October has seen two interesting pieces of research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The first looks at the state of equality and human rights 2018.
- living standards
- justice and security
- participation in society
It provides a complete picture of people’s life chances in Britain today.
The chapter on work is interesting reading. The report highlights that the disability pay gap persists, with disabled people earning less per hour on average than non-disabled people. Disabled people are more likely to be in low-pay occupations and this likelihood has increased. Disabled people’s employment rate is also well below that of non-disabled people and they are more likely to be unemployed, in insecure employment, or economically inactive than non-disabled people.
You can read the full report here.
The second report is a national barometer of prejudice and discrimination in Britain. This found that three quarters of people in Britain agree that there should be equality for all, but veiled prejudice and negative attitudes towards others are still prevalent in our society. It found that despite three-quarters (74%) of people agreeing that there should be equality for all groups, 42% of Britons have experienced some form of prejudice in the last 12 months.
Discrimination was seen to vary in seriousness depending on which protected group it related to: 70% saw prejudice on the basis of race as a somewhat, very or extremely serious issue, but only 44% thought the same about age-related prejudice.
The survey also highlighted the existence of more subtle forms of prejudice, such as patronising attitudes or stereotyping. For example only 25% rated physically impaired people as capable and 34% viewed them with pity.
Attitudes towards mental health also presented a complicated picture. Nearly two thirds suggested that efforts to provide equal opportunities for those with mental health conditions had ‘not gone far enough’ (63%), but a quarter expressed discomfort with having a person with a mental health condition as their boss (25%) or as a potential family member (29%).
David Isaac, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:
‘It is encouraging that so many people agree that equality should be for everyone, but it’s disappointing that a number of others believe that protections have gone too far for certain groups. It’s very clear that some people are still conflicted about equality and that prejudices still risk fostering discrimination in Britain.
‘Understanding people’s attitudes and the extent of prejudice in all its forms is key to unlocking the barriers that may hold many people back. This report sets out a workable model that we believe the government should build on to understand the current state of prejudice and discrimination in Britain.
‘One person’s gain does not mean that others lose out. If everyone gets a fair chance in life, we all thrive.’