Data on (in)equality & discrimination in Belgium: results of the project ‘Improving equality data collection in Belgium’ (2021)
"Improving equality data collection in Belgium” (IEDCB) is a Belgian project co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) programme of the Directorate-General for Justice of the European Commission. It was realised thanks to a partnership between Unia and the Equal Opportunities Team of the Federal Public Service for Justice. The project aims to improve the collection and processing of equality data in Belgium.
What exactly is equality data?
Equality data is any piece of information that allows us to describe and analyse the state of equality or inequality in society. ‘Data’ is used as a general term and can refer to both quantitative and qualitative data. Such data can be collected from a number of data sources such as official data (census, administrative databases), household and individual surveys, victimisation surveys, complaints, discrimination testing, diversity monitoring and qualitative research.
First and foremost, Unia made an inventory of the existing equality data in Belgium. This online data hub is freely accessible and makes it possible to easily search data sources according to different criteria and domains. Try it yourself now!
This inventory was compiled thanks to input from civil society organisations and public institutions and through our own proactive research. This process is not yet complete: we are still looking for new sources, so please feel free to send us new data sources!
Final report with recommendations and closing conference
Together with this inventory, Unia published a report with insights and recommendations on the collection and processing of equality data. The report exposes several gaps in the Belgian equality data. For example, there is a lack of reliable figures on access to health care based on “racial” criteria. Moreover, too little data is collected on sexual orientation or religious and philosophical beliefs. We also note that there is a need for clearer information about the legislation regarding the processing of personal data. Finally, Unia recommends focusing on a coordinated approach to the collection and processing of equality data.
This report and the data hub were also the subject of a closing conference in June 2021. The recording of this conference can be found on Unia's YouTube channel.
Why is equality data important?
Equality data provides a clearer picture of reality and is therefore essential in the fight against discrimination and inequality. Accurate and complete data provides the foundation for identifying problems and addressing them through a policy based on facts, rather than intuition.
What data is it about?
For the IEDCB project, we made an inventory of existing equality data in Belgium for three groups of discrimination criteria:
- 'Racial' criteria: so-called ‘race’, skin colour, nationality, descent and national or ethnic origin;
- Philosophical or religious beliefs;
- Sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics.
We would like to thank the respondents to our survey, the experts we consulted and the members of the advisory committees who supervised this project. The data hub and report would not have been possible without their contributions and involvement.
This project was funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020). The content of this article represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.
Annual report 2020: vulnerable human rights in times of crisis
In this extraordinary year, Unia continued to fight for human rights and equality. The corona pandemic acted like a magnifying glass. Those already in a vulnerable position were often the first or hardest hit by Covid-19 or its measures.
Evaluation of federal anti-discrimination legislation (2017)
Article 52 of the Anti-Discrimination Law states that the application and effectiveness of the anti-discrimination laws must be assessed by the Legislative Chambers. Unia has prepared an assessment report on the Anti-Discrimination Law and the Anti-Racism Law based on its own practical experience, national jurisprudence and its general expertise in the fight against discrimination.
Annual report 2015. Living together put to the test.
The year 2015 left a deep mark on our society. Violent conflicts and tensions on a global scale have had a direct impact on us. As we finalise this annual report, Belgium is suffering the repercussions of the bomb attacks at Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station in Brussels.
Diversity Barometer Education (2018)
Unia commissioned a study to be carried out about equal opportunities in the schools in the three Communities in Belgium. The Diversity Barometer Education is the final part of a triptych. The first two parts were about Employment (2012) and Housing (2014).