is a primarily technological field.

2) i did not intend to marginalize the style section. i believe that when you take a technological event (and i'm standing by my belief that blogher was a tech event) and put it in the style section, it marginalizes it because it is not placing the focus where it should be. i commented on this in catherine's post at mamapop, but i'll say it here too. if the NYT wanted to write a piece on fashion and style and how those aspects of womanhood were represented at blogher, i wouldn't have minded. take pictures of our outfits, take pictures of our shoes, interview the makeover artists, and put the piece in the style section. i would gladly read the piece, and probably have wanted to be IN the piece as well. but if you're going to write about how we are approaching a technological medium, then putting it in the style section DOES diminish its message. just as placing a story about male political bloggers in the sports section would diminish that story's message.

3) i perhaps worded myself poorly in that part of my post. my comment WAS, in fact, intended to show that we are NOT screaming our heads off about anything, and i realize (based on your response to julie) that it might not read that way to everyone. there is a fundamental difference, in my opinion, between demanding what we believe is right and "screaming our heads off" just to get some lip service. i believe that what i wrote was a calm and measured response to something that got me quite upset. i tried to explain myself clearly and without turning to ad hominem attacks on those with whom i disagree. i think the fact that you responded with "three sincere questions" instead of a string of insults attests to the fact that this is a discussion, not a shouting match.

julie - thank you. your comments supported me greatly. i really appreciate that.

middle-aged woman, lisa, kickpants, and schriftstellar - you are more than welcome to use the activity. i didn't make it up - i learned it from someone else. :)

tekla - wow! props to you for competing in something so tough. and bigger props for seeing those changes come about.

brown-eyed girlie - thanks! (and i'll go change it right now.)

guilty secret, flutter, suebob, issa, and major bedhead - thanks for the support, ladies!

william - i don't believe it was an intentional slight either, but i still think it's important for the times to understand WHY they made a poor decision. (and yes, i think it was a poor decision on their part.) and yes, i agree that most men would be rather upset if all the women in their lives began acting like men. for more than just the reasons you gave... :-P

Anonymous said...

Well said, Lara. Well said.

Anonymous said...

Lara, thank you for your well-reasoned response.

CityStreams said...

What a fabulous illustration! This year I've been chosen to have an inclusion teacher and special needs kids. This will make a wonderful demonstration of equity versus equality. Thanks so much!

Amanda said...

Just letting you know I read this and appreciated it. And you :)

Julie Marsh said...

Lara David, you're my hero.

Truly an excellent illustration. Thank you!

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx said...

Great post - and great discussion as well. That is what I love about the blogosphere - the general community and opportunity to just get it all out there.

Found your blog through the Blogging the Recession effort, btw.

Mojo said...

That is a brilliant exercise, and yet another brilliant post. I once heard a similar theme from a choral director who said, "When we speak of 'unity' what we usually mean is 'harmony'. A choir singing in unison sings all the correct notes, but doesn't sound nearly as beautiful as one singing in harmony." I may not have him quoted verbatim, but you get the idea. And it's exactly this kind of post that made me think of you immediately when confronted with this I have something for you. Something I hope you'll accept in the spirit it was intended. Just a token of my esteem, which you may do with as you wish. (Except maybe hit me over the head with it.)

I'm definitely going to borrow this article -- or at least quote it. Thanks!

Run ANC said...

The shoe lesson is something everyone should have to participate in at least once in their lives. Well said.

It was in the Style section? I do think that's wrong.

Z said...

WOW - this is such a great post. I really enjoyed reading it.

Anissa Mayhew said...

Ok, THAT was a tremendous post and I'm going to tuck it away in my memory for the best post wrote that beautifully and I would TOTALLY let you school my kids.

Michael J. Bennie said...

What an awesome classroom activity and post. I just linked to this from my blog about my daughter screaming for fairness in a way that inspires me to do the same. Thanks so much for the accessible and powerful picture of what justice really needs to be. I'm a 9th grade school counselor and I have so much appreciation for your work making these distinctions with our kids.

Farjana Mahbuba said...

I'm writing something on 'Feminism' and was very much confused between 'equality' and 'equity'. googled the differences and got your writing... it's just awesome! thanks for a clear clarification.

Anonymous said...

You said this perfectly. I am in Grad school for my Masters in Instructional Leadership and many teachers do not understand this difference which is scary.

I am definitely going to share this story with my Professional Learning Committee that I am facilitating for my Action Research.

Our next meeting is about equity vs equality and I think they'll finally understand if I share your story.

Thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm an equity studies major (among other things) at the University of Toronto, and I have never, ever heard these definitions summed up in such a simple and eloquent way. If you don't mind, I'm going to bookmark this page, and when someone asks me what the difference is, I'm just going to send them here. I might even borrow that exercise!

Thanks so much for explaining an issue that was confusing even someone who is studying said issue!

Anonymous said...

hello lara,

Why can't my professor be as creative as you? Our class Equity in School could use this activity. Alas I fear I may be wasting my money . . .

Coatesyboyyyy said...

I am a woman, but no-one knows :/

Lindsay P said...

Is it pathetic that I'm a grad student and my policy teacher's explanation of equity v. equality was no where even close to as helpful as yours is? So glad I stumbled upon this. Turns out it isn't as complicated as it sounds, some just make it that way.

Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

i am not sexist or have any thing against women i am a student that took alot from your article but 1 point stil stayed with me, it all made sense except that what you are demanding is equity you want the respect right for women not equal rights like men. however who says that men are happy with the respect they have, the difference here is you might say your not screaming your heads off but in a way you just have as a man i think we deserve more respect in certain areas just like women do but we arent screaming our heads off about it ( or writing a blog making just a big of a point) look its like australians tend to say after they just tell someone their fat " no offence" well then we cant take offence from it can we. but thats a side point my main aim of replying was to say yes women are better at giving birth and feminine tasks but men are better at more physical and masculine tasks however most feminists say that women are just as good as men at masculine tasks. does that make sense

Bruce said...

As a school board member I loved the exercise with the students.

As a writer I loved the clarity. Now I understand the difference.

Thank you.

sunita said...

Respected Mam,
I am so overwhelmed to go through all the way from the beginning to its end. Here i couldn't clarify(make myself to be understood) on the following statement:
Which is something like this; That A big feet boy gets/has more shoe in comparison to the smallest feet of the girl(in the statement Equality term is being used and again the term "more" has been used) so i am dilemma/confused to make someone understand the difference between Equality and Equity with the same exemplified if i have to borrow your activity in future in the conversation.
Waiting to be understood my problem (i. e. understanding of English label as i am non native of it). And looking forward for your kind attention for its reply:)
Prosperous weekend with pleasant time ahead.

Unknown said...

I absolutely LOVE this, though there were comments and srguments that I couldnt completely fathom. Thankyou. so much. <3

--Sunrise-- said...

I have a statistics/health sociology exam tomorrow and your example explained equity and equality perfectly to me - thank you!

Ms. Lee said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I loved the shoe analogy in clarifying the difference between equality and equity!

Unknown said...

Great information to be shared!

samquincy said...

I love all of this, really do. Great activity, and great way to explain the difference between equality and equity.

The one issue I am having, and it is because I myself had confused the two terms far too many times, is who is claiming each term.

I was looking at a chart of right vs. left political ideologies and came across something, something that actually led me to finding this blog. When looking at this chart,, it has the right claiming equity and the left claiming equality. I guess, when getting down to the very basics of both ideologies, this is kind of true...

But this has rocked me to my core, for obvious reasons, because this doesn't feel like the case--especially in the US.

Just wondering if anyone has thoughts on this.

Monica said...

Hi, I'm going to link this to my blog post on equity and equality as one of the best ways to explain the difference between the two! Hope this is okay, please tell me if you'd rather not be linked/quoted.

072769 said...

Very nice. I'm on our local food Co-op Board of Directors and in our 10 principles "Equality" and "Equity" are listed next to each other. And then Google introduced me to your lesson. Great way to introduce this important concept, which is very relevant to the co-op mission.

A different Laura said...

Well-writeen article, definitely. I've heard of teachers using the shoe illustration before, though... it would be good to credit your inspiration. Nonetheless, you sound like a great teacher.

Regarding the discussion between Julie Pippert and the first Anonymous... I see much more credit in the points made by Anonymous. The technology used in blogging is just a means to an end. The intended end, so to speak, is the set of ideas and concepts represented by the words you write. Technology facilitates this, but wouldn't you agree the most important part of your blog is the content itself? I could see how a news organization might place the conference news in either the Style or the Technology section, and their choice is not a marginalization of your fine work. If your definition of equity holds, then perhaps the news org choosing the Style section was more strategic for the intended audience... everyone, but especially women

Anonymous said...

Great post, but I think when you really look deeply at the issue of achieving work place equity, deep tensions arise that are often overlooked by feminism.

To clarify my own stance, I don't think women should need to compromise their femininity when entering a work place. A woman's perspective can be, in itself, extremely valuable and create positive change and innovation. I don't think a game like "Portal" could have been invented by a male. It is the first first-person shooter I know of without any guns. It is a beautiful non-aggressive and cooperative game, and I think an important part of the creative inspiration came from the designer having been a female.

My own desire would be to see perfect equity, where men and women can both choose to be whatever they want and get similar rewards and respect for those choices.

That said, if a woman chooses to retain "being treated like a woman", particularly the privileges that come with being a woman, is she in fact doing the same job as the man? Does the female ship captain go down with the ship or get one of the seats on the life raft?

