Definition – Equity refers to being fair and impartial, ensuring that everyone has access to the resources, opportunities, power and responsibility they need to reach their full, healthy potential – acknowledging that different people have different needs.
The terms equality and equity are sometimes used interchangeably, which can lead to confusion as there are important distinctions. Simply put, equality is treating everyone the same. “Equity is giving everyone what they need to be successful.” With equality, everyone gets the same things and is treated in the same way – but that does not necessarily acknowledge that people do not have the same needs. In contrast, equity acknowledges that people have different starting points and different needs and attempts to provide what each individual needs to be successful and to accelerate progress towards equality for all groups in society (see also diversity).
Relevance to SUMP – Applying the principle of equity acknowledges that special measures may be required to overcome existing problems of disadvantage and exclusion. To help overcome this problem, participation formats may be designed to ensure that disadvantaged groups are able to contribute their views and knowledge (see also hard-to-reach groups).
Source: Oxford dictionaries (online); SGBA e-learning resource (online); Everyday Feminism Magazine (online)