Reliable data is needed to ensure equality and actively fight discrimination. Data does this by measuring inequalities and allowing the development of positive solutions to inequality such as targeted social policies. Data also allows us monitor whether these measures work.
The Equality Data Initiative (EDI), initiated by the Open Society European Policy Institute, and implemented in collaboration with the Migration Policy Group further joined by the European Network Against Racism, aims to develop research on, and increase awareness of, the need for data regarding specific minority groups in the European Union (EU). Its ultimate goal is to enhance the measurability of (in)equality for groups at risk of discrimination. The EDI has six components including consultation with established experts, comparative policy-oriented research resulting in a report (see below), identification of, and consultation with, national stakeholders, national and EU targeted advocacy, and strategic litigation.
Inequality – social, economic, political – persists in Europe. New anti-discrimination directives (Racial Equality Directive and Employment Equality Directive) mean equality data and statistics are required to monitor their impact. Data collection is a key way to assess the practical implementation of these directives and find out if and how they are working.Country research focus
The project focuses on Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Romania and Sweden in the field of public education and on France in the field of public employment.Phase I – Open Society Foundations and the Migration Policy Group
A background comparative report developed by the Migration Policy Group examines proposals made by national experts regarding an operational definition of best practices for equality data collection in the seven countries that make up part of the project. It also presents the best options and methods for equality data collection related to race, ethnicity and disability for the purpose of monitoring equality in the field of public education and employment. The report provides an overview of possible windows for advocacy and litigation at national level as well as concrete policy recommendations in the selected member-states.
On 24-25 October 2013, the Open Society Foundations and the European Network Against Racism held a symposium on equality data collection in Brussels. The aim of the first EU symposium on equality data collection was to gather academics, statisticians, researchers, NGO representatives and national and EU officials to share their perspectives and work on equality data collection. The symposium included four workshops: “Towards an EU Framework on the collection of equality data”, “Advocating at the national level for the collection of equality data”, “NGO mobilization and communication strategies to advocate for the collection of data”, and “The role of statisticians and academics in advocating for the collection of equality data.” The workshops focused on the practical work of those organizations dealing with the issue as well as on identifying possible ways forward.Phase II – Open Society Foundations, the Migration Policy Group and the European Network Against Racism
It is crucial to operate at an EU member-state level to revive the debate on equality data collection and foster a change of attitudes among authorities and the public on this issue in light of the limited powers of the EU and international human rights institutions to enforce data collection obligations. Therefore, Open Society Foundations in cooperation with the Migration Policy Group and the European Network Against Racism has conducted seven stakeholder events in 2014, as a continuation of the first phase of the project, and identifying potential future actions.National stakeholder meetings
- Germany – 10-11-12 MARCH 2014
- Hungary – 24-25-26 MARCH 2014
- France – 14-15 APRIL 2014
- Sweden – 28-29-30 APRIL 2014
- Ireland – 21-22-23 JULY 2014
- Romania – 25-26-27 AUGUST 2014
- Bulgaria – 27-28-29 AUGUST 2014
On 26 November 2014, the Open Society Foundations, the Migration Policy Group and the European Network Against Racism held the second Equality Data Symposium in Brussels, with the main aim of launching the final report written by Isabelle Chopin, Lilla Farkas and Catharina Germaine of the Migration Policy Group for the Open Society Foundations: Ethnic origin and disability data collection in Europe: Measuring inequality – Combating discrimination. Lilla Farkas presented the main findings of the report to the participants: academics, statisticians, representatives of data protection authorities, equality bodies and of NGOs, as well as European and national officials.
 Isabelle Chopin, Lilla Farkas, and Catharina Germaine, Equality Data Initiative, Ethnic origin and disability data collection in Europe: Measuring inequality – Combating discrimination MPG for the Open Society Foundations, (November 2014).