Equality and Diversity is about promoting equal opportunities and celebrating people’s differences. It’s really important that schools, youth clubs and workplaces work towards creating at an environment where everyone feels comfortable and is included because people perform better when they feel safe and can be themselves.
In recent years there have been a number of acts of parliament to try to ensure that everyone is treated equally, these include:
- The Race Relations Act
- The Equal Pay Act
- The Sex Discrimination Act
- The Employment Equality Act
In 2010 the Equality Act was passed which brought together all existing equality laws and acts such as the Disability Discrimination Act, Equal Pay Act and the Race Relations Act 2000. This law also includes something called “protected characteristics” which makes it unlawful to discriminate against anyone who may consider themselves to be included in the protected characteristics list. Protected characteristics covers gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnerships, and being pregnant or having children.
Many organisations have equal opportunities policies that demonstrate their commitment to prevent discrimination and provide equal opportunities for employment for all members of the community.
It is important to consider your rights in relation to equal opportunities when you are considering a career or a job, many people are now employed in jobs that were traditionally thought of as only suitable for men or women. Women can be car mechanics and men can be midwives.
You can get details of opportunities for all types of careers from your local careers office and on Careers Wales. Stonewall, the leading Charity for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans* people also work with a host of Proud Employers who are LGBT+ friendly.
Discrimination and Hate Crime
Unfortunately, discrimination does occur against people who are different. The UK Equality Act 2010 made it illegal for people to discriminate against a person based on their actual or perceived:
- gender identity (trans*)
- marital status (single or married)
- being pregnant or being on maternity leave
- race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
- religion, belief, or lack of religion/belief
- sex (male/female)
- Sexual Orientation (being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, etc)
If you identify with one of these Protected Characteristics then you are protected from discrimination:
- at work
- in education
- as a consumer
- when using public services
- when buying or renting property
- as a member or guest of a private club or association
You are legally protected from discrimination by the Equality Act 2010. You are also protected if:
- You are associated with someone who has a protected characteristic, eg a family member or friend has a protected characteristic
- You have complained about discrimination or supported someone else’s claim
In some cases discrimination against a person with a Protected Characteristic can be considered a Hate Crime, which is a crime committed because of a person’s age, religion, race, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, sex, pregnancy or marital status.
It’s important that you report a Hate Crime, whether it happened to you or someone you know. There are many agencies that can help you with this:
- You can report Hate Crime online at Report-it
- Stop Hate UK – contains information and dedicated helplines for general Hate Crime, Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Hate Crime, Learning Disability Hate Crime, and Transgender Hate Crime.
As always, if it is an emergency then please contact 999 or call 101 in a non-emergency.