Equity VS Equality

{Yusuf Jaffar}

Dear Reader,

Food for thought. Equity vs Equality. Where shall our focuses lie in building lasting social change? A very interesting point discussed during Social Business Day 2017 by Joel Bouzou, President from the World Olympic Association. The question in your mind, what is the difference?

Disclaimer this is a discussion of objectives that work and not one of dreaming ideal scenarios.


Since you are not here, allow me to simulate this debate. Equality by definition is the concept of equal distribution of necessities for all. Intervention programs designed based on equality would look at:

1. Distribution of food;
2. Distribution of health care;
3. Distribution of energy.

Equity by definition is the concept that every individual has an equal opportunity to grow. Eliminating the pre-existing barriers that prevent individuals or groups from uplifting themselves out of poverty or distress. Type of interventions that encourage equity:

1. Yunus Center: Selecting and growing social businesses that fight poverty alleviation.
2. Peace and Sports L’Organisation pour la Paix par le Sport: Creating access to sports equipment for underprivileged athletes.
3. Shell Livewire: Select and trains entrepreneurs from a rural area and provides them with funds to realize their entrepreneurial ambition as a tool for community empowerment.


The guiding principle “Give a man to fish, you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish, you feed him for life” As an attendee to the social business conference, the sense I get is that equity is a tool that social business intermediary looks for in creating change. Our job is to create effective platforms to incite change. If we can pick the right social business to groom, we would have played our role to promote equality.

Why do you have to select between the 2? Well, the focus is critical to ideation, execution, and scaling. Entrepreneurs fail if they do not focus. This has been proven time and time again and as an advocate for equality, I think to achieve this noble goal, we need to take a step back towards equity to make a more profound difference.


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