Back Equality data key to countering systemic discrimination in Europe

Strasbourg, France 29 June 2023
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Equality data key to countering systemic discrimination in Europe

Addressing and preventing systemic discrimination in all areas – in policy making, programme design, service delivery and employment – is only possible when based on sound equality data, stresses the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Anti-Discrimination, Diversity and Inclusion, in the new manual on equality data collection and analysis published today, prepared by its Committee of Experts on intercultural integration of migrants.

Systemic discrimination encompasses the procedures, routines and organisational culture of any organisation that contribute to less favourable outcomes for minority groups than for the majority of the population. We come across it in employment, income, education, health, housing, culture, policing, public infrastructure, and beyond; it can be seen at all levels of governance: national, regional, and local.

Such discrimination is not an immediately visible issue and is rarely a result of specific intent. Yet, it drives entrenched and inter-generational disadvantage and inequality for many groups in society, such as women, racialised groups[1], migrants and refugees, LGBTI persons, persons with disabilities, older persons, young persons and persons with particular religious beliefs.

Systemic discrimination is difficult to identify and establish. Collecting and analysing equality data, i.e. any information, quantitative of qualitative, useful for the purposes of describing the state of equality, - is an indispensable part of the process. Equality data can capture the situation, the identity, experiences of inequality of specific groups. The principles of dignity, participation, comprehensiveness and effectiveness should underlie any collection and analysis of such data.

The new training manual focussing on the role of data collection and proper analysis in enabling effective action on systemic discrimination, targets decision-makers and those responsible for data collection and management at all levels of government, as well as representatives of public policy institutions, statistical and research institutions, official statutory statistical bodies, academia, and civil society organisations.

[1] See: ECRI Opinion on the Concept of Racialisation, adopted at ECRI’s 87th plenary meeting on 8 December 2021 - “”racialisation” as the process of ascribing characteristics and attributes that are presented as innate to a group of concern to it and of constructing false social hierarchies in racial terms and associated exclusion and hostility. The use of the concept of “racialisation” has the potential to aid understanding of the processes underpinning racism and racial discrimination and to ensure that the voices of racialised groups are heard and taken into account”.

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