One of the misconceptions in our society is that of equating equality with sameness. This error has been used and continues to be used for extremely destructive and malicious behaviours, for example thinking that everyone is the same, believing the same thing, living the same life and consequently exterminating anyone who is in any way different. In fact equality was never meant to mean sameness and the use of the concept of equality to force sameness is a gross abuse of the concept of equality
Equality means this: equal rights and equal opportunities. That is it. It doesn‘t mean that everyone has to live the same life. It does not mean that everyone has to dress the same way, think the same way, speak in the same tone of voice or believe the same errors. It doesn‘t mean that nobody can be distinct, or special, or eccentric, or different from people around them. To reiterate equality means: Equal rights, equal opportunities.
In its original intent, the idea of equality was meant to assist freedom by leveling the field for people who come from rougher backgrounds. But the idea of equality have been misused to sabotage freedom. If everyone is forced to be the same and live the same way, then there is no freedom. And misuse of the idea of equality to mean sameness has been used just to destroy freedom in the communities in which this misuse of the idea of equality is being practiced.
The same is the case for the idea of women‘s equality. Once again equality means: equal rights, equal opportunities, in this case between women and men. But many feminists have again misused the concept of equality to mean sameness. So they have been teaching women to act like the worst of men. In the process they have been training women to deny themselves the better qualities that are more natural to women than they are to men: qualities such as, tenderness, warmth, elegance and ability to produce as well as to nurture life. Instead, they have put women into a race to become the like men, denying them the right to qualities that are uniquely feminine or what is more natural to women than to men.
In both cases, we see a vast misunderstanding of the concept. Equality does not mean sameness; equality means equal rights. Equal rights benefit freedom, fairness, and human advancement by creating a fair field for everyone. Coercion towards sameness destroys personal freedom by forcing everyone to be the same, even as it undermines human advancement by destroying what is at the root of human advancement: namely innovation. Innovative minds think differently from what is thought around them thereby bringing in progress. The error of confusing equality with sameness is saboteurial to human society and undermines its best quality. And if a country is to live up to its promise of freedom, then this error must be confronted and overcome in every place that it exists.