The use of the term Equity has been on the rise for years, especially with the emergence of the new political term of "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion", or DEI, being bandied about in the US. But, in terms of usage, there doesn't seem to be much consensus on what the word actually means.
Is often used interchangeably with equality, but there’s a core difference: Where equality is a system in which each individual is offered the same opportunities regardless of circumstance, equity distributes resources based on needs. We live in a disproportionate society, and equity tries to correct its imbalance by creating more opportunities for people who have historically had less access.
That sounds a great deal more like a synonym for affirmative action.
MAHER: How would you differentiate between Equity and Equality?
SANDERS: Well, Equality we talk about -- Uh -- I don't know what the answer to that is. Come to think of it, Equality is Equality of opportunity.
(snipped in clip)
MAHER: Equity is more guarantee of outcome, is it not?
SANDERS: Yeah, I think so.
MAHER: So which side do you come down on?
Maher would later ask the same thing of John McWhorter (not a DEI fan). The crux of his answer is this (transcript mine)
Equity is this wormy word. The idea is that you're gonna have Equality by forcing the issue by bringing people into positions that they're not qualified for yet so that everything looks "like America". So it sounds like "Equality" and you say "Equity" and you figure it means the same thing. But it's a euphemism. They're trying to slip in without letting you know that it's going to be equality accomplished in a way that you probably wouldn't like.
The problem (as everyone notes) is that it is often used interchangeably with "equality". Is this simply a synonym for "equality-plus-something"? A pure synonym? Does it have any other use that would explain what its proponents mean?