Lancaster University

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Review of Equality Statistics

10/24/2008 16:42:25

How unequal is Britain today? Lancaster University researchers have produced a research report for the new Equality and Human Rights Commission that reviews measures that can be used to map the extent of inequalities in the UK.

The authors of the report are Professor Sylvia Walby OBE who is the UNESCO Chair in Gender Research, Dr Jo Armstrong from the Department of Sociology and Dr Les Humphreys at the Centre for Applied Statistics.

This statistics review will be used by the EHRC in the preparation of its triennial report on the state of equality, human rights and good relations in Britain. The first triennial report will be published in 2010 and repeated every three years, so it will be possible to see how inequalities are changing over time.

Prof Walby said: “The review we are publishing today will help to make visible inequalities that are currently invisible because of the way the information is collected – for example, conviction rates for domestic violence are very low but this is buried within the official statistics.”

The report addresses not only the general issues of poverty and social exclusion, but more precise aspects of inequality relevant to specific groups of people; how inequality varies by gender, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation and religion or belief. For example, there are pay gaps not only between men and women, but also between ethnic groups; women are more likely than men to live in poverty, as are minority ethnic groups; there are differences in the infant mortality rate by social class as well as by ethnicity.

The report reviews the hundreds of equality statistics and indicators available on sex, ethnicity/race, disability, religion or belief, age, sexual orientation, and social class, and makes recommendations as to which ones are the most important indicators of inequality in Britain today.

It goes beyond the usual focus on employment to include the ten domains of equality identified in the 2007 Equalities Review.

It proposes a range of indicators that could ‘headline’ issues within these domains: infant mortality; the number of incidents of intimate partner violence against women; the percentage of criminal incidents that are racially motivated hate crime; general health; percentage of adults with degrees; GSCE achievement on leaving school; household poverty; pay gaps; occupational segregation; independent living; representation in Parliament and Councils; discrimination in employment and in accessing public services; fairness of the criminal justice system including race disproportionality and conviction rates for rape and domestic violence.

The report is available at: