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Social Equality in Public Administration

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Adesanya Omoniyi ADEKOYA
June 21, 2016

Public administrators, by their training and the dictates of the practice, have helped to advance the course of an equitable, fair and just society. Contributing toward social equity has always been an integral part of public administration. All the institutions of public administration have been instrumental to the promotion and enhancement of equity in the society.

Despite the above, American society has experienced a consistent decline in equality among people in recent times. The gap between the classes of people grows wider on a daily basis. It is even more pathetic as the situation cuts across all areas of social, economic and political life. This is in variance with the thoughts and talks of social equality that, ironically, have engulfed the classrooms, the press, government policies and administrative guidelines.

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A symbol of justice for social equality. Source: Google

Social equity evolved in American public administrative systems through the search for a civil service that would be connected with popular opinions and maintain the ideals of a cultured and self-sufficient institution. Because the institution is saddled with the responsibility of implementing laws and policies, it struggles with the issues of fairness, justice and equality.

The issue of inequality is manifested through different forms in the society. These include disparity between the educated and non-educated; the citizens and the migrants; the rich and the poor; the adults and the juveniles; the men and the women; the whites and nonwhites; as well as dichotomies between and among professionals and religious faithfuls. At any given time, there is usually a cry of marginalization. The matter has even attracted the attention of the political class who use it as a tool for campaigns during election cycles. Inequality is a monster that is destroying society.

There are also instances whereby cases of criminal and violent attacks were linked with inequality in the society. Some suspected terrorists have claimed that their actions were inspired by perceived or real marginalization, or act of injustice, against them or their loved ones.

Some sociologists and social philosophers also connected inequality to poverty. They claimed that the prevalence of poverty in a society is due to the imbalance of wealth and resources. They further assert that poverty can be alleviated, or even completely eradicated, by getting rid of social dichotomies among the people and establishing policies and programs that reduce marginalization.

To entrench equality into the day-to-day life of society, public administration, especially at the local government level, must do more. Local governments must continuously mobilize, sensitize and educate the people in their domains about how to cohabit peacefully with people of different social classes, religious beliefs, among others. The local governments should also make sure that equal opportunities will be given to everybody in their jurisdiction in matters concerning appointments into positions, benefits from social services, promotion of civil rights, wealth creation and other areas where the people ought to benefit from the services of government. However, such actions should not be restricted to the local government. Other levels of government should also enhance social equality by enacting laws that promote fairness and social justice.

The judiciary, an important arm of public administration, should be active in the push for social equality. The institution should discharge its duties without fair nor favor in the defense of the less privileged and underprivileged. The institution is vital to making all the people equal before the law. In addition, law enforcement agencies should also protect all members of society.

The United States can strengthen its crusade for creating a just, fair and equitable society by effectively utilizing public administrative institutions. The future of the country will be greater and the American dream will be further advanced.


Author: Adesanya Omoniyi ADEKOYA, an administrator, economist, business advisor, politician, development activist and doctoral student of public policy analysis at Walden University, can be contacted via [email protected].

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The American Society for Public Administration is the largest and most prominent professional association for public administration. It is dedicated to advancing the art, science, teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration.

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