It seems to me a lot is being argued about equality versus equity. Somehow, equity has received a bad reputation. The fact is we practice equity every day in our lives. Maybe we just don't know how it works. Take a look at the difference between equality and equity.

Equality means we all have the same opportunities, resources, experiences. Because we are unique human beings, this is clearly not a realistic expectation in every aspect of our lives. No two people can live the same life experiences even when efforts are made to afford them equal distribution of schooling, job opportunities, housing, etc. it just doesn't happen.

Equity is a concept that means we get what we need when we need it. It isn't unfair distribution of opportunities, resources or experiences. It's based on what is appropriate and most needed to benefit an individual or to meet the needs of the greatest number of people.

Look at it this way. You are at work and suddenly one of your co-workers falls down clutching their heart. For all appearances, it seems they are having a heart attack. Do you want equality or equity in the treatment they are given? If we think we all need equal treatment, CPR would have to be given to everyone at work but, of course, that is ridiculous. No. We only give CPR to the individual who needs it and then we send them on their way to the hospital.

OK, so, that example didn't work for you. Here's another one. Someone has mobility issues and needs a wheelchair. To be fair, should we all have access to a wheelchair? Fair is not always going to be equal.

Think about your life. What other examples of equity play out on a day-to-day basis? Don't they serve to benefit you and others around you? Are there times when there is no equity and you feel neglected? Equity does not always feel fair either, especially if you espouse only equal treatment. We don't all need access to a wheelchair.

Let's end the debate over equality and equity. Both contribute to our well-being and the well-being of our community, our nation, our world.

Alis Headlam lives in Rutland.

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