Equality is about ensuring that all individuals and groups in society have the necessary opportunities, resources and support to achieve their full potential.
In the classical liberal tradition, Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” And yet, in Jefferson’s America all men were definitely not treated as equal and women weren’t even included. Even after the amendments to the constitution and Civil Rights Acts and Title IX, there are still vast inequalities in our nation. The latest pay inequity survey (completed in 2004) shows that, although the gap is closing, on average women still make only 76.5% of a man’s salary.
- Treating everyone fairly and openly.
- Recognizing individual needs and desires.
- Enabling full participation.
- Making sure that everyone has what s/he needs to achieve his or her potential.
- Being positive. We will change.
- A real commitment to make fundamental changes if necessary.
- Recognising discrimination however it is disguised.
- Challenging discrimination.
- The responsibility of each and every individual.
- An ongoing process that must be monitored and reviewed.
---Kent County Council Social Services
So, what are other things that you can do?
Equal rights are not special rights - A common argument against equal rights is that underrepresented groups are seeking “special” rights that aren’t available to all. “Special rights” is a catchy statement but an untrue one. When people have to fight for their rights it’s because they aren’t being treated equally, not because they want to be treated as special. It is incredibly demeaning to tell people that their desire for the same basic rights as other Americans is really a desire to have “special” rights unavailable to others.
Speak Out - Opinion polls show that people who know someone who is LGBT are more likely to support equal rights for all people. As an ally and a friend, the people in your life need you to take a stand for fairness and join in the fight for equality.
Useful Links for
National Organization for Women
Human Rights Campaign