Equality of opportunity

Left: A level playing field. Three people standing on equal size boxes to look over a fence. The smallest person can't see over the fence. Right: The same 3 people on different size boxes, now everyone can see: Justice.Equality of opportunity is sometimes seen as a ‘level playing field’, where everyone is able to start from the same position in getting employment, promotion, training, services and so on.
Another view of equality of opportunity is as basic justice, where everyone has what they need to get access to employment, promotion, training, services and so on, according to their specific needs.

These different views are illustrated in the picture to the right.

FRESh believes strongly in the view of equality as justice, where people have access to the support, equipment and resources they need to enable them to reach shared goals regardless of factors such as their social background, disabilities, sex, race and so on.

This approach supports the use of positive action, is a policy or programme of measures designed to compensate groups of people disadvantaged by discrimination to enable them to access opportunities for employment, promotion, training, services, and so on, on equal terms to other people. It is not the same as positive discrimination, which means directly selecting people from a particular group for employment, promotion, training, services and so on, regardless of the rights of others who may also want these opportunities.
A simple example of a barrier affecting a particular group, and positive action to enable them to reach their destination is shown in these picturs.

Wheelchair user facing a set of stairs.Barrier
Wheelchair user on a ramp at the entrance to a buildingPositive action

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