Created by the Center for Spirituality & Healing and Charlson Meadows.

The Necessity of Equity

Silhouettes of people standing together

An equitable community is one where everyone is included in the full benefits of society. In such a community, everyone is treated with fairness and justice and empowered to participate fully in social, cultural, and economic life.

And the evidence is strong that individuals thrive in these types of communities. Social scientists Ora and Issac Prilleltensky succinctly summarize the research, noting that people in more egalitarian countries live longer and have better health outcomes.

This may be so because the more inequity in a country, the more people experience their social environment as hostile. This inhibits the creation of wider social networks, along with community trust. Not only do people in these countries experience fewer of the benefits of social networks, they are also exposed to the increased stress of a hostile environment.

Research also indicates a tie between individual empowerment and overall community wellbeing, especially when individuals can influence policy decisions. Individual involvement promotes collaboration and a sense of ownership that creates higher levels both of satisfaction in the community and personal and communal wellbeing.

The British scientist Michael Marmot concluded from his 25 years of research that “the opportunities you have for full social engagement and participation are crucial for health, well-being, and longevity.”

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