Fort Edmonton 2023

Understanding the Difference Between Equality and Equity

Nurturing Inclusion for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities


In our pursuit of building inclusive societies, it’s important to delve into the concepts of equality and equity. While the terms may appear similar, they have distinct meanings and implications. To truly foster inclusion for individuals with intellectual disabilities, we must understand these differences and actively work towards nurturing equitable opportunities for all.

Defining Equality and Equity:

Equality is presented as the state of being equal, where all individuals are treated identically and have access to the same resources and opportunities. On the other hand, equity acknowledges and addresses existing disparities by providing necessary support tailored to individual needs, conditions, and abilities.

Equality vs. Equity for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities:

Applying the notions of equality and equity to individuals with intellectual disabilities highlights the significance of acknowledging their unique circumstances and adapting support accordingly.

1. Equality: The Intentions and Limitations:

Promoting equality for individuals with intellectual disabilities typically involves offering the same resources, facilities, and opportunities available to the general population. While well-intentioned, focusing solely on equality may not effectively address the specific requirements and challenges faced by individuals with cognitive impairments. Treatments must take into account the need for reasonable adaptations as well as support networks within various settings.

2. Equity: Addressing Disparities:

Equity recognizes the unequal starting points that individuals with intellectual disabilities may encounter due to their specific cognitive impairments. It involves identifying and mitigating barriers to participation and promoting fairness in access to educational, employment, and social opportunities. By acknowledging and addressing these disparities, we can create an empowering environment that values everyone’s unique journey and fosters inclusion more effectively.

Applying an Equitable Approach for Inclusion:

To promote equity and inclusion for individuals with intellectual disabilities, we must consider several key aspects:

1. Person-Centered Approaches:

Individuals with intellectual disabilities have varied needs, strengths, and capabilities. Implementing person-centered approaches ensures that support and accommodations are tailored to their distinct requirements, creating an equitable environment that fosters holistic development.

2. Adapted Learning Environments:

Education plays a pivotal role in empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities. Creating adapted learning environments, such as specialized classrooms, assistive technologies, and differentiated teaching strategies, helps level the playing field, promoting equal educational opportunities.

3. Employment and Career Opportunities:

Supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities in gaining meaningful employment requires an equitable approach. Accessible workplace accommodations and training programs go hand in hand, enabling individuals with intellectual disabilities to contribute their unique skills and talents to the workforce in an inclusive and fair manner.

4. Community Engagement and Social Inclusion:

An equitable and inclusive society recognizes the importance of social integration. Encouraging community involvement, adapting social spaces, creating accessible recreational activities, and promoting interpersonal connections ensures individuals with intellectual disabilities can actively participate, fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance.


By understanding the differences between equality and equity, we can redefine our approaches towards inclusion for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Striving for equity ensures that everyone is given a fair chance to succeed, appreciates diverse abilities, and creates an atmosphere of acceptance and support. Embracing an equitable mindset helps build a society where individuals with intellectual disabilities can thrive, tapping into their potential and enriching our shared humanity.

Read How WIN Promotes Equality and Equity as Core Values in our Culture

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