February 08, 2016

Equity and Equality

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Category: About Us, Equity, Gender-Based Violence

If you’ve been keeping up with your e-mail you might have read this before, but we received so many great responses and positive feedback about it that we wanted to share it again as a reminder that equity is a primary part of the Coalition Ending-Gender Based Violence’s mission and vision.

Lately the term ‘equity’ has been gaining traction in the gender-based violence (GBV) movement as the term ‘equality’ increasingly takes a back seat.

We’d like to shed a little light on why this is happening.  The term ‘gender equality’ has been used for years to inspire us to apply the same rights to people of all genders.  And while this is a lofty goal and one we are closer than ever to achieving, it neglects to recognize the vastly different places at which we all start.  It assumes a level playing field and a functioning meritocracy.  Neither of these actually exists.

In order to achieve true gender justice, we must take a gender equity approach.  This means that instead of focusing on treating everyone “the same”, we need to focus on treating everyone “fairly”, i.e. recognizing differences in their needs, access to resources, and social and political agency.

Equity, as we have seen, involves trying to understand and give people what they need to enjoy full, healthy lives. Equality, in contrast, aims to ensure that everyone gets the same things in order to enjoy full, healthy lives. Like equity, equality aims to promote fairness and justice, but it can only work if everyone starts from the same place and needs the same things.”  (Source: Sex-and-Gender-Based-Analysis)

The Coalition is intentionally and actively adopting the language of gender equity.  In fact, we are thrilled to have it included in our new vision and mission statements!

equity-equality stick figures(1)