Equity is different to equality though the two are often thought to be the same. Equity is about promoting fairness. The aim of equity is to achieve equality in outcome not in the method to achieve it, as the example in this video shows (the voice over is a bit annoying, but the example is good)
In health promotion equity revolves around the achievement of a good level of health for all, which means that each person is given the same amount of control over their own health in order to achieve good health. In other words equity in health promotion is about enabling EVERYONE to achieve health, not just specific groups.
For health promotion this means that the resources are NOT distributed evenly or equally. In stead they are distributed in such a way that promotes equity. That is, more is given to people who need more in order to achieve the same.
For example, the Government has set up Centrelink in order to provide funding to those without in order to enable them to have more power over their health (along with many other aspects of their life). Medicare is another example. It was brought in to provide everyone with access to specific health care providers. The funding of Medicare comes from tax and more tax is taken from those with higher incomes in order to fund Medicare, which provides health care for those with less money.
Another example of equity in action is the distribution of resources to promote the health of ATSI people. Due to poorer health outcomes, higher rates of rural living, socioeconomic disadvantage, and social oppression, the government provides greater resources, including money, people and other resources.
Education in Australia is another example of equity in action. Everyone in Australia has access to a free education. Some do choose to pay for education at private schools, but education can be accessed for free. This education improves health outcomes through health education and training through PDHPE and other school programs.
Often those in more privileged positions complain that equity is ‘not fair’. But this is a misunderstanding. Equity is not equal, but it is fair. People do not control the environment into which they are born. If you are born in a socioeconomically disadvantaged area or cultural group then why should you suffer worse health than the person who was born into advantage (neither of you have done anything to deserve either of them). This is NOT fair, and so resources are distributed unevenly in order to achieve fair outcomes in health.