Social equity is one of the critical issues in the contemporary public administration practices. The level of development in every country is determined by the level of equity in all aspects in the society. The higher the economic gap among the people the lower is the country in terms of development.
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On the other hand, the smaller the gap among the people the higher is the level of development. Therefore, the issue of equity has a significant implication in public administration. In order to realize equity, the public administrators play a significant role in ensuring that all this has been realized. This is more so in the current situation where the gap between the poor and the rich is increasing with time. Most of the resources are ending up on the hands of few rich while the majority remains extremely poor.
In the contemporary world, the public administrators have a significant contribution in promoting a fairer, equitable, and more just system. This is despite of the many issues they have to settle. However, the issue of social equity still remains a problem. According to Pickett (2011), people are becoming less equal in terms of economic, social, and political aspects of life. There are large differences in the society. There is therefore need to have a clear analysis in order to understand and be able to come up with appropriate recommendations.
Application of the Social Equity
In the present-day world, social equity is viewed as one of the primary purposes of the public administration. This entails the efficiency in organisation as well as the management of public services. It involves equitable distribution in management of public services. In order to promote equity in the country, it is always necessary to practice fairness in its management and while delivering its services (Inter-American Development Bank 2000).
It is always important to observe closely any potential inequities of the social equity (Inter-American Development Bank, 2000). In order to be able to make correct inferences, it is always necessary to look beyond the differences in individual inclination. Equity is characterized by the condition where the administrators are not indifferent to the stated conditions.
In order to be able to realize equity in every economy, economic and social inequalities need to be rearranged in such a way that they provide the greatest advantage to the least advantaged in the society (Svara and Johnson, 2011). In order to achieve this, it is always advisable to prepare policy proposals in an effort to suppress both social and economic difficulties in the society. The social administrators are also expected to deal with the issue of discrimination in an effort to further reduce these gaps.
Kinds of Inequalities
One of the main types of inequalities is simple equity. The individual equality is composed of one class of equals, where one relationship of equality exists among them (Inter-American Development Bank, 2000). There are several cases where this kind of equality can be realized. A good example of this can be the principle of one man one vote. This is where every person has equal rights and none is above the other. Contributions from each person are considered. This mechanism maintains the equality among the people.
The other form of equity is segmented equality. This kind of equality can clearly be seen especially where there is high level of labor division. For instance, the farmers are taxed in a different way from the business people. Similarly, wage earners are taxed differently in a certain way depending on the income levels.
In order to promote equity among the people, all persons from the same category must be taxed equally. This promotes equity among the people. However, this is based on the assumption that all the people are in the same category. For instance, all the farmers are assumed to be equal.
On the other hand, segmented equality suffers from the fact that there is inequality that exists between different segments. It is however necessary to come up with measures to reduce these differences. For instance, the higher income segment can be taxed higher than the lower income segment. Again, this will help in minimizing the difference between various groups. This segmentation is of great importance to the policy makers because most of the public services are provided through these segments.
The other type of equality is the block equality. This is the type of equality that calls for parity between different groups (Inter-American Development Bank, 2000). However, the use of racism to define the blocks threatens the level of equity in the society. This is because it tends to bring about discrimination.
In an effort to deal with the problems of inequality in the economy, the public administrators are usually faced by several challenges. This is because the exercise always has the losers and the winners. For instance, the individuals with more resources in the society will lose while those who don’t have will gain. However, the losers in this case are more advantaged. Nonetheless, it is always necessary to take into consideration the protection test.
In order to facilitate equity across the country, it is always advisable to ensure that there is fairness, equitable, and just management in all the institutions serving the government in one way or another. All services provided in these institutions must be providing in a way that promotes equity. The policy implementation must also be directed in such a way that it promotes justice, fairness, and equity in all aspects in the society.
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Social Equity in Government Service
Another ground where there are critical issues on social equity is on the government services. Government services play a pivotal role in promoting equity among the people. This is because they have a significant implication on the well being of individuals.
