Gender equity and equality: two similar, yet distinct concepts?

By Daniil Filipenco

Gender equity and equality: two similar, yet distinct concepts?

Gender equity and gender equality are similar concepts but they do however have distinct meanings. Although the two terms may sound similar, their interpretation and practical application are not.

What is gender equity?

First of all, gender equity is a condition that helps to achieve gender equality. Ensuring gender equity means treating everyone equally based on the needs of each person, without paying attention to the gender they have been assigned at birth, or chosen afterwards. The existence of the term, ‘gender equity’, reflects the sad but widespread situation where women do not share the same ‘starting place’ as men due to historical and societal limitations.

What is gender equality?

A society achieves gender equality when all individuals benefit from the same rights and every person can boast equal access to various opportunities and rewards, regardless of their gender.

Gender equity vs gender equality

Through gender equity, we can reach equality and when this goal is achieved, men and women:

  • Have equal rights to be involved in the distribution of power and authority
  • Can benefit from equal financial opportunities
  • Boast equal chances of benefiting from quality education and reaching their goals
  • Are equally responsible for their family
  • Do not suffer from abuse based on their gender (both at home and in the workplace).

What makes gender equity so crucial?

Gender equity provides chances for everybody, by taking into account the demands of each individual in an equitable manner.

  • A world with gender balance offers a wealth of opportunities:
  • Increased business prospects
  • A solution to the growing labor deficit
  • Presence of various political leadership groups
  • More advancements in the technology and startup sectors

What makes gender equality so crucial?

First of all, it is one of the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals. The eventual aim of this SDG is to help to create a society where each person boasts equal opportunities, benefits from equal rights and obligations in all parts of life.

Since gender inequality primarily affects women, it is critical to identify and address power imbalances, as well as provide women with more control over their personal lives.

United Nations’ data shows that over the last few decades the world has witnessed improvements in gender equality:

  • An increasing number of girls are now going to school
  • Fewer girls are compelled to marry young
  • A rising number of women are in leadership positions
  • Legislation is being altered to encourage gender equality

However, despite the improvements that have taken place, women all across the world still face major issues that must be addressed and resolved. The most shocking of these are:

  • Abuse from an intimate partner (statistics show that 27% of women aged 15-49 have been victims of abuse over the last 12 months)
  • Existence of discriminatory laws
  • Underrepresentation at each level of political leadership

The pandemic has worsened the already existing disparities for women and girls in every area, including security, economy, and social protection. Furthermore, a disproportionally large number of women acted as frontline healthcare specialists and caregivers.

Final word

It is crucial to take into consideration gender issues in all aspects of life to ensure a prosperous society. There are distinctions between what men and women do, and these distinctions call for different strategies. In addition, systematic discrimination against women still persists in some regions of the world. When women meet barriers in an attempt to realize their full potential, society as a whole loses out on that potential.