Report ‘Improving Equality Data Collection in Belgium II‘ - disability, state of health, physical characteristics

Unia has conducted a second study on equality data collection in Belgium. This time the project focused on the criteria disability, health status, and physical characteristics. 

Unia mapped the existing sources of equality data covering these criteria. Unia also consulted key stakeholders in order to better understand their data needs. Thanks to the information gathered through the inventory of sources and the encounters with stakeholders, Unia has identified gaps in the existing data and formulated recommendations. 

    What are equality data?   

    The term ‘equality data’ refers to any data that is useful for the purposes of describing and analyzing the state of equality or inequality in society.  

    In other words, it refers to data that can be used to capture discrimination and inequality in society. Such data may be available, for example, in the form of a report on the participation of persons with disabilities in elections.   

    Equality data can take different forms: data from a census or from surveys, administrative data, results of discrimination testing, complaints data, results of diversity monitoring, or results from qualitative research. 

    All sources of equality data that are mapped by Unia are added to the equality data hub (which as of now includes the criteria disability, health status, and physical characteristics).   

    Why is this study important?   

    Equality data are crucial to making progress in the fight against discrimination. These data allow us to track trends in equality and inequality in society. This makes it possible to better understand discrimination, create awareness and make hidden forms of discrimination visible. 

    The mapping of equality data for the criteria of disability, health status and physical characteristics has revealed gaps that now need to be filled. Therefore, Unia has formulated a number of recommendations to further improve data related to these criteria. 

    What are the recommendations based on this study?  

    1. Additional data collection is required to produce the data that are now lacking (see the “gaps” section of the report). 
    2. Thorough consideration must be given to how the criterion of disability is measured. Appropriate questions must be asked in specific contexts, depending on the objectives to be achieved. 
    3. Data should be collected on discrimination based on physical characteristics, since very little data exist on this topic. When doing so, it is important to use appropriate terms, for example with regard to fat phobia, to avoid confusion and stigmatization.  
    4. Research methods should be adapted to reach specific groups and ensure that they are represented in data samples (e.g., persons living in institutions). 
    5. Research should be conducted in a participatory manner so that involved groups have a say in matters that directly affect them (“nothing about us without us”). 
    6. Data should be made publicly and readily available as much as possible so that others can use it in their work. 
    7. The data that are already available should be used much more extensively in the development and evaluation of policies.  

    For more information, please consult the report (a version in English will be made available on this page by August 2024).