Moving forward on equality data collection

This Thursday 25 January 2018 a new subgroup on equality data will meet for the first time. The subgroup was initiated by the High Level Group on Non-discrimination, Equality and Diversity with the objectives to facilitate the exchange of good practices in equality data collection. The subgroup will have an initial mandate of a year and will aim at drafting guidelines for member states to overcome their current challenges in the equality data collection process.

Equality data refers to anonymous data in relation to equality and discrimination collected for statistical and evidence purposes and excluding the identification of natural persons concerned. Such data contributes to the fight against discrimination and promotes equality by providing evidence of existing discrimination, making it transparent and quantifying it.

Member states are facing several challenges in respect to collecting equality data.:

  • uncertainties as to what type would be more useful to collect;
  • lack of a coherent, long-term approach to equality data collection;
  • lack of resources to support reliable equality data collection;
  • uncertainties regarding the interpretation of data protection legislation;
  • existing data are often not used to their full potential.
  • insufficient comparability of existing data, both within and between Member States;

This subgroup will provide space for relevant national authorities to share their experiences on collecting and processing equality data with a view to develop non-binding guidelines on equality data collection to be adopted by the High Level Group.

The Subgroup will be led together by the European Commission and the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), which is an important partner of the European Commission in the area of equality data.

In addtion, one of the articles of the second 2017 issue of the European Equality Law Review, tells about the collection of equality data in the EU by analysing the legal frameworks, practices and key issues arising in all EU Member States. This article was written by Katayoun Alidadi of the KU Leuven, University of Houston and the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology.