Equinet’s latest publication Compendium of Good Practices on Equality Mainstreaming: The Use of Equality Duties and Equality Impact Assessments highlights the importance and effectiveness of equality mainstreaming. This is based on the expertise of national equality bodies and their experience with equality duties and equality impact assessments.
Without taking equality into account, no policy can be comprehensive. From transport to education, health to digital policies, equality concerns have to be placed at the heart of decision-making. With equality at the heart of our policies, the potential for institutional systems to discriminate is diminished. In the current context of health, economic and environmental challenges, it is especially important that equality is taken into consideration for tackling the challenges the EU is facing. To build fairer societies, equality is a necessity, not a luxury.
An essential development in this regard is the European Commission’s recent decision to set up a Task Force on Equality, specifically tasked to mainstream equality in all EU policies. A further step, beyond mainstreaming equality in the public sector, could be to ensure that equality considerations are also taken into account by private actors such as employers and service providers.
Equality bodies have built up considerable experience and expertise in promoting equality mainstreaming which can be used to inform policymaking, both at European and national level. In 2021 Equinet established the Cluster on Equality Mainstreaming to discuss and increase the use of equality duties and equality impact assessments, exchange good practices, and to raise the recognition of equality bodies as experts on mainstreaming equality. The first year of the Cluster’s work has resulted in two main outputs:
In 2022, the Cluster will focus on the role of equality bodies in supporting equality planning by public authorities and private sector actors to inform and generate discussions with, and action by, policymakers at EU and Member State level.