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Equality and equity are general categories that describes agreed upon expectation. In our relationships because we did not continue to do the self-work we were unclear or forgot what was important to us. When we forget what is most important to us, we can easily neglect our needs within the relationship context. Incorporating equality or equity based practices into our relationship means that you will have a foundation for deciding how your needs will be met. Some of us think we need equality:
Equality is “the quality or state of being equal: the quality or state of having the same rights, social status, etc.”
Equality is easy to subscribe to. We grow up with notions of equality-based fairness so many people subconsciously or consciously incorporate these values into the relationship. This will look like splitting the bills in half, taking turns walking the dog or even taking turns following the other persons dream. Equality works well when two equals come together. Two equals will generally make the same of money, have the same ideas about being in a relationships have the same education and access for upward mobility. What can be challenging about a 50/50 relationship is that its never really 50/50. Inevitably you will discover how different you both actually are. Your needs, wants, capacities and endurance and tolerance are all different. Sometimes we believe we want someone who is the same and its perfectly normal to want someone we share things in common with but understanding, accepting and embracing difference is the key any kind of growth.
Some of think that equity is best:
Equity “fairness or justice in the way people are treated”
Equity accounts for our differences income, ability and skills and ensures us that while we may not have what our partners have that there is still value to what we are bringing to the table. We may not be equal but our contributions cannot be diminished. Karl Marx, 1875 is famous for use of equity talk when discussing socialism concepts. One of his more famous quotes “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” has been used to validate this version of fairness. In addition I came across a blog where an Oakland based educator Lara had utilize a story that helped to teach children about the fundamental differences between equality and equity:
“There’s this activity I do in my class. All the students sit in a circle, and I ask everyone to take off his or her left shoe and throw it into a pile in the center. Once the shoes are all piled up, I begin re-distributing them, one to each student, completely at random. Then I tell everyone to put on the new shoes. And inevitably, there begin the complaints.”This isn’t my shoe!””It’s too big!””It’s too small!””This doesn’t fit me!”Whatever the specific complaints are, very few students are actually happy with their newly mismatched pair of shoes. “What’s wrong?” I ask. “I did everything fairly. You all have two shoes – one for your right foot and one for your left.””But Miss David,” they say, “they aren’t the correct shoes!””Oh,” I say. “You want the shoes that are best for each of you individually? Not just any shoe I find?””Yes!” they all say.”But,” I say, with furrowed brow, “that doesn’t seem fair. I wanted to treat you all EQUALLY.” I point to a boy with somewhat large feet, and a nearby girl with smallish feet. “He’ll have more shoe than you will,” I note. And without a doubt, someone unknowingly gets right to the heart of the issue:”It doesn’t matter who has more shoe, Miss David. It matters that we all have the right shoes for us.”And THAT, my friends, is the difference between equity and equality. 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.
Equity and equality are both great tools. They force us to communicate our intentions and needs. If you find yourself in a stuck relationship of any kind, I caution you to revisit the self-work you started to do before your relationship. I also encourage you to identify the family themes and patters of brokenness that you may have inherited, which might very well be showing up in your relationships. Had we been the decedents of people who communicated in a way that was healthy. Who knew how to take responsibility and be held accountable for their actions; and most importantly who learned how to love and like themselves; then that would mean you would have come from a history of people who understood wholeness and were able to operate as their ideal self. You would be without the brokenness or at least you would have the tools to combat brokenness, and you would be on your way to practicing wholeness. Wholeness is not just a state of being it is making choices that are in your best interest along the journey. You see, the real secret to a happy long relationship is to start that relationship with two individuals who are already whole, because at the end of the day love and happiness is an inside job.
Intimacy & Colour LLC