Equality Types

There are many different types of equality, some of them are obvious, and some of them are hidden and obscured. Some of these are done deliberately, some just by their nature, history, or roots. Some of the main types of equality (and some corresponding ideas) are listed here. You can click on any header to go to the corresponding category for related posts.

In all cases, equality in these contexts is about how the state (a countries rules and laws) or social environment (your friends, peers, members of the public) view and treat you.

Discrimination based on any of these means implies:

  • Limiting your ability to work, play, or live your life as you see fit
  • Limit your access to state resources (for example roads, property, healthcare, pensions, etc.)
  • Prevents you from applying for a job or role, or getting equal or equivalent remuneration
  • Segregation or isolation from people of a different group
  • Physical, verbal, or emotional attacks

The above is not an exhaustive list, as there are many types and forms of discrimination, just as there are many types of equality.

Some of these equality types are very closely linked but should be considered in the broader aspect of all the different types of identity with which they are associated. For example, your social standing does not necessarily automatically imply your social standing. In the UK it is possible to be a Lord of the realm, and therefore hold high social status, but not have much wealth, and thus have low economic status.

Gender Equality

Gender Equality is one of the more obvious types of equality in that most people are familiar with individuals being restricted in the jobs, hobbies and pursuits they want to be able to follow because of what they are expected or allowed to do according to their gender. For example, women playing certain types of sport, men pursuing jobs traditionally seen for women (nursing, cleaning, cooking).

There are other aspects too, and related equalities that come from your gender, including your sexual equality, and political equality. The suffragette movement is a classic example of gender equality having an impact on political equality – women wanted the right to vote.

Gender Identity

This sometimes gets wrapped up in either Gender or Sexual Equality, but I’ve always understood and treated this as a different aspect of related themes. For gender identity, I mean that ability to openly express and choose your gender according to how you identify yourself.

It is possible, for example, to be transgender and gay, and to want to have the same opportunities as the gender that you identify as.

Sexual Equality

Your chosen sexual identity, gay, lesbian, pansexual, bisexual, asexual, is an essential part of one’s own identity and the identity within your peer group. Who you choose to love and have relationships with should not be restricted or limited. Just because you identify as gay, does not affect your abilities to do your job or pursue your interests.

Political Equality

In modern democratic societies, political equality is a vital way for people to express their views and opinions on how they, and their country, are run. Everybody should have the right to vote and have their say, and it shouldn’t matter what your gender, race or social status are, even though historically these may have been the factors that limited or outright prevented the ability to vote or become an elected official.

Racial Equality

An individual’s race is another easily identifiable class discrimination when equality is not offered. The colour of your skin, or when this is not obvious, your historical racial group should not be used to determine your ability to live your life. Regardless of your race, as a member of society you should be granted the same rights and benefits.

Economic Equality

Economic equality implies that everybody should be treated the same irrespective of their wealth or financial status. For example, a person who is unemployed is entitled to use the public road system of their respective country just the same as a millionaire does. Economic equality also attempts to eliminate poverty and entitle everybody to the same basic levels of primary needs such as food and shelter.

Economic equality on its own is usually difficult to attain without also supporting social equality and political equality to help support it.

Religious Equality

Whether you follow a religion or identify as agnostic or atheist, you should treat, and be treated, equally. Equality of religion is about your Just because you follow or observe a religion, even if that religion is seen as the ‘official’ religion of the state, it should not entitle you to any better privileges or treatment. Equally, you should be able to practice the religion that you choose, and also not practice any religion.

Social Equality

All people should be able to achieve the same social status, and conversely, your social status should not confer special privileges. This covers a wide range of different points which are often intertwined with other areas of equality in this list. Some good examples are that laws should be applied to all members of society, irrespective of your job, race, political affiliation or economic status. It also means that anybody can become or be entitled to different roles, for example, to become an elected official (related to political equality), or that your race should be used to restrict your actions (racial equality).

Civil Equality

Civil Equality covers a range of different equality and discrimination from the perspective that all citizens should be entitled to be treated the same under the civil laws of their country. Civil equality, therefore, applies to the laws and rules within a state and how they are applied, and they affect individual civil liberties.

Educational Equality

If there is equality of education, that is, everybody is entitled to the same level, quality, and information within their educational instruction; then educational equality has been achieved. Access to education should not be limited to a chosen few, nor should different information be provided to different individuals because of their race or gender.

Equality of Opportunity

Everybody should have the opportunity and ability to pursue the dreams, job, role, or aspirations of their choosing. This type of equality can sometimes get wrapped up in other equalities; for example, your ability to pick and choose and a job may be limited by your gender, and this, in turn, limits the opportunities available to you.