According to the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), “social equity — a key pillar of public administration alongside the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness — addresses fairness, justice, and equity within a variety of public contexts.” Even though there has been some advancement in extending opportunities to more people, there is much left to be done to address discrimination, marginalization, and economic and social disparities.

The role of public administrators is to implement programs that assist the public and their needs. With a Master of Public Administration online or a Master of Public Administration with a specialization in Nonprofit Administration online from Barry University, you can lead, implement change, transform lives, and generate solutions to a variety of social problems.

Social equity in public administration involves dedication to just and unbiased application of public services and policies to even the most vulnerable and at-risk members of our society. If you’re interested in making a difference in your community and advancing social equity in our society, an advanced degree in public administration may be right for you.

Steps to Ensure Social Equity

Good public administrators are focused on advancing the greater good and creating inclusive communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted wealth inequality, health care disparities based on race and income, a lack of quality childcare, and housing discrimination. Unemployment rates for women are high, people with disabilities are at a greater risk for illness without equitable access to healthcare, and safe working conditions increasingly depend on socio-economic status.

How can public administrators advance social equity in their communities? Here are a few ways public administrators can engage communities to produce positive, equitable outcomes for citizens of all backgrounds:

  • Local legislation has a powerful impact on who has access to the economic and social conditions that create health. Unfortunately, many policies still maintain significant gender and racial disparities in healthcare, public transportation, childcare, internet access, jobs, education, and more. Instead of focusing on the surface issues, public administrators need to recognize and call out the root problems of the current policies and work to change them to create an equitable difference in their communities.
  • Local governments and public administrators are responsible for equitably engaging the public when crafting laws, policies, plans, budgets, and directives. Unfortunately, this rarely happens, and more policies and practices continue to maintain and compound the health and social inequities that currently exist. An inclusive and equitable community ensures that even the most marginalized have a say in resolutions that affect their lives.
  • Public administrators are involved in many areas of public service, not just administration. One significant part of their job is advocating for those who need it. Communicating and deliberating with community members is critical to developing equitable and worthwhile solutions for everyone. Avoiding one-way communication patterns and focusing on creative ways to engage and encourage participation with the community will result in more meaningful, robust, and active engagement.
  • When current laws and policies perpetuate existing inequality and inequity, public administrators need to actively dismantle them. Public administrators can disassemble these structures through avenues that are readily available: via policy changes, fiscal reorganization, organizational shifts, and practice modifications.

How a Degree from Barry University Can Help

Earning a Master of Public Administration or a Master of Public Administration with a specialization in Nonprofit Administration online will prepare you for a career in ethical public service. As a student in these online programs, you’ll learn how to apply your knowledge to achieve a leadership position in public or nonprofit organizations, apply methods and techniques to evaluate public programs and policies, impact social change in your local community, and maximize social equity for everyone — including the most at-risk members.

Learn more about Barry University’s Master of Public Administration online program or Master of Public Administration with a Specialization in Nonprofit Administration online program


National Academy of Public Administration: Foster Social Equity

Independent Sector: Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Matter