Equality vs equity
There is a lot of buzz in Canada about gender equality.
What does equality look like?
How do we achieve it?
Is it about treating everyone equally?
Many of us have seen variations of this illustration.
It compares equality and equity.
These concepts are related, but not the same.
In this scene, everyone is treated exactly the same,
with the assumption that all people will benefit equally.
This scene shows equal treatment.
Equity is the quality of being fair, which often requires treatment that is not the same.
Individuals are given different supports so that they have equal access to the view.
They are being treated equitably.
This scene shows equity.
In this scene, the systemic barrier for the viewers is removed.
All three have access to the view without any supports or accommodations.
This scene demonstrates true equality.
Gender equality means that all genders have equal conditions for realizing their full human rights.
They are equal participants in their home, their community and their society.
Different groups of people may experience the same situation differently,
such as access to services and employment,
and the experience of violence.
Barriers can be formal or informal, intentional or unintentional.
So, how can we identify and remove these systemic barriers?
Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+)
is an analytical tool used to assess how diverse groups of people may experience initiatives.
The “plus” acknowledges that GBA goes beyond sex and gender.
It also includes the consideration of many other identity factors.
We all have multiple identity factors that intersect to make us who we are.
And, equity and equality aren’t only about gender.
Many benefit from removing barriers for groups of people.
- Large print versions of documents for the visually impaired
- Uniforms that allow for religious wear
- Family washrooms for parents with young children
- Flexible parental leave policies.
Each of us has biases that can make it hard to know if and when equitable actions are needed.
Use GBA+ as a guide to challenge your assumptions
and to learn more about how diverse people may experience policies, programs and everyday conditions.
By taking equitable action today, we set the stage for true equality tomorrow.
Visit Status of Women Canada and check out our demystifying GBA+ job aid on gcpedia.
Information is available upon request for those outside the government of Canada.