Past studies have identified a number of cases where the government services have been unequally distributed. These include the municipal services like paved streets, gutters among others. Such services may be distributed in a discriminatory manner such that they don’t reflect the social equity.
For instance, these services were directed towards the white section while the blacks were left behind in poor conditions. A good example of such discrimination was seen at Shaw. At this region, only the white section enjoyed good municipal services like paved streets (Frederickson, 2005).
The other section occupied by the black never enjoyed equal services. This discrimination violated the 14th Amendment, which promised equal protection of the law. However, the court rejected this claim arguing that this form of distribution is municipal administration’s business and that it can be resolved at the ballot box (Frederickson, 2005). Through this kind of discrimination, inequalities are increased in the society. This problem was however resolved after which there was more equity in government services.
Another issue of inequity in the provision of the government services can be seen in the education sector. In US, desegregation of public schools following Brown V. Board of Education has resulted in varied and creative ways to define and achieve equality” (Frederickson, 2005).
One of the ways that has been applied in an effort to achieve equity in education is busing. Through busing, students are able to access schools far away from their residential areas. This has significantly helped in bringing about social block equity in the society. Equity in education has also been promoted through funding.
For instance, the states have used the equalization formula where more funds are geared towards funding of education in the poor districts. This equalization procedure played a major role in bridging the gap between the poor and the rich districts.
Over the past decade, questions have been raised on whether the existing separate but equal schooling system reflected inequality or whether it was unconstitutional. This raised major concerns on whether state departments for education can manage to eliminate the existing segregation.
The school system was separated based on races. The Court of Appeal in the United States made a significant effort in elimination of the racial based school systems. For instance, it ruled that the school officials had an affirmative role to bring about an integrated school system under the 14th amendment (Svara and Johnson, 2011).
Such integration was aimed at bringing about equity by elimination of the system of having Negro schools on one hand and the white schools on the other. In order to eliminate this dual schooling system, it required the authorities to facilitate integration of facilities, activities, and the students. This will help in elimination of the previous dual system.
One of the main factors that intensified racial segregation in schools was segregation of residential areas in the United States. This resulted in segregation in schools as a result of segregated neighborhoods.
Despite of these efforts, that were put to bring about equity among the people, there still remain some signs of inequality. This can be demonstrated through various aspects in the prevailing systems. For instance, the suburban schools districts around Kansas are dominated by white students (Svara and Johnson, 2011).
On the other hand, most of the all-Black schools are still dominated by black teachers and students. This means that there are still some aspects of inequity remaining in the community. These minor aspects have significantly led to differences among the people in the society and must be rectified.
There was a number of competing views that threatened the efforts of realizing equity in the society. One of the main areas where people varied was on the definition of the term equity.
It is important to note that everybody’s vote is equal to the other in this case. In addition, principle of democracy is that the majority vote wins. This point raised a critical issue because it is difficult for the majority to vote away minority’s constitutional rights to equal schooling (Svara and Johnson, 2011). This threatens the efforts geared towards the achievement of equality in schools.
Employment and Social Equity
The field of employment is one of the main areas through which the government can have a significant influence on the level of wealth. Consequently, it has a significant role in promoting social equity. This can be both nonpublic and public. The main issue here is the identification of those who should be employed as well as the criteria on which the selection process will be based.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended and the Equal Employment Act of 1972 were designed to guarantee equal access to public and private employment (Frederickson, 2005).
In Other words, this act played a significant role in promoting equality in employment. It provided equal opportunities to every person qualified for a particular position despite of their differences in other aspects. For instance, both children from the poor and rich families were given equal chances provided they had the required qualifications. This has significantly helped in reducing the gap between the rich and the poor.
It is also advisable for the concerned parties to adhere to the laws in order to promote fair measurement of the talent, ability, and skills in order to determine who gets the job (Frederickson, 2005). Employers are also discouraged by the law from engaging in discriminatory practices while recruiting employees. For instance, favoring candidates because they are either white or black violates this law.
In ensuring equity in employment, the affirmative laws have played a pivotal role where the court has the major responsibility of interpreting them.
For instance, it has ensured equity in employment for minorities, non-minorities as well as both the gender. However, it is predicted that the values of social equity may fall in the process of shifting towards a new balance in terms of employment which is more inclined towards efficiency level.
Several efforts have been applied in an effort to ensure that there is equity among the people, both minorities and non minorities. One of this can be seen through contracting. Back in the year 1977, in the Public Works Employment Act, the government proposed that 10 percent of all the public works must be reserved for the firms that were owned by the minorities in the United States. This was fully settled by 1980 and was being applied by them.
Again, this promoted equity among the people. It protected the minorities from bias that may deny them opportunities. Before then, contracts were mostly awarded to the non-minorities. As a result, only the firms that were owned by the non-minorities were progressing while these owned by the minorities continued to fall.
As a result, the gap between the minorities and the non-minorities continued to increase. The implementation of this act played a significant role in solving the problem of racial discrimination, which was prevailing by then.
“Today, by upholding this race-conscious remedy, the Court accords Congress the authority to undertake the task of moving our society toward a state of meaningful equality of opportunity, not an abstract version of equality in which the effects of past discrimination would be forever into our social fabric” (Frederickson, 2005).
Although this effort led to suppression of racial discrimination, it was opposed on the ground that it denied individuals the equal protection of the law.
The difference in the views was as a result of differences in the issue of what is to be equal. Different people have come up with differing approach, the fact which has led to disagreement on this proposal. Some argued that this Act just ensure block equity while it rarely emphasized on individual equity. The opposing groups here based their argument on whether block equity is better than individual equity.
Later, the 10 percent set aside by the provisions of the Federal Public Works Employment act in 1977 was interested to 30 percent by the U.S Supreme Court for the minority construction firms on contracts in the city of Richmond (Frederickson, 2005).
This move was received negatively by being regarded as impediment for the affirmative action programs of other states and municipalities. This was seen to be denying the whites an equal protection law. Although the proposed arrangement brought equity in the society, it was argued that the law used inequality in the means of achieving this (Svara and Johnson, 2011).
The Role of Public Administrators in Promoting Equity
The public administrators play a pivotal role in promoting equity in the society. By shaping the work of governance in their respective positions, the public administrators are able to promote equity in public administration. By practicing good judgment in their services, the public administrators abide with the raw that promotes equality in the society.
The public administrators also have the duty to partner with the elected leaders in ensuring that there is equity in every service provided (Svara and Johnson, 2011). The public administrators also interact with various individuals including the citizens and giving the elected officials advice and contributing by giving the recommendations on policy.
Promoting Equality in Distribution and Access of the Available Services
Another way through which the public administrators can promote equity in the country is through distribution and access. That is, to ensure that all services and benefits are equally available to every person in the community.
As already noted, the distribution of the resources must be in such a way that the poor get more than the rich. Such allocation will help in bridging the gap between the rich and the poor in the society. It is also necessary to ensure that the distribution and access of the existing programs and policies closely goes with the intended purpose (Vitez 2011).
For instance, in case there is a certain service to be provided to everyone, then this service should be equally available to all the people. In other words, every qualified individual in the society must have equal rights to access a certain service. For example, there should be no favor, discrimination or any other kind of bias that may significantly affect the ability of a certain fraction of the group from accessing the services.
In some cases, there are some requirements that determine the eligibility for a certain service. In such case, it is always advisable to measure that every eligible person is able to access the service. The legal procedures should be applied to include those who are in between the two extremes.
For instance, in case there is a certain allowance given to those people living below a certain income level, it is advisable to consider those at the boundary. While formulating the new policies and guidelines, it is advisable to ensure that only those policies that promote equality and compensatory redistribution are passed (Vitez, 2011). Any cases of previous discrimination must also be rectified to ensure that similar mistakes do not take place in the future. This will however be determined by the nature of the problem being addressed.
Any possible barriers that may prevent the people with fewer resources from accessing an essential service must be eliminated. Such barriers include access fees to certain services. Such barriers tend to open the door for those with higher resources while blocking access for those with fewer resources.
In case there must be access fee, this should only be in less important services and should be proportionate. While formulating the redistribution policies, it is necessary for the public administrators to consider the rule of law. The policies must also be directed in such a way that they promote maximum utilization of the available resources.
Promoting Equity in the Process of Providing Services
The public administrators also have a responsibility of promoting quality services to all the people. The process of providing services must be designed in such a way that it promotes equality in terms of quality in distribution of services. For instance, certain groups should not be given better services than the others. Discriminatory allocation will only contribute to increasing the gap among the people in the society. The administration of the services must reflect acceptable standards. This should be reflected in all groups in the community.
The intended outcome in this case is to realize equal level of outcome among different people in terms of economic and social conditions (Svara and James, 2004). It also seeks to eliminate the differences between the less disadvantaged and richer individuals in the society.
The public administrators must also consider the importance of individual’s behaviors on the outcomes and how they may impact or pose constraints on certain areas. This can clearly be demonstrated through the case of education. Poverty levels can significantly affect the level of performance in students. Students from the poor families are more likely to perform poorly than those from families with more resources.
It is the role of the public administrators to carry out the appropriate investigations to determine the causes of various disparities among the people. This will help them in coming up with appropriate measures in order to overcome these differences. It is necessary for the public admionistrators to recognize the acceptable level of inequality and the degree to which it should intervene to rectify such inequalities (Vitez, 2011).
The policy making process is one of the most important aspects that have a significant role in permuting equity in any country. Every person or group of persons must be given an opportunity to give their views concerning the most appropriate public policies and the service delivery.
There must be appropriate efforts to involve all the citizens in policy formulation and also providing the feedback appropriately in order to promote equity in provision of social services.
Procedural fairness is one of the most important aspects of operations through which the public administrators can promote equity in the society. In order to achieve this, there must be due process. This ensures that every person is given an opportunity to access fairness and justice in all aspects.
It ensures that every person is given an opportunity to be heard and notified about the proceedings in any issue touching them. Procedural fairness also implies that all the people are exposed to equal human rights in spite of the differences in their personal characteristics. In case any deviations from these arrangements arise, then correction measures must be taken instantly.
It is also important to not that the world is dynamic in the social, economic, and political aspects. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the new and existing practices are re-examined to ensure that there is no any group that is denied procedural fairness.
Similarly, management as well as the service delivery must also be examined to ensure that every group of persons can easily access procedural fairness in the society. In case there is any behaviour detected to cause any form of unfairness, it is always advisable to take appropriate corrective measures to prevent any adverse impact in the society.
Progressive taxation is another way through which social equity can be promoted. Through taxation, the public policy makers can significantly affect the distribution of resources. Progressive taxation is a kind of taxation where the public administrators impose tax proportionally.
The government imposes relatively higher tax rate on the wealthy individuals in the society. The more the income one has the more tax they are supposed to pay to the government. This form of taxation plays a role of reducing the tax burden for the less disadvantaged people in the community. This taxation can significantly help in bridging the poor and the rich in the community.
Since the progressive tax increases as the level increases, it has a significant role in promoting equality in the society. It leaves the highest burden to the high income class in the community. Therefore, this kind of taxation can be of great significance in promoting equality in the society.
Through progressive taxation, income is shifted from the rich to the poor. This reduces the gap between the two groups hence promoting equality among the people. Progressive taxation protects the poor group in the society from tax burdens. In relation to this, it is proposed that the wealthier people should pay more for the services provided by the government. This will promote equity in the society by shifting income from the rich to the poor.