I know a lot of very talented female employees who refuse to work over 35 hours a week, who choose not to relocate, and who, when given the choice between two tasks, always choose the least risky and least tedious. I also know many less talented men who will work overtime whenever needed and who, when given two jobs, will knowingly take the one no one else wants. Without a doubt, the men tend to get more respect, but at what cost? If you sit down and talk to them at the bar they will tell you how badly they want to spend more time with their family, how badly they need a vacation, and how their health is fading and they'd love to get some more time in their lives to spend at the gym; yet they still keep making choices that contradict their own desires.

And why do these men do it? I would say it's because they see their career as their only window to gaining respect. Let's face it, the stay at home dad and the man who works 20 hours a week while pursuing his passion of playing guitar in local coffee shops is not respected by society at large (or at least won't be by the time they reach their thirties).

And then come the other hard questions. How do we measure equity? What criteria do we look at? How do we know if these women are choosing to not work hard, or if society is just pressuring them?

I don't know the answers, but I do know that, as a man who loves doing rock climbing, yoga, hiking, who loves teaching and working with kids, yet who doesn't care much for money, I'd love to draw my line at 30 hours of work a week. But if I did, while I could probably keep my job, I'd definitely not be respected and I'd never get a promotion. I could perhaps try to do what I love professionally, climb professionally or start the next Bikram or something, but that's really my only other choice. I'd also have a very upset partner to deal with when I got home...

subhasis@twitter said...


Anonymous said...

If there was a like button, I would have "liked" this. Oh well, I guess it means I'll have to comment sincerely :)

Very nicely writ.

Anonymous said...

if women want equity.. then they should stop acting equal to men.. they could stop adopting the less than good behavior of smoking, they can stop dressing like men..what's wrong with wearing a nice feminine outfit.. haha.. and acting man-ly with the ego and the cursing and the aggression... we can get respect in our own feminine ways.. we have some soft skills that men have to learn to acquire.. we are respectable just the way we are.. the men just have look past their egos sometimes.. to recognise how strong we are in our own ways.. that's equity.

Unknown said...

really good

Dani said...

Thank you for this fantastic and useful post! I'm a conflict resolution and social harmony facilitator/trainer working in conflict affected countries. I was leading a workshop with women in Burma/Myanmar a few weeks ago and someone asked just this question: "What's the difference between equity and equality." Our translator gave her own explanation in Burmese, so I didn't hear it. I so wish I had had this activity to illustrate and apply the difference in an interactive way!

Hagler said...

To the person above:
Nothing is wrong with them. But they don't fit everyone and women shouldn't feel pressured to wear them. Some women like to dress like amn and act "manly". And there is nothing wrong with that either.

S. Shacak said...

I'm a final year architecture student, two days ago I was yelling at my professor about how my design for a political headquarter should reflect and represent EQUALITY and he replied "equality in politics is not what you're looking for, you should go for equity" I thought he went crazy because I didn't get what could possibly be the difference between equality and equity in terms of politics or society so thank you for this inspirational post.

Anonymous said...

If all you're demanding is respect, then by all means, go for it. But respect is given on an individual basis, and you can't create laws forcing people to respect you. The law can't control others' emotions. And there's such thing as free speech. There are already laws protecting people from the discrimination that can actually harm them or their future, but the law can't protect you from hurt feelings. If you want respect, surround yourself with respectful people and ignore everyone else.

Anonymous said...

The shoe exercise is terrific. But, sometimes a situation demands equality and sometimes it demands equity and...sometimes both!. If you didn't have shoes and had to walk through something catastrophic, any shoes would do. Each situation must be looked at with an appropriate lens. One size does not fit all (ironically) but sometimes any shoe is better than nothing.

Unknown said...

I am not sure I agree with the basic argument. First, in my opinion, equality would be everyone getting the same type of shoe in a size that fits. If you had a statistically large enough sample/class size, the participants could redistribute shoes so that everyone had a shoe that fits even if it was not the owner's own shoe. Equity, as defined here,"Equity means everyone gets the same quality of outcome - shoes that fit their individual needs" leaves open a wide field of interpretation as to what "needs" are. Some people need "style", others need utility, others don't care what their shoes like or how they function.

When we change the argument from "everyone gets the same thing" to "everyone gets to have his or her personally defined 'needs' met" you open the door for someone to judge the worthiness of personally claimed needs, and that someone is not the individual but the person/group doing the distributing. You have established a different kind of power relationship, and there will be an elite doing the distribution.

