A few years ago I would have boldy said “We are ALL equal – women, men, children …” without this statement nudging my back and warning me that it held no depth and as a result didn’t help and mean anything if actions were to be made on the basis of this “BOLD” statement!
Equality and Equity are words that are thrown around like two hot balls in the realms of gender, health, poverty, career issues – the list goes on. Do you want to be the same or simply treated fairly and see justice reign? When you think about it in a profound way – you realize there is more to it, and it opens doorways to miilions of voices, millions of discussions …
This morning was truly gripped in thought – thinking about careers, opportunities and you know the drill – life. That little bubble where we know our own space all too well – or so we think… I have no doubt of my own competence and I know the work I put into my field, yet there are several people who have not had the opportunities or made choices that I have had. Where choices I made were also a result of experiences.Experiences which were a result of social status, financial status, geographical settings, policies and laws in places I lived etc. All varying across individuals who do not have the same profile like mine. Then I wondered – Am I any special than someone who is in my field who has not had these opportunities – my experiences put my value at a different range yet I repeat am I any special… so I burst the bubble and returned to the open space and tweeted:
“If you think you are too special remember all the 7 billion people+ that fit that! You are not any special than anyone else #illusions“and an amazing friend – Yemu – responded :“no life is more special than other but we are each unique & called to serve humanity in different ways – equity not equality”
Then it dawned – this equality and equity needs to be studied and addressed at all angles and in depth! Imagine being in a sinking boat with the most powerful president, you and a child – and only one person can be saved at a time – who starts and why? I am not going there – thank God we are not actually making that decision – but wait what if we had to!? Answer the poll below:
Would there be fairness in the decision you made?
When we speak about equality – you will realise that the fact that everyone is different and unique lets us go forth to equity where we can’t avoid diving into the agenda’s that encompass – socio economical , political and cultural issues. Like in health equity where we have social determinants of health to guide fairness and implement better policies that allow alleviation of any disparities that helps to create equity vs equality. (one reason males pay higher insurance that females is fair) Thus yes it is true that health and social programs need to provide more advantages for the disadvantaged populations. “This aligns with the concept of distribution of resources. Where individuals have equal access and equal means to access any opportunity to be healthy yet use the right proportion of health care they need.”
Like Sherine Fahmy highlighted – ” Understanding the significance of health equity places many responsibilities on governments throughout the world to help reduce these disparities that exist in order to foster a healthier population; these disparities are often complex and not necessarily in terms of health services but social disparities that affect health..
Just like understanding that Women and men are biologically different (this absurdness of asking women to be men is to me crazy (maybe someone can tell me where to the testosterone vaccine is being distributed )- biology or nature in general does speaks volumes and tells part of the story of why we are not the same globally in all dimensions) thus being equal is beyond the truth – we are different and when we acknowledge that difference we are able to make justice prevail by having the right policies for equity of women ,men and children !
Looking at Western philosophies were there is the integration of human rights with gender equality and many activists have for so long sometimes echoed the equality jingle and pity of the women in developing countries based on nature law and quoting great philosophers such as Max weber on economic sociology and John Rawls on socio political issues and morality. Maybe it is time to question and allow ourselves to think about the future of men , women and children of the 22nd century (our childrens children children ….)- what is relevent , what is just and how can there be fairness in all these ideas that target equality and equity?
In an article by Esther Duflo on gender equality in development targeted at the developing world – it is interesting to form an image of the manifestation of the lack of gender equality which is the phenomenon of “missing women,” a term coined by Amartya Sen in a now classic article in the New York Review of Books (Sen, 1990) … where this missing woman is treated differently from her brother. Yet many questions come to mind – how differently and if so is the missing woman being treated unfairly? If we answer this honestly and factually – we will go places … We sometimes speak of equality as if the world was flat and equal and that based on this nature – equality is a human right. But when we do look at nature – geography, biology – the facts show that it goes beyond that . In equity law – rights and obligations must be complemented with skills and competence which speaks volumes. The moment we speak of skills and competence it is not just on an individual basis but goes on to the state level which the government has the authority to exercise its power and thus beyond nature – politics, culture and economy become blocks that govern the implementation of equity – going beyond equality.
I am not a specialist and I am not writing to tell you what to do or think but to engage in this dialogue of equality and equity and learn what are the best actions we must take in our different fields to make this world a better place for men, women and children of all backgrounds.
– I do know I would love the future on the right of this image.
- Gender Equality a Catch-22 Issue in Estonia, Says Presidential Adviser (news.err.ee)
- Gender Equality and Economic Growth: Is there a Win-Win? (knrajlibrary.wordpress.com)
- Gender Equality and Maternity on International Labour Regulation (lawyersalert.wordpress.com)
- You Won’t Believe How the US Ranks in Gender Equality (blogher.com)
- Why have an International Men’s Day? | Oscar Rickett and Glen Poole (theguardian.com)
- New index aims to spur gender equality in environmental policy (trust.org)
- The Flaws in the Agency Approach to Equality (globalgenderjustice.wordpress.com)
- More on the human-ecological topic – Chris Baker (anafuessel.wordpress.com)