Reviews Soundings

Let's be fair about equity and equality

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 23 March 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:735
  1. Imre Loefler, editor
  1. Nairobi Hospital Proceedings, Kenya

    Both the English words equity and equality derive from the Latin aequus, meaning fair and even, yet they have assumed distinct meanings. Equality denotes evenness and the lack of difference, and has been elevated to a principle that is supposed to prevail in all domains—moral, judicial, economic, and political. Equity stands for fairness, yet what is fair is not necessarily equal, and what is equal is not necessarily fair.

    Those who clamour that access …

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