I am not arguing against women's rights or whatever. I googled "equity vs equality" and this blog popped up. It may be a fine blog, but I think the argument is not complete.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lara,
Thank you for the inspiration activity! i tested it with a group of teachers in training and it worked really well to get the debate on equality versus equity going.
I would like to know if you mind me using it for a training ideas resource. Can you please contact me on to talk about it?
Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

Dear Lara,
Thank you for the inspiration activity! i tested it with a group of teachers in training and it worked really well to get the debate on equality versus equity going.
I would like to know if you mind me using it for a training ideas resource. Can you please contact me on to talk about it?
Many thanks!

Unknown said...

hello Lara,
I am currently writing a booklet sharing some education practices to widen cultural understanding.
I would very much like to contact you personally as I would like to quote something you've written :) How can we make that happen?

Unknown said...

Hello Lara,
I am currently writing a document on widening understanding on cultural diversity in education (local context).
I would welcome a personal contact to discuss as I would like to quote you :)
Please contact me back!

Laerlooper said...

I challenge you this question: who ever stopped you from reaching your self-appointed station in life? Clearly you wanted to be a teacher because that's what you are. Did any man ever (EVER!) tell you that you couldn't or shouldn't because you are a woman? There are people out there who would say I shouldn't be a teacher because I'm a gay man. Some perspective, please. This movement you are trying to start is already dead. You are already more "equal" than I am. Teach your children well.

Anonymous said...

Spread the word to feminists. Some feminists do honestly believe that they can and will achieve complete and utter equality with men, not realizing that it is equity they actually desire.

We can't all assume that they're talking about one thing and meaning another.

That would be stereotypically sexist.

otr214426 said...

Work from home theory is fast gaining popularity because of the freedom and flexibility that comes with it. Since one is not bound by fixed working hours, they can schedule their work at the time when they feel most productive and convenient to them. Women & Men benefit a lot from this concept of work since they can balance their home and work perfectly. People mostly find that in this situation, their productivity is higher and stress levels lower. Those who like isolation and a tranquil work environment also tend to prefer this way of working. Today, with the kind of communication networks available, millions of people worldwide are considering this option.

Women & Men who want to be independent but cannot afford to leave their responsibilities at home aside will benefit a lot from this concept of work. It makes it easier to maintain a healthy balance between home and work. The family doesn't get neglected and you can get your work done too. You can thus effectively juggle home responsibilities with your career. Working from home is definitely a viable option but it also needs a lot of hard work and discipline. You have to make a time schedule for yourself and stick to it. There will be a time frame of course for any job you take up and you have to fulfill that project within that time frame.

There are many things that can be done working from home. A few of them is listed below that will give you a general idea about the benefits of this concept.

This is the most common and highly preferred job that Women & Men like doing. Since in today's competitive world both the parents have to work they need a secure place to leave behind their children who will take care of them and parents can also relax without being worried all the time. In this job you don't require any degree or qualifications. You only have to know how to take care of children. Parents are happy to pay handsome salary and you can also earn a lot without putting too much of an effort.

For those who have a garden or an open space at your disposal and are also interested in gardening can go for this method of earning money. If given proper time and efforts nursery business can flourish very well and you will earn handsomely. But just as all jobs establishing it will be a bit difficult but the end results are outstanding.

Freelance can be in different wings. Either you can be a freelance reporter or a freelance photographer. You can also do designing or be in the advertising field doing project on your own. Being independent and working independently will depend on your field of work and the availability of its worth in the market. If you like doing jewellery designing you can do that at home totally independently. You can also work on freelancing as a marketing executive working from home. Wanna know more, email us on and we will send you information on how you can actually work as a marketing freelancer.

Internet related work
This is a very vast field and here sky is the limit. All you need is a computer and Internet facility. Whatever field you are into work at home is perfect match in the software field. You can match your time according to your convenience and complete whatever projects you get. To learn more about how to work from home, contact us today on workfromhome.otr214426@gmail.comand our team will get you started on some excellent work from home projects.

Diet food
Since now a days Women & Men are more conscious of the food that they eat hence they prefer to have homemade low cal food and if you can start supplying low cal food to various offices then it will be a very good source of income and not too much of efforts. You can hire a few ladies who will help you out and this can be a good business.

Thus think over this concept and go ahead.

Will said...

Howdy, I just came across this post while reading supplemental resources for a text titled: Readings for Diversity and Social Justice by Warren J. Blumenfeld & Maurrianne Adams. I'm working towards a Special Education MA and this post definintely got my wheels turning. I couldn't help but comment because your brilliant analogy for understanding equity vs equality made me consider the education system as a whole. Why do we assess and treat our youth according to a system based on "equality" rather than "equity"? The more I learn about the use of IEP's (individualized education plan) the more I think this should be the model for every student, whether they have special needs or not. No single test or curriculum could possibly account for the need for equity amongst students, how could it? Why not give the driver seat back to teachers, only they can do that!

Unknown said...

very good.This is fantastic and useful post