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Home >> Equinet Activities >> Working Groups

Equinet Working Groups

January 15th 2018


Overview

The Working Groups play a key role in the implementation of the Strategic Plan and Annual Work Plans of Equinet. The brief for each working group is set out in this Strategic Plan. The working groups are made up of staff drawn from the member organisations of Equinet.

The effective operation of the working groups is the responsibility of the moderator and working group participants, supported by the Secretariat. The activities to be implemented by the working groups are detailed in the Annual Work Plan of Equinet. Moderators of the working groups in cooperation with the Secretariat propose an annual work plan to the Board. This plan will specify objectives, activities, timelines, budgets and outputs for the working group. This is discussed and developed as necessary by the Board and presented for approval by the Annual General Meeting as part of the Annual Work Plan of Equinet.

The Executive Board, Secretariat and working group moderators ensure that the work plans identify and exploit possible synergies between working groups and that any duplication or incoherence is avoided.

The Secretariat reports on a regular basis to the Executive Board on the activities and overall progress of the working groups. The Secretariat communicates any decisions of the Executive Board made on the basis of these reports to the moderators.

Moderator: leads and guides the activities of the working group. The moderator is a member of staff of one of the member bodies and is appointed by the Board with the agreement of that member body; except for the Policy Formation Working Group where the moderator will be a member of the Board. The moderator has the appropriate skills to lead the group and to engage effectively with the issues that fall within the brief of the working group.

Working Group Members (Participants): Individual with the appropriate skills and knowledge to shape and implement the activities of a working group. Member equality bodies have the discretion to appoint suitable participants to contribute as active members of a given working group.

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Policy Formation

The working group Policy Formation is Equinet’s primary platform enabling a constructive dialogue with EU institutions; a dialogue that supports policy formation at EU level to effectively promote equality, value diversity and tackle discrimination. The working group supports the dialogue between Equinet and the EU institutions through the preparation of Equinet perspectives. These perspectives seek to inform current policy development within the EU institutions in the area of equality and non-discrimination and to contribute an equality dimension to policy being developed on other issues. Equinet perspectives are fact-based, developed from the work and experience of national equality bodies at Member State level.

Current moderator: Petr Polák, Office of the Public Defender of Rights, Czech Republic

Focus in 2018

  • Discuss and produce a Perspective on equality bodies addressing hate speech, including racist and sexist hate speech. The Perspective will build on the work and experience of equality bodies in this area.
  • Discuss and produce an output on a European topic and priority of relevance to be agreed with the Executive Board and Working Group members.
  • Support dissemination, follow-up and use of previously published outputs of the Working Group, including the Factsheet on equality bodies contributing to the List of Actions by the European Commission to advance LGBTI equality and the Perspective on the links between equality bodies and ombudspersons (due for release by end February 2018).

Focus in 2017

  • Discuss and contribute to the preparation of the conference Integration of migrants and refugees in Europe: the contribution of equality bodies, taking into account their experience at national level and the findings of the internal survey conducted by Equinet in 2016.
  • Discuss and produce a Factsheet on the List of Actions by the European Commission to advance LGBTI equality, taking into account their experience at national level and the learnings from the 2013 Equinet Perspective Equality Bodies promoting Equality and Non-Discrimination for LGBTI People.
  • Discuss and produce a report/perspective on a European topic and priority of relevance to be agreed with the Executive Board and Working Group members.
  • Support dissemination, follow-up and use of previously published Equinet publications, including on the work done by equality bodies on intersectionality from a gender equality perspective and on discrimination against youth people.


Outputs:

Equality Law

The working group Equality Law in Practice is Equinet’s permanent platform for legal staff of equality bodies to exchange experience, share expertise and work to improve the level of legal protection from discrimination across the EU. The working group focuses on the interpretation of complex legal problems and a comparative analysis of EU and national legislation and jurisprudence in the field of equality and anti-discrimination law.

Moderator: Veronika Bazalova, Office of the Public Defender of Rights, Czech Republic

Focus in 2018

  • Discuss recent national and international case law on age discrimination, including the legal work of equality bodies on this ground. The discussions will have a specific focus on the question of retirement age and the related CJEU jurisprudence, but will also address other fields of life, such as goods and services, social protection and healthcare. Discussions will touch upon the role of other grounds intersecting with age as appropriate. Based on these discussions the Working Group will produce a report on age discrimination that will also inform the Equinet seminar on age discrimination.
  • Monitor cases communicated by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) to identify those that are directly relevant for equality and non-discrimination and the work of equality bodies. The Working Group will also contribute to preparing any third party interventions to the ECtHR on cases of high relevance relating to equality and non-discrimination.
  • Contribute to the preparation and organization of Equinet conferences and seminars with a legal focus.
  • Provide a platform for case workers of equality bodies to request information and advice from each other relating to specific cases.
  • Support dissemination, follow-up and use of previously published outputs of the Working Group, including the Discussion paper on Fighting Discrimination on the Ground of Race and Ethnic Origin and the report on freedom of religion and belief and religious discrimination (due for release by end February 2018).

Focus in 2017

  • Discuss recent national and international case law on discrimination on the basis of religion and belief, including the legal work of equality bodies on this ground. The discussions will cover religious and faith-based discrimination in all fields of life. Based on these discussions the Working Group will produce an update to its report ‘A question of faith? Religion and belief in Europe’ published in 2011.
  • Discuss the Equinet Handbook on ‘How to build a case on equal pay’, its content, and possibilities for its further use.
  • Monitor cases communicated by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) to identify those that are directly relevant for equality and non-discrimination and the work of equality bodies. The Working Group will also contribute to preparing any third party interventions to the ECtHR on cases of high relevance relating to equality and non-discrimination.
  • Contribute to the preparation and organization of Equinet conferences and seminars with a legal focus.
  • Provide a platform for case workers of equality bodies to request information and advice from each other relating to specific cases.


Outputs:

Gender Equality

The working group Gender Equality is Equinet’s permanent platform for staff members of equality bodies working on gender equality. The working group reflects on and seeks to identify good practices to tackle current challenges in the field of gender equality both at national and European level. Contributing experiences from the ground through publications, oral and other written interventions, the working group aims to improve the effective promotion of gender equality and to combat gender discrimination.

Current moderators: Katarzyna Wilkolaska-Zuromska, Commissioner for Human Rights, Poland and Nathalie Schlenzka, Federal Anti-discrimination Agency, Germany

Focus in 2018

  • Discuss the proposed Work-Life Balance Directive and its implications for equality bodies.
  • Support the preparation of the seminar on dismissal protection for parents and carers, including pregnancy and motherhood related discrimination in the field of employment.
  • Discuss recent development in the field of trans* rights, which is characterized by a changing legal landscape. Working group members will map challenges and share good practices on how to address these in cooperation with external partners for the purposes of capacity building during one of the working group meetings in 2018. The bridging function of trans* rights, straddling both gender equality and LGBTI rights, will be addressed.
  • Support the discussions of the Policy Formation Working Group on hate speech by addressing sexist hate speech as a specific form of hate speech, mapping its characteristics and prevalence and considering intersecting forms of vulnerability to hate speech.
  • Ensure gender mainstreaming in the regular work and activities of Equinet.
  • Support dissemination, follow-up and use of previously published outputs of the Working Group, including the Handbook on Equal Pay and the report on Gender Equality in Education.

Focus in 2017

  • Publish a report on Gender Equality in Education, following the seminar on the same topic conducted in 2016 (due for release in coming months).
  • Outline the experiences of equality bodies in combating discrimination in the workplace, and contribute to the preparation and organization of the Seminar ‘Breaking the glass ceiling: career progress and promotion patterns experienced by women.’
  • Prepare and conduct a training on How to Build a Case on Equal Pay, using the handbook prepared in 2016
  • Participate in and contribute to the project on Combating Violence Against Women.


Outputs:


Communication Strategies and Practices

The Working Group on Communication Strategies and Practices is Equinet’s permanent platform for staff members of equality bodies working on communication. The working group is mandated to explore how national equality bodies can share information on and enhance their strategic approach to values-based communication and build capacity in this area. The working group reflects on and seeks to identify good practices to tackle current communication challenges in the field of equality/non-discrimination both at national and European level.

Current moderator: Katrine Gaustad Pettersen from the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud, Norway

Focus in 2018

  • Organise thematic meetings on topical communication challenges that are presented by an expert (internal or external depending on the topic). The group will get to ask questions, identify the values-based messages and work together to develop responses to the challenges.
  • Following on from work that we did in 2017 on values and combating online negativity, the Working Group will have a practical session on how to combat hate through positive narratives.
  • Support the organisation of the Seminar on Hate Speech from the point of view of Equality Bodies
  • Develop recommendations on how to set the agenda on equality and non-discrimination during campaigning periods in the run up to elections.

Focus in 2017

  • Organise thematic meetings on topical communication challenges that are presented by an expert (internal or external depending on the topic). The group will get to ask questions, identify the values-based messages and work together to develop responses to the challenges.
  • Contribute to the development of a Communication Toolkit on Valuing Equality. Following on from the 2012 report on Valuing Equality, the WG members will work together with experts who will undertake in-depth research into the framing of the actual communications that equality bodies use. The final objective is to develop an accessible toolkit for communicators in equality bodies for analysing and designing their own communications with values in mind. This aims to give organisations a set of practical tools that can be adapted to their own contexts, and examples of best practice.
  • Support preparation for a second training session on Social Media for Equality bodies with practical examples.
  • Continue to develop the Project Library (formerly known as Media Library) internally and externally so as to provide members with concrete examples of how to develop communication actions, as well as promoting the members’ actions to a wider audience.

Outputs:

Strategy Development

The working group Strategy Development, running until the end of 2014, was Equinet’s platform for staff members of equality bodies concerned with strategic issues and interested in exchanging experiences and expertise. It aimed to contribute to the effective implementation of equality bodies’ mandates through analysing and evaluating the most strategic use of the diverse powers available to equality bodies.

Outputs: