Dublin, 22 March 2018: Today, Equinet – European Network of Equality Bodies and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission are hosting the conference Poverty and discrimination: two sides of the same coin in Dublin.

Joined by keynote speaker David Stanton T.D., Irish Minister of State for Justice, experts representing the UN OHCHR, European Fundamental Rights Agency, European Committee of Social Rights, Eurofound, as well as national governmental and non-governmental organizations and equality bodies, we will discuss what can be done at EU and national levels to break the vicious cycle of poverty and social exclusion and make equality a reality for all in Europe.

Combating poverty is a key undertaking of the European Union. This is reflected in the European Pillar of Social Rights, and Europe 2020, the EU’s ten-year jobs and growth strategy. And crucially, one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations to which the European Union and all Member States committed is to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. According to Marianne Thyssen, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility: “Too many people in Europe cannot develop their full potential due to the vicious cycle between poverty and discrimination. The European Pillar of Social Rights guides our actions in combating poverty and social exclusion and promoting equal opportunities. Now that the Pillar has been endorsed by all Member States, concerted action at all levels of responsibility will be necessary to ensure that everyone can live a life in dignity.

As two closely linked and mutually reinforcing types of injustice, poverty and discrimination reflect different aspects of inequality. Inequality of resources and inequality of recognition both create barriers to participation in society and in the economy. “Poverty and discrimination, unfortunately, work together. That is why the fight against poverty and the fight for equality must go hand in hand,“ stresses Tena Šimonović Einwalter, Chair of the Equinet Executive Board and Deputy Ombudswoman of Croatia.

Despite this link, the policy responses to poverty and to discrimination continue to be fragmented and characterised by different strategies and approaches. National equality bodies have a particular contribution by infusing economic and social rights with an ambition for equality. Equality bodies that have a mandate to challenge discrimination and inequalities on the ground of socio-economic status are particularly well placed to make this contribution. Emily Logan Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) stayed: “Understanding poverty is complex, it is multi-dimensional and as today’s discussions explore, its direct link to discrimination is tangible, our shared destination is to enable a society where we see equality in practice – where people can reach their full potential, in all aspects of their lives.

The Poverty & Discrimination: two sides of the same coin conference aims to:
• Review the mutually reinforcing links between poverty and discrimination
• Take stock of recent initiatives introducing socio-economic status as a discrimination ground
• Explore the manner in which grounds such as race and gender intersect with poverty to result in aggravated forms of social exclusion
• Discuss what can be done at EU and national levels to break the vicious cycle of social exclusion

Equinet Media Contact

Tena Šimonović Einwalter, Chair of the Equinet Executive Board
T: +385 915 171317 /


  • Equinet, European Network of Equality Bodies, brings together 46 organizations from 34 European countries, which are empowered to counteract discrimination as national equality bodies across a range of grounds including age, disability, gender, race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, and sexual orientation. Equinet promotes equality in Europe by supporting and enabling the work of national equality bodies. It supports equality bodies to be independent and effective as valuable catalysts for more equal societies. More:
  • National equality bodies are independent organisations established on the basis of EU equal treatment directives – Directive 2000/43/EC (the so-called Race Directive), Directive 2004/113/EC (the so-called Gender Goods and Services Directive) and Directive 2006/54/EC (the so called Gender Recast Directive) – with a mandate to provide an independent assistance to victims of discrimination, conduct independent surveys concerning discrimination and publish independent reports and make recommendations on any issue relating to discrimination in their country. See Brochure for further details.
  • Access the Equinet opinion on ‘Addressing Poverty and Discrimination: Two Sides of the One Coin’ here.
  • Access the Equinet Perspective on “Equality Bodies Contributing to the Protection, Respect and Fulfilment of Economic and Social Rights” here.
  • Further details on the 22 March conference ‘Poverty & Discrimination: two sides of the same coin’, including speakers’ presentations and event photos, can be found here.

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