Equality seems to be a word, which was used a lot a few years ago but doesn’t seem to be used quite as much recently. Language changes over the years and the political climate can have an effect also, along with current politically correct fashions.
The definition for equality is “the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities”. Is this a misnomer?
If you decide to apply for a job the potential employer is required to treat all applicants equally. Seems pretty fair to me, but how can that ever be the case? The process is aimed solely at identifying the “best candidate” for the job and legislation requires that “equality” is maintained to ensure that a prospective candidates age, colour, religion, sex, disability etc. are not used as a reason to not employ them. The process then becomes a way of demonstrating that “equality” has been met, that fairness has been used and that the reasons for the final decision are transparent.
Does it work? Yes, but it is open to abuse. We all know this but we hope that the process is good enough and equality requirements not over restrictive to ensure the best person is offered the job. Positive equality, as in discrimination is as bad an idea as any other form of discrimination. It does not promote the best person for the job.
The political parties have made something of a hash of this, choosing candidates on the basis of meeting quotas in effect. Interestingly, I heard an English University Professor on the radio say that the Scots are chauvinistic. A fellow panellist immediately offered a statistic, which showed that there were more female MSPs in the Scottish Parliament than the Westminster Parliament as a percentage of all members. It certainly stopped the professor in his tracks although it proves little.
If the claims which have been made that political parties chose the candidate who ticks the most politically correct boxes, not all the time but more of the time than is probably reasonable, what then? Surely we need the best and most able candidate rather than someone who will fill a quota?
Where is there genuine equality? We all differ so much. We are unique people. We have differing levels of intellect, strength and personality traits. Grade us by one measurement and you will get a result, grade us by another measurement and you will get a completely different result.
Perhaps equality is there to deter those who would allow their prejudices to cloud their judgement. The law is then used to reinforce the protection for those who might suffer from prejudice. But whom would we seek to protect? How would we ensure we were protecting the right people? Could we genuinely protect all people from all forms of inequality?
Every living being on the planet is subject to inequality, some more than others. Can we honestly ever achieve equality where everyone is valued the same? Where everyone has the same opportunities no matter their personal circumstances? Where everyone has the same rights? Where everyone enjoys the same status?