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community community engagement engagement personal development personal engagement

Best Practice: Equality and Equity

This is the seventh post in my series on Best Practices in Engagement.

There are little skirmishes and battles happening inside each of us all the time. Living in conflict, challenging ourselves, and struggle is a moment-by-moment part of most peoples’ lives. Contrary to what a lot of teachers pose, there is nothing inherently wrong or bad about these skirmishes and battles. Some people live in internal wars, and while they may cause obvious pain and suffering, they’re not evil, either. They simply are what exists within us, helping drive our engagement and our whole lives. They are just a part of life. The real question is what you do with them.

Practice 9: Require Equity and Equality.

We need equitable and equal relationships within ourselves. Then we need to promote equitable and equal relationships throughout our society. A lot of teachers inadvertently focus on personal equality, which is the idea that everything in your life is equal with everything else. They want us to love everything about our lives, or to enjoy all the people in our lives, or to treasure all the experiences in our lives. They would suggest that all ideas, beliefs, actions, and outcomes are the same, and know they are not.

We understand equality enough, but what is equity? Equality means that to take the same length walk, everyone in a group gets a pair of shoes that are all the same size. Equity means that everyone would get an appropriate pair of shoes according to their need, like loafers for a business man, work boots for a construction worker. Equity means fairness and justice, while equality means exact division and equal sharing.

Within yourself, personal engagement begins when we acknowledge that all things within us and around us are not equal. There can be a time and place where everything we’re dealing with may take an equal role to everything else around us. However, there’s a time when we get to acknowledge the equitable relationships our different ideas, actions, wisdoms, and emotions have. When we value happiness above all else, we can still ensure it has an equitable relationship with our sadness so that is not ignored. Same with our thoughts about travel, or going to concerts, or mathematics. Everything is different, but all have a place through engagement. Equality is not “better” or “worse” than personal equity; they’re simply different.

How to Tell the Difference Between Personal Equity and Equality

  • If you place your emotions before your intellect, or vice versa, then you’re living with personal equity.
  • When you’re faced with a life decision to make and you consult everyone around you in order to make the decision, then you’re practicing equality.
  • If something makes you angry and you allow yourself to feel angry and express that appropriately, then you’re practicing equality.
  • When you aware of your past and the life you’ve lived and you’re gracious and compassionate towards yourself, and then open your heart, mind, and hands towards the future, then you are living personal equity.


Read the first eight practices in this series on Best Practices in Engagement, and subscribe to our blog to learn more.
Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to http://commonaction.blogspot.com. Learn more at adamfletcher.net!

By Adam F.C. Fletcher

I'm a speaker, writer, trainer, researcher and advocate who researches, writes and shares about education, youth, and history.

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