We need to consider the difference between the ideas of formal equality and substantive equality. The principle of formal equality requires the equal treatment of equal cases, so it does not take into account any material differences between those being compared. In this approach, discrimination against men is as bad as discrimination against women and there is no difference in the approach to the two groups. It does, however, ignore the fact that women are much more discriminated against than men. This approach is reflected in the legal definition of direct discrimination (see p. 158). The principle of substantive equality takes into account the material differences between individuals or groups. This approach might be said to try to achieve de facto equality and thus will attempt to take into account the reality of women’s position, rather than apply some universal standard. For example, women are much more likely to have a caring role in the family and a substantive approach to equality will take this into account. The formal equality approach allows bad treatment of individuals or groups as long as everyone is treated equally badly whereas a substantive equality approach might try to correct the wrong.