Highlights of the main Equinet activities planned to build capacity and peer support of equality bodies, as well as make a contribution to the European equality agenda, based on the 2016 Work Plan.
Providing and facilitating peer support and sharing expertise for the staff of equality bodies are key factors in effective capacity building, which is a constant priority for Equinet.
In 2016, there will be a number of seminars and other training opportunities for our members.
Seminars explore key issues and developments in the field of equality and non-discrimination at national and European levels with a view to support staff members of equality bodies to learn about, engage with, and develop expertise in these issues and developments. Seminars provide important opportunities for exchanges and networking between equality bodies and for peer learning and support between equality bodies.
Seminars are open to staff members of equality bodies responsible for or working on areas related to the seminar topic.
Equinet will organise a capacity-building seminar for staff members of equality bodies which will take stock of the experiences of equality bodies on reasonable accommodation and accessibility. The seminar will look at the definition and the legal framework for reasonable accommodation and accessibility, the cooperation with duty bearers and other strategies equality bodies could use to promote reasonable accommodation and accessibility. It will focus on the use of reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities and will possibly look into other grounds of discrimination such as religion and belief.
Equinet will organise a capacity-building seminar for staff members of equality bodies which will take stock of the work of equality bodies on gender equality and education. Topics could include the incorporation of gender equality training in education, the presence of sexism in school programmes, or the work to ensure equal treatment in education. The seminar will also explore possible ways in which equality bodies can promote gender equality in education.
Equinet will organise a capacity-building seminar for staff members of equality bodies that will take stock of the experiences of equality bodies on discrimination on the ground of race and ethnicity in various strands of their work. Among other topics the seminar will have sessions focusing specifically on legal work and on work done to combat discrimination against Roma people.
Training events for staff of equality bodies will provide participants with the opportunities to immerse themselves in a particular topic in a manner that develops and deepens specific skills and expertise. Participants are nominated by Equinet member organisations on the basis of their responsibilities or interests in the topic addressed by the training events.
Equinet will organise a training session that offers social media training for those working in communication. It will provide expert advice that improves social media use in general and give practical examples and evaluations of social media campaigns carried out by our members. The training session will also address how to deal with online hate speech on social media.
Equality bodies are on the front line in the work of promoting equality and combating discrimination across Europe. They have developed practical experience, learning and expertise in their implementation of equal treatment legislation in their country. As per the Equal Treatment Directives, they are empowered to contribute to policy formation at national level by making recommendations on the basis of their work. At a European level, the combined and diverse learning from the work of the various equality bodies has a valuable contribution to make to policies and work promoting equality and combating discrimination, as well as to the mainstreaming of non-discrimination and equality in all policy areas.
Conferences explore key issues and developments in the field of equal treatment at national and European levels. These high-level events provide opportunities for exchanges between equality bodies, EU institutions and other stakeholders. They raise the profile of Equinet and national equality bodies as expert institutions in the field of equal treatment.
Conferences are open to senior staff and experts of equality bodies and to representatives from European organisations and external stakeholders.
Equinet will organise a conference to discuss present achievements, gaps, challenges and solutions in the European legal and policy framework for equality and non-discrimination. Building on previous Equinet Perspectives and reports, the conference will bring together stakeholders and equality bodies to assess progress achieved and still to be made, with specific attention to the role of equality bodies in better regulation and implementation. The specific challenge of creating the conditions for equality bodies to fulfill their potential will be also discussed.
Equinet will organise a conference on the work of equality bodies supporting gender equality from an intersectional perspective. This Equinet conference will bring together all interested stakeholders to discuss the challenges of applying an intersectional approach to promoting equality. It will use the background paper on intersectionality with a focus on gender to be prepared by the Working Group Policy Formation as a basis for the discussions.
Equinet engages in meetings and high-level exchanges with relevant stakeholders with a view to fostering effective cooperation and promoting the network’s strategic priorities and the work of equality bodies. Equinet conveys and disseminates the shared learnings, positions and perspective of equality bodies on issues of relevance to European level policy makers and stakeholders.
Equinet has worked extensively on the situation of women in the labour market. It focused in particular on Work Life Balance, including by (1) hosting a Seminar on Work Life Balance and Pregnancy and Parenthood Related Discrimination in 2015, (2) publishing a Perspective on Equality Bodies Promoting a Better Work Life Balance for All in 2013, (3) focusing on work-life balance and pregnancy-related discrimination in the Perspective The Persistence of Discrimination, Harassment and Inequality for Women.
In parallel, the launch of the campaign #Worksforme by the EHRC illustrates the great need for equality bodies to take action in this area. In particular, the first findings of the research “Pregnancy and Maternity Related Discrimination and Disadvantage” shows that maternity and pregnancy discrimination are still widespread in Great-Britain.
Staff members of equality bodies will continue to meet within their working groups on communication strategies and practies, equality law, gender equality and policy formation throughout the year.
Equinet, together with member equality bodies will continue to participate in the thematic platformsthat have been set up together with the Council of Europe (CoE), the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). The topics covered by each platform are: