MINELRES: EC Non-Discrimination news: 30 April 2007

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Sat May 5 19:29:47 2007

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For Diversity - Against Discrimination 

30th April 2007

Rome conference on positive action

‘What role for positive action?’ was the question posed at a conference
of the same title in Rome on 23-24 April. The European Commission
organised the event in cooperation with the Italian Department of Rights
and Equal Opportunities. Over 120 participants represented a wide range
of roles and sectors including public authorities, universities, trade
unions, legal services, employers, equality bodies, police forces and
health services. 

The legal landscape was at the centre of the debate. The European Court
of Justice’s rulings on positive action for gender equality were
highlighted. While the 2000 Equality Directives (covering other
discrimination grounds) allow for rather than demand positive action,
many delegates felt that such measures are a duty in light of the
evident inequalities in society.

One of the main concerns was the lack of data and statistical indicators
in the field of non-discrimination. Studies are needed to develop a
better understanding of how and when to use positive action. Crucially,
it was felt, we need to be able to go beyond measuring efforts in terms
of projects and investment and evaluate in terms of impact and outcomes.

The conference included workshops focusing on positive action in
employment and in other sectors such as education, healthcare and
policing. The workshops highlighted a number of examples of positive
action in practice in these areas.

A full conference report and speakers’ presentations will be posted on
the anti-discrimination website in May.

For further information

Positive action in practice

‘Putting Equality into Practice’, the European Commission’s annual
thematic brochure on non-discrimination, also focuses on positive

In the opening section, Professor Mark Bell highlights the lack of
consensus on what ‘positive action’ and similar terms relate to.
Professor Marc De Vos looks at the European Communities law provisions
and practice.

Part 2 gives some perspectives from the use of positive action measures
in an employment context. Articles focus on selection and recruitment,
positive action in law enforcement and how public procurement can play a
role to promote positive action and make discrimination cost.

Part 3 considers the scope of positive action in some sectors outside
employment, in education, healthcare and politics. Articles call for a
holistic approach to education policy, equality of outcome in healthcare
and better representation of women in decision-making posts.  

The final section looks at the future of positive action – what is
needed to make a success of positive action, the pressing concern of
data collection and a perspective on legal duties to promote equality.

‘Putting Equality into Practice’ is available in English, French, German
and Italian. Translations in other languages will follow in the coming
weeks. Find the brochure on the anti-discrimination website -
or request free printed copies at: empl-antidiscrimination@ec.europa.eu.

Download ‘Putting Equality into Practice’ (PDF)

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