Social equality is a state of affairs in which all people within a specific society or isolated group have the same status in certain respects. At the very least, social equality includesequal rights under the law, such as security, voting rights, freedom of speech and assembly, property rights, and equal access to social goods and services. However, it also includes concepts of health equity, economic equality and other social securities. It also includes equal opportunities and obligations, and so involves the whole of society.
Social equality requires the absence of legally enforced social class or caste boundaries and the absence of discrimination motivated by an inalienable part of a person's identity.For example, sex, gender, race, age, sexual orientation, origin, caste or class, income or property, language, religion, convictions, opinions, health or disability must not result in unequal treatment under the law and should not reduce opportunities unjustifiably.
Social equality refers to social, rather than economic, or income equality. "Equal opportunities" is interpreted as being judged by ability, which is compatible with a free-market economy. A problem is horizontal inequality, the inequality of two persons of same origin and ability.
In complexity economics, it has been found that horizontal inequality arises in complex systems, and thus equality may be unattainable. It has been speculated by some conservatives like David Horowitz that socialism, a system advocating social equality, played a significant part in 20th Century murder and torture under dictators in the USSR, Maoist China and Cambodia.
Equality and diversity is a term used in the United Kingdom to define and champion equality, diversity and human rights as defining values of society. It promotes equality of opportunity for all, giving every individual the chance to achieve their potential, free from prejudice and discrimination.
UK legislation requires public authorities to promote equality in everything that they do, also making sure that other organisations meet their legal duties to promote equality while also doing so themselves.
In the UK under the Equality Act 2010 there are certain legal requirements under existing legislation to promote equality in the areas of nine protected characteristics. These are often collectively referred to as the general duties to promote equality.
New rules aimed at banning discrimination by employers, covering areas such as age, disability and pay, have come into force across Britain.
The Equality Act covers many workplace areas and draws nine separate pieces of legislation into a single Act.
Equalities Minister Theresa May says it will now be easier for firms to comply with anti-discrimination rules.
However, some business groups argued the new legislation will impose a heavy burden on employers.
The new laws apply in England, Wales and Scotland, but not Northern Ireland.