Equality vs. Equity

Students will examine the difference between equity and equality through problem solving and discovery. They will address the question "Why do we need to learn about differences? If we treat everyone the same, everything will be fine."


  • Learners will be able to distinguish between equality and equity


  • Shoes from each participants (1 per participant)
  • Equality vs. Equity graphic


  1. Have all participants remove one shoe. The shoes should be piled up in a central location.
  2. When this is done, randomly distribute the shoes, so that each person again has two.
  3. Ask the participants to put on their new shoe. Some people will complain that the cannot put on the new shoe because it is too big, small, etc.
  4. Ask the people complaining "What is wrong? I did everything fairly, everybody has two shoes"
  5. Somebody will likely mention that the problem is that the participants do not have the correct shoes.
  6. Ask the participants "So you want the shoe that is best for you, not just any old shoe?"
  7. When they say yes, point out that somebody with big feet (you can find an example) will have more shoe than somebody with small feet (you can find an example). State that this doesn't seem fair to you.
  8. Ask the participants what is fair? Lead the discussion until the participants answer that it doesn't matter who has more shoe, it matters whether the shoe fits.
  9. Explain that this is the difference between Equality and Equity. Equality means everyone gets exactly the same outcome - two shoes - without regard to individual differences - large or small feet, for example. Equity means everyone gets the same quality of outcome - shoes that fit their individual needs. You can use the graphic to illustrate this.
Graphic showing differences between equality and equity
Equality vs. Equity - by the Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire.” Image Found: interactioninstitute.org

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