Equality data is defined as any piece of information that is useful for the purposes of describing and analysing the state of equality. Across the EU, many Member States are improving their equality data to help policymakers combat discrimination and challenge prejudices. With the support of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, the Subgroup on Equality Data developed an online compendium of nearly 40 practices from 15 countries on the collection and use of equality data. The compendium illustrates how the 11 guidelines on improving the collection and use of equality data can be put into practice.
What are the guidelines for equality data collection and use?
The guidelines describe a number of concrete institutional and operational steps that EU Member States can take to enhance the collection and use of equality data. They suggest how to improve the availability and quality of the data and how to promote their effective use in developing evidence-based equality and non-discrimination policies and monitoring their effective implementation.
The guidelines are as follows:
- Map existing sources of equality data and identify data gaps
- Foster inter-institutional cooperation in the collection and use of equality data
- Set up a data hub on equality and non-discrimination
- Build institutional capacity to collect robust and reliable equality data
- Facilitate effective use of equality data
- Ensure comprehensiveness of equality data
- Mainstream equality data into EU and national surveys
- Ensure regular and timely equality data collection
- Enhance validity and reliability of equality data
- Ensure representativeness of equality data
- Improve comparability of equality data
Equality bodies pioneering best practices.
Equality bodies have a unique insight into discrimination issues within their country and have often developed particularly efficient ways to collect equality data and use them to advance a more equal society. For that reason, their work regarding equality data is highlighted in the compendium of practices. Here are some examples of best practices by equality bodies:
- In 2015, the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency of Germany (FADA) introduced two new questions into the innovation sample of the national Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). It asked respondents whether they have experienced discrimination within the last two years and, if yes, the frequency of discrimination experienced in different areas of life. The same year, it surveyed people affected by discrimination for an in-depth analysis of discrimination experiences. To enhance the validity and reliability of the survey, its design included possibilities for self-identification of respondents. In 2018, FADA published a study on the status of equality data in 20 large-scale, representative surveys in Germany.
- The British Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has conducted a representative survey that measures discrimination experiences of groups with protected characteristics and explores attitudes of the general public towards discrimination and equality issues in Britain. EHRC also launched the “Is Britain Fairer?” triennial report which reviews the country’s performance on equality and human rights. This national report facilitates the effective use of equality data by drawing key evidence from a wide range of sources dealing with all grounds of discrimination under the Equality Act.
- Since 2009, the Croatian Office of the Ombudsman regularly surveys public attitudes and perceptions of discrimination and inequality on all 17 protected characteristics set out in the Croatian Anti-Discrimination Act across various areas of life.
- The Norwegian Ministry of Children and Equality has set up a forum on equality data bringing together key data generators, such as Statistics Norway, and data users such as selected Ministries, agencies and the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud.
- Since 2012, Unia regularly releases diversity barometers to support evidence-based policies tackling discrimination and inequalities. Drawing on a range of data sources, the different editions of the barometer picture the state of equality in three key areas of life: employment in 2012, housing in 2014 and education in 2018.