Difference Between Equity and Equality: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI): ISO 30415: 2021

Justice has always evoked ideas of equality, of proportion of compensation. In short, justice is another name for liberty, equality and fraternity.― BR Ambedkar


When twins are born in a family, the general expectation for the parents is that both will have similar choices and tastes. Like they will prefer the same food, music or sports. But the reality could be entirely different. They may have different choices for food (Indian or Chinese), music (Guitar or Keyboard) or sports (Football or Cricket). But if the parents try to insist that they should have the same choices, will it be good or bad for the twins?

Read More: https://bit.ly/DEIClause4

Content: ISO 30415: 2021: Equity vs Equality

  1. What is Equity and Equality?
  2. What are the key differences?
  3. What are the key similarities?
  4. Conclusion


As per ISO 30415: 2021 standard, developing an inclusive workplace requires an ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion (D&I) to address inequalities in organizational systems, policies, processes and practices, as well as people’s conscious and unconscious biases and behaviours.

The words equality and equity are often confused because, as they appear to mean the same thing. They both have to do with the way people are treated and used in the fields of law, government, economics etc. to end or oppose injustice or unfair treatment of people.

Equity is more complicated than equality. The complication with equity is that people often disagree on what is “just” or “fair.” These are subjective concepts and, as a result, laws and policies that attempt to achieve equity are often challenged in court or are controversial.

Once you go through the article, you will understand the meaning of Equity and Equality, the key difference differences between them and their key purpose.

Read More: https://bit.ly/DiversityEquityEnclusion

Definition: ISO 30415: 2021

Bias (3.5): Tendency, inclination or opinion that is preconceived or unreasoned that hinders impartial judgment.

Diversity (3.7): Characteristics of differences and similarities between people. Diversity includes factors that influence the identities and perspectives that people bring when interacting at work.

Employee Resource Group- ERG (3.8): People with shared demographic and other diversity dimensions, and their allies. An ERG generally consists of people who join together in a network to share experiences and beliefs, and to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Equality (3.9): State of being equal, especially in status, rights, opportunities or outcomes.

Equity (3.10): Principle that policies, processes and practices should be fairly applied and individual needs recognized.

Fairness (3.11): The principle that everyone should be subject to procedures that are equitable and as far as possible free from systematic bias.

Inclusion (3.12): Practice of including all stakeholders in organizational contexts.

Voice (3.19): The way people communicate their views and influence matters that affect them.

Read More: https://bit.ly/ISO9004Standard

Detailed Information

According to Deloitte, diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee and Gartner found that inclusive teams improve team performance by up to 30% in high-diversity environments. Yet only 40% of employees agree that their manager fosters an inclusive environment!

The studies show a strong correlative relationship between business performance and diversity. Organizations that have greater access to talent and increased employee engagement contribute to this performance effect. When the top management of the organization starts looking at DEI as a business case, the implementation will increase in a real sense.

The standard is relevant to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

  • (5) Gender Equality
  • (8) Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • (9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • (10) Reduced Inequality.

Read More: https://bit.ly/ISO9000Standard

For an organization, both Equity and Equality are equally important. When thinking about equity and equality, the context is paramount. Once we understand the context, it will become very easy to understand its importance and how to effectively implement Equity and Equality. Once it is effectively implemented, we can also verify its effectiveness and what needs to be done to improve it further.

As humans and organizations, we are unique. Whatever is relevant for one organization may not be applicable to another. Equity and Equality will always be based on divergent factors like country, culture, language, social status, religion, and skin colour.

Organizations which blindly try to emulate the principles of Equity and Equality of another company/country will always face hardship and it may result in surprising results (negative!)

The tangible benefit of effectively implementing the principles of Equity and Equality can be seen in the form of

  • Economic growth
  • Low employee turnover
  • Sustainable growth
  • High employee satisfaction index
1 Definition as per ISO 30415 Clause 3.10: Principle that policies, processes and practices should be fairly applied and individual needs recognized. Definition as per ISO 30415 Clause 3.9: State of being equal, especially in status, rights, opportunities or outcomes.
2 Equity is giving everyone a pair of shoes that fit. Equality is giving everyone the same pair of shoes.
3 Equity is a process.

Example: Identification and giving additional support to the underprivileged/have-nots like free medicine, food etc.

Equality is an outcome of that process.

Example: With additional empowerment of the coloured skin/minorities, the society will be equal and just.

4 Equity is a solution for addressing imbalanced social systems.

Example: Certain underprivileged communities/castes who were discriminated against for ages are given reservations (additional benefits) in college and government jobs.

Equality is key to the notion that everyone will be able to achieve based on their efforts and contributions to society instead of their status or position.

Example: Everyone is entitled to enter any religious place irrespective of their financial/social status.

5 Equity takes into account historical and other factors in determining what is fair. Example: A Creche facility is provided which enables parents to leave their children while they are at work and helps in women’s empowerment. Offers equal treatment regardless of circumstances.

Example: In an organization, all the employees wear the same dress irrespective of their position

6 Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.

Example: Medical benefits based on the health situation and transportation facility for the underprivileged.

Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities.

Example: Same Working hours, same medical benefits, same canteen food

7 Example: Three buckets that may contain three, four and five apples based on the financial status or family needs. Example: Three buckets that all contain five apples are in a state of equality. They all have exactly the same amount of the exact same items.
8 Example: If we give a rich woman $100 and a poor woman $200, then it could be said we are trying to achieve equity by “fairly” giving the poor woman more help based on her financial situation. Example: If we give a rich woman and a poor woman each $100 that would be an example of equality since we gave both the same amount of money.

Read More: https://bit.ly/DEIPDCA


In conclusion, equity and equality are distinct concepts with different approaches to achieving fairness and justice. Equity emphasizes the importance of considering individual needs and circumstances, addressing systemic inequalities, and providing targeted interventions. It focuses on outcomes and strives for social and economic justice. While equality aims to treat everyone the same, providing equal resources and opportunities regardless of individual circumstances. It emphasizes equal treatment and impartiality.

Both equity and equality have their advantages and disadvantages, and their application depends on the context and goals of achieving fairness and justice.

Read More: https://bit.ly/ISO19011-2018Auditing


ISO 30415: 2021

ISO 30408: 2016: HRM: Guidelines on Human Governance

ISO 30400: 2022: HRM: Vocabulary

Industry Experts

This is the 201st article of this Quality Management series. Every weekend, you will find useful information that will make your Management System journey Productive. Please share it with your colleagues too.

In the words of Albert Einstein, “The important thing is never to stop questioning.” I invite you to ask anything about the above subject. Questions and answers are the lifeblood of learning, and we are all learning. I will answer all questions to the best of my ability and promise to keep personal information confidential.

Your genuine feedback and response are extremely valuable. Please suggest topics for the coming weeks.

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