Is it EQUALITY or EQUITY that women want?

At a recent discussion that I took part in, an interesting statement came out from a female student in Law saying that what women want is “not equality, but the right position.” Although I was very much tempted to provide my opinion on her statement, since the discussion’s main focus was an issue related to a change in the world’s hegemonic power, it was not discussed in detail. However, I was much relieved to hear the response of a deputy minister, who unlike other misogynistic politicians in the government, first addressed the flaw in the particular lady’s statement before he proceeded to the question related to politics. So what really was wrong with her statement?

If I asked you, “would you like if the Government suddenly decided to take in more male students into universities just because the majority of students in universities is girls and by doing so, disregard the prevailing system of selecting students based on their academic performances and begin a gender-biased selection process?” I’m pretty sure that your answer would be “NO” (unless a selfish misogynist would say “YES”). So why would an educated lady (especially someone who is studying Law), say that it is not equality that women long for, but the right position in society? This is a rhetoric that is prevalent in every corner of the country regardless of the number of education qualifications a  woman possesses. This is a clear indication that it is the feelings of patriarchy which have been inculcated into the mind of females since the day that they were born that overpower their capability to think clearly and understand that there is no superior creature between man and woman.

May be the term that lady was trying to bring up was “Equity,” which is about giving what is needed for a particular person regardless of their gender when something beyond equal treatment (Equality) is necessary to sustain fairness and justice in the society. To elaborate on this further, I would like to use the same example that was used by the girl. She said that equality would require an expecting mother to stand and travel while the men would be sitting comfortably in a bus. Yes, equality definitely means that whatever gender you belong to, we are all equal and hence should be treated equally in every situation. However, here the question comes with humanity and being empathetic towards fellow human beings. This is where “equity” becomes applicable.  Any human being regardless of their gender should offer their seat to a pregnant lady. Similarly, if a disabled soldier gets into a bus, whether we are a man or a women, we have to be sensitive enough to get up and offer the seat.

The question of “EQUALITY” and “EQUITY” is not solely pertaining to women. These injustices can be seen everywhere in the society related to all genders. But the problem is that women face more injustices than men due to the patriarchal traditions that have been promoted throughout generations. As women, we should understand that we are on par with men in every aspect and we should not accept the fact that women should have a “right place” which might push them into the traditional roles of mother and house-wife. Women should have a “right place,” but that right place should provide them all the freedom to enjoy their lives and live as equals to men while enjoying “equity” when it is needed.


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