What is equal opportunity?

What Does Equal opportunities Mean

We explain what equal opportunities is, how it allows to overcome social inequalities and its importance in democracy.

Equal opportunities offer everyone the same tools and possibilities for development.

What is equal opportunity?

When we speak of equal opportunities, we refer to the idea that all people should have the same starting point in society . In other words, only our effort and our own decisions can mark our development , without our existence being determined by our social or economic position at birth .


However, in our capitalist democratic societies , not all of them come into the world in the same conditions: some are born in the bosom of a wealthy home, with all doors open, and others in less favored homes, with deficiencies and therefore with less. opportunities and a more uphill life.

This phenomenon, known as social inequality , is common in practically all human societies , to a greater or lesser extent. However, in some cases such a gap can be bridged, thus allowing social mobility (the change in socioeconomic class, upward or downward), while in others it is practically unbridgeable.

In this context, Social Justice is the political perspective that defends the right of every individual to have the same opportunities as others. Thus, the individual can take advantage of them and overcome them, or waste them and fail. In both cases, it will be a consequence of their actions and not of their inheritance , that is, of the mistakes and faults committed by their parents.

Many governments and non-profit organizations struggle to close the opportunity gap between rich and poor, or between other social segments.

For example, among the demands of feminism since the late nineteenth century is the idea of equal opportunities for study, work and remuneration for men and women. However, even today there is a wage gap between the pay of a man and a woman who do the same job.

See also: Equal rights

Importance of equal opportunities

Equal opportunities is the only guarantee of a more equitable social future , which allows diversification, mutual growth of the different sectors of the community , and the exchange of wealth in terms that are really due to effort, creativity , to work, and not to inherited conditions.

This, in addition, is key to a more equitable culture, which rewards effort in the same way , coming from whoever comes: men, women, religious, laity, migrants, natives, etc.

There are many social sectors that oppose this idea, since they consider that the difference in opportunities is the "natural order" of humanity . On the other hand, it is difficult to accept how much of everyone's success is due to determining conditions beyond their own efforts.

Let us also remember that throughout history the distinction between powerful and subject, between rich and poor, has not always been the same. Those who today belong to the favored stratum in other times could have had all the doors closed, or vice versa.

Continue with: Gender equity

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