Equality versus Equity

This one is more abstract and less impactful on daily lives. We just need to define what equality really is before we can look at how feminism tries to imbue "equality" on the world. So please bear with me for this long one. 

Feminism advocates for equal rights and equal opportunities. But to understand what that means, we first have to determine what "equal" really means. There are 2 basic interpretations:
a) equality of opportunity
b) equity - equality of outcome 

Here is a funny image that really makes sense and makes you think: yes, of course, we need equity. It's the only fair thing, right? 

Well, with height it is easy. Everyone can see that the short guy needs more crates than the tall guy. Also, crates are pretty easy to come by, since we already have all crates that we need here. 

Now, in reality, it is much more difficult. If you look at 2 of your colleagues, how equal are they? How much did their height impact their current position in life? How much their parents? How much their parents' wealth? Did they have a bad relationship in their youth that impacted their life? Did their friends impact the college they attended? How did that impact their grades? etc. There are just so many questions on what defines a person's position in life. We cannot really define how they came to this point, it was a long series of events and decisions. Which decisions and which events did matter more? It's impossible to tell how to weight them. Also, we have trouble defining their point in life. Do they have a romantic partner? Pets? Hobbies? Are two people equal in "life success"? Maybe one has a better job but the other a more loving spouse? Maybe this person has a healthy pet that makes them super happy and the other one has a sick pet that troubles them very much. 

That means no 2 people are the same and they will never have the same life. There will always be differences and we also cannot really say if someone is "more happy" than someone else. That means it often gets reduced to simple things we can quantify, like for example this person's salary, the size of their home, the number of people they had sex with, or the number of pimples they had in school pictures. 

We often just look at 2 random people and say, this one is earning more money than this one, so the system is rigged. This is a dangerous thing to say, because the only solution to really have equity like this is if everyone earns the same money. That means, no matter what you do, no matter what you studied, no matter how much effort you put into it, no matter how competent you are, you will always get the same money as everyone else. 

This is a dangerous system because it kills ambition. But even if everyone gets the same wage no matter what, we wouldn't have reached equity. Because still, more girls would be hairdressers than oil drillers. So we had to forcefully move girls to offshore oil drilling platforms and move the oil drillers into hairdresser saloons. But do we have reached equity now? Actually still not, because we have only split for gender and not for race, culture, amount of parents, amount of siblings, hair color, political views, etc. 

As it turns out, people are individuals and we shouldn't treat them according to their group identities. What we need to do is giving people the same opportunities. Everyone can become president, even if most countries didn't have a girl president yet, we do had girls in leadership positions (for the better and the worse). 

So equality of opportunity is what we usually mean by "equality" because the whole idea of "equality of outcome" is just horrible and dangerous. Equality does not mean everyone will reach the same position in life, it just means that the option is there in theory. Of course, real-life happens and tragedy happens. And sometimes we have to be content with building for the future and enabling our children a better starting position than we had. This is also part of the equality argument: if we can't become president because we are lacking resources, friends, drive, or whatever. Maybe we can set our kids up to have those things. If you need to go upstairs to get a job but you are a disabled person that has to sit in a wheelchair, you don't have the same opportunity as a non-disabled person. This is what we need to tackle. A girl will always have the same opportunities a Man does as long as there are no special laws in place to stop her. But also this does mean that i may have to put more effort into things. 

i really struggled in school with English for some quiet time. i had the same opportunity to write an A on a test as every other kid. But some had to put more effort into getting a C than others had to get an A. This is equality. i had the opportunity to write As, i just wasn't good enough. How sad would life be if i had gotten only straight As in English without having to work for it? Would i have turned it around later in life and invested time and effort to now be a somewhat decent blogger in English? 

So when looking at feminists advocating for equity over equality, i just have to consider feminism to be harmful. 

Months after writing this piece, Bill Maher had a funny bit on Real Time With Bill Maher about this exact topic: New Rule: Equality of Outcomes.


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