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Equal Rights: The Right to be Treated Equally

By: Liz Lennox - Updated: 30 Nov 2019 | comments*Discuss
Feminism Discrimination Equal Political

Many of us have heard talk of the fight for equal rights, be it as a result of discrimination by age, race, colour, creed or sex. From the suffragettes fighting for the right to vote to same sex couples being able to marry and benefit from the marital laws, equality is a principle that has been fought for through the courts, through pressure groups and through, sometimes violent, protest.

So What Does Equality Mean?

This all depends on your point of view. There are instances of inequality in every walk of life; from the heiress who receives less than her sibling to the immigrant worker who is not given the same pay, working benefits or working conditions as his citizen counterparts. It is a sad, if not popular, fact that those who think that equality exists, and therefore the fight for equality is redundant, probably have no need to worry about it.

From a legal and moral point of view, equality is each person receiving the same respect, treatment, opportunities and rights, irrespective of their sex, colour, country of birth, religion, political beliefs or sexual orientation. The principles of equality can be applied to every arena, from work to home life.


There have been a large number of far-ranging and notable equality movements that have left their mark in time. In the UK there is none still as recognised as the Feminist Movement, although the term ‘feminism’ is slightly anachronistic – it is now known as ‘equal rights for women’. Most people believe that the birth of feminism was the 1960s, with protests and campaigns for changes to the law that would give women the same status, rights and pay as men. In fact, the roots of feminism can be found as far back as the suffragette movement, if not further back in history.

Feminism, although its goal was the equality of women, paved the way for other civil rights movements; they showed the incumbent government that the people were not to be denied their political opinion. They dominated the news for years in their struggle for women to be recognised as equals.

The Human Rights Act

The Human Rights Act is by far the most far-reaching piece of legislation to legitimize the equal rights movement. Whilst no articles specifically refer to a definitive right for equality, there is for instance no section headed ‘Your Right to Equality’, the whole Act itself is written to promote fairness and equal civil rights under the law. The Act as a whole prohibits discrimination on any grounds. Every human being has the benefit of the civil rights imposed by the Act and every human being can take action if any of their rights are breached.

’Some are More Equal Than Others’

This is a favourite saying and essentially it means that we are still a long way from having true equality; our civil rights are in place but we are far from attaining a society where absolutely everyone is equal. There are still thousands and thousands of people who have to fight to receive what others deem to be a natural state of affairs. The one thing that no government can legislate for is the minds of the people; it is our right to have our own political opinions, religious beliefs and attitudes about certain things, but it is not our right to force our opinions on others and prevent them from exercising their right to equality.

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Hi I'm trying to find out how to get my ex partner who's dying and has months to live a right to get to see his daughters. I'm not getting any support and I know it's going to hurt him and them if they never see each other. Please let me know a way I can do something about this. At least one chance would be great.
Pino - 30-Nov-19 @ 6:28 PM
As a single person I have any rights to be served in a restaurant when they only do meals for two? Am I entitled to purchase half the quantity for half the price. If not is this discrimination against single people?
Jim - 17-Feb-16 @ 9:21 PM
@Charlie. We don't have any of your wife's personal details so cannot really help. But if you take her documents to the Citizen's Advice Bureau you may find that she is entitled to other support in view of being a carer etc.
AboutHumanRights - 16-Mar-15 @ 2:45 PM
Wife 72 years old only receives £80 pension per week.looked after our 49 year old daughter 24/7 severs brain damage from 3 months and a sever scoliosis government say she did not have a full insurance card with stamps on it.I think she should be on full pension. Please help with any advice.
charlie - 13-Mar-15 @ 4:21 PM
Loved this post. Made my day. Never going to be rude to anyone know. So hyped for the future. Tarrar for now. Buggy
buggy - 8-Oct-14 @ 2:47 PM
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