Justice is a concept of fairness, equality and balance for everyone. It’s a broad concept, and people use it to describe things like racial equality, gender equity, economic justice, social justice and many other concepts. The fight for different kinds of equality can be difficult, and sometimes it’s not possible to achieve. However, progress toward the goal of societal justice is important, and we should continue to push for change.
Equality is the idea that every person is essentially the same, regardless of differences in appearance, abilities/talents, languages spoken, religion, origins or major activities such as work or play. It’s a simple idea that has profound implications and is at the core of our nation’s founding document: Equal Protection under the Law. However, equality can be difficult to achieve because of societal structures that put people at varying points of advantage and disadvantage. For example, a person’s race or socioeconomic status may put them at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing housing, employment, education and other opportunities.
Taking the idea of equality a step further, equity goes beyond just treating people the same and seeks to understand and eliminate barriers that prevent people from being treated fairly. The goal is to give everyone what they need to live a life full of possibilities. For example, adding a ramp next to steps at a public library could help ensure that someone with a disability can easily access the building. This is one way to bring about the kind of equitable treatment that is desired by many people.
What Is the Difference Between Equity and Equality?
The word “equality” is often confused with justice, although they are distinct concepts. Justice refers to the principle of fairness in a given situation or system of law, while equality means equal treatment for all.
Justice is a social and moral concept that encompasses many aspects of society, including ethics, law, and values. It can be defined in a variety of ways, but it is most often described as fair treatment for all, impartiality and righteousness. Justice is also a political philosophy that seeks to ensure that each citizen has a say in their government and the economy.
The principles of justice are fundamental to our lives and are reflected in many of the laws we have in place today. However, the goal of a just society is always evolving as people and communities strive to make it better. By promoting equality and equity, we can make a more just world. It takes everyone to contribute to this effort, especially those who are most affected by injustice and inequality. The more we work together to advance these principles, the closer we get to creating a society in which everyone has a fair opportunity to succeed and enjoy peace and happiness. This is the ideal that we all deserve. -Joyce K. Lee, PhD, is a social justice educator at Kent State University and the director of the Center for Social Justice Research.