Difference Between Equity and Equality

The difference between equity and equality can be defined by the share of resources an individual is receiving in a certain situation.

In an equity-based system, each individual receives the amount or quality of resources he/she requires to accomplish a certain objective whereas, in an equality-based system, each individual receives the same amount/quality of resources regardless of his/her ability to reach the specified objective with what resources he/she already has.

Equity vs Equality

The difference between equity and equality is that equity means to give or be given as needed whereas Equality means giving or be given as the other individual gets. In an equity system, equality means that all individuals have everything they need to achieve a certain goal. In an equality system, however, since everybody gets the same resources, some end up with things they don’t even need.

Equity vs Equality

Such a system may drive a society to ‘rich becoming richer and poor becoming poorer’ circumstances.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonEquityEquality
Do all individuals become able to achieve the same goal?YesNo
Needs assessmentNeeds are fulfilledIrrespective of needs
RationaleRequires logical and lucid analysis of people’s current situation and their end goalDoes not require any understanding of people’s current situation nor their end goal
Affected by the state of people?Yes, and counters accordinglyNot affected
Does everybody has to start at the same level?No. Everyone gets what he/she requires to get to the destinationYes. One may or may not get what they require to get to the destination
Treatment of peopleEquity treats everyone differently and according to their needsEquality treats everyone the same and does not account for their needs
DiscriminationEquity discriminates people based on their differences of class or caliber to achieve equalityEquality does not discriminate people based on their differences of class or caliber but that becomes a cause for inequality
End resultJusticeIndiscrimination


What is Equity?

Equity is impartiality. Equity-based systems are derived by needs assessment and work toward achieving justice and are suited for all situations involving a variety of classes, races or ages of people.

For example, in a classroom, the students who are weak in one subject are given extra lessons in that particular subject instead of all students are given the same or no students getting any extra class.

Although it seems only fair for all students to be provided with the same amount of attention, however, it does not ensure equal success.


What is Equality?

Equality is sameness. Equality based systems are run on equal sharing and work toward achieving fairness and are suited for situations involving a limited number of people from the same class, race or age.

Equality does not take into account the needs of individuals.

Hence, for example, in an organization, all the individuals in the same job category and with the same set of responsibilities, will be paid the same no matter how much money each of them needs.

It seems fair for all the workers to be paid based on their job responsibilities however, it does not ensure that all of them will be able to afford the same lifestyle.

Does this mean that equality should not be the perimeter of success?

No, equality is necessary to create harmony between the people working towards the same goal, however, to reach that level, it is first required that all individuals start at the same level and that is only achievable by equity.

It can, therefore, be said that both parameters are to be practiced in parallel to one another to ensure a system that does not discriminate.


Main Differences Between Equity and Equality

  1. Equity is a proportional share of resources whereas Equality is an equal share of resources
  2. Equity implies equal chances of success whereas Equality implies proportional chances of success
  3. Equity brings people of all classes at the same level whereas Equality ensures that provision of resources is promiscuous of class differences
  4. Equity is the means and equality is the outcome
  5. Equity is possible to achieve even if all participants do not start at the same level whereas to achieve equality, everybody needs to be at the same level from the very beginning


  1. https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.so.09.080183.001245
  2. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED231906
  3. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00131880701717198
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So equity is about investments and equality is in general social terms. I will remember the difference between equity and equality by equal+ity = society and eq+uity = share market.

Donny Nardecchia
Donny Nardecchia

Hi Piyush,

Can a government decide to distribute the equity of the country equally among its citizens?

Piyush Yadav
Piyush Yadav

Hi Donny,
This has not happened till yet in whole of the history. With the capitalism being more prevalent in the current times, I doubt that any country will take such a step.
When there is a struggle to acquire resources, then there is competition and hence new innovations are done.