From this discussion, it is clear that social equity is of great importance to the society. However, recent statistics indicates that the gap among the people is enlarging with time. It is therefore necessary to come up with the necessary measures that can promote equality in the society.
There are several ways through which the public administrators can increase the level of equality in the community. In order to realize equity effectively in the community, there is need to teach the issues of equity and diversity management to the public administrators.
Despite the adverse effects impacted by inequality on the society, very few people are aware of the increasing level of inequity among the people in the society. There is need to have campaigns on the adverse impacts that inequality can have on the society. People must be able to access statistics demonstrating how intensified the gap among the people has prevailed in the society.
Such kind of sensitization is of great importance in promoting understanding of the inequality issues in the society. The political parties must also be committed at formulation of the policies that can have a significant impact of reducing inequality among the people. This ensures that there are minimal differences among the rich and the poor in the society.
Significance of Promoting Social Equity
In many countries of the world, the issue of the social equality is highly upheld by many stakeholders. However, achieving this has been one of the major challenges in many nations. The idea that all men were created equally has contributed in reduction of the differences between the rich and the poor (Gutierrez, 2003).
In order to understand the importance of the social equality, it is always necessary to have a connection between the living standards and the well being in a particular society. Social equity promotes the standards of living and the well being in the society.
As already noted, social equity promotes the wealth in a country. When the level of health and development in a certain country is high, then the average level of the living standards of the citizens increases significantly. Consequently, this leads to the improvement in life expectancy levels.
The people are also generally happy because the level of disparities is high. However, it is important that the level of happiness will increase up to a particular point.
After a certain level of average income, there will be no marginal increase in well being or happiness as a result of an increase in the level of income (Rosenbloom and Carroll, 1990). This is because the importance of the material things on the well being reduces as the level of income increases. At this point, the main factor necessary is the psychological influences that affect the level of happiness.
Previous studies have indicated that there are a number of social evils associated with inequality (Blas and Kurup, 2010). For instance, there is a higher rate of imprisonment and more violence in the countries where there is high level of inequalities. As noted previously, inequalities lead to an increase in differences between the people in society.
This increases the level of poverty among the people because the resources will be ending on the hands of marginal people in the society while the majorities are left in poverty. When the level of poverty in the society is high, the rate of crime tends to be high (Gooden and Meyers, 2004). Past research has also revealed that the rate of teenage births is high in the countries where there are high levels of inequality (Accius, 2008).
Similarly, this is as a result of poverty. Most poor parents are unable to educate their children and therefore they are forced to drop out of school at a very young age. Consequently, they are forced to get married at a very early age. Due to poverty, teenagers may engage themselves in sexual activities as a way of earning a living. This may also lead to high rates of teenager birth.
Social equity also promotes the social mobility. This implies that it is easier for the poor to move out of poverty in a country where there is equity. On the other hand, there is no social mobility in economies where there is no equity in distribution of resources.
The level of well being is relatively higher in the countries where there is a high level of equity. This is because the living standards are higher and every family is able to access at least the basic goods. Therefore, there is low likelihood of starvation or malnutrition. Psychological problems are also minimal since people do not suffer from extreme poverty.
Consequently, there is high life expectancy. Child mortality is also minimal in countries where there is a higher level of equity. By promoting equality in the country, the administrators are able to deal with the increasing differences between the ideal and reality of equality. This helps in reducing the gap between the rich and the poor.
It is necessary to consider equity in all aspects of the society’s operations. It is also important to ensure that equity is practiced in all activities in which the members of the society are engaged in. For instance, there is need to have equity in the treatment of all the people from different races. In connection to this, the top management is required to ensure equity at all levels.
From the above discussion, it is evident that the public administrators have a significant role to play in promoting equality in the society. They have the responsibility of formulation of the policies that leads to reduction of the gap between those with more resources and those with fewer resources. This is because inequity has an impact of increasing disparities in the society. Equity can be maximized by reducing discrimination in provision of the public services and facilities as well as the employment opportunities.
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