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Home >> Equinet Activities >> Events >> Equinet Seminar - Tackling Age Discrimination against Young (...)

Equinet Seminar - Tackling Age Discrimination against Young People

July 6th 2018

Building Bridges between Equality Bodies & Youth Organisations

This one-and-a-half-day seminar was co-organized with the European Youth Forum (YFJ) and brought together national equality bodies working on issues related to equality and age/intersectional discrimination against young people and Youth Forum member organisations. The seminar was hosted by the Advocate of the Principle of Equality.

Background

Despite deepening inequalities of young people in relation to the right to education, high levels of unemployment, the wait for a first quality job and precarious forms of work, access to affordable housing, and mental health services, equal treatment legislation in the EU does not tend to define the ground of age or young people. International legal and policy frameworks, similarly, do not address the specific needs of young people, but rather consider them within wider human rights and anti-discrimination measures.

More so, EU equality law, obliging Member States to set up equality bodies to assist victims of discrimination, and promote equality, does so only in relation to grounds of gender and race or ethnic origin. In practice, the majority of equality bodies cover age discrimination, even if many report difficulties to prioritise these issues due to a lack of resources.

In the EU legislation, aged-based discrimination in particular is only addressed within the area of employment and vocational training, leaving young people exposed to discrimination and inequality in such crucial public spheres as education, provision of goods & services, including housing, social protection & healthcare, as well as social advantages. A solution to filling these legislative gaps, also through the long-halted EU Equal Treatment Directive (Horizontal Directive), is yet to be reached by EU policy-makers.

The particular difficulty of identifying and tackling age-based discrimination is often related to its deep rootedness in society, especially in reference to young people. At the same time, structural and institutional barriers hinder young people’s full participation in society and equal access to existing opportunities. The European Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) and the Youth Guarantee are some of the EU policies to remedy existing structural inequalities.

Within this context, and in the absence of strong and clear standards, equality bodies report low levels of casework on the age ground in general and, within this casework, very few cases in relation to young people. Range of work in supporting good practice for young people is also reportedly low. In general, issues of discrimination against and inequality of young people tend to have a medium to low focus for a majority of equality bodies, often due to limitations in their mandate, under-reporting and lack of casework, and limited data. This is coupled with a low level of awareness among young people regarding their rights, existing protective mechanisms, including equality bodies, which further diminishes the effectiveness of anti-discrimination and pro-equality work.

The strong acknowledgement of close(r) cooperation among equality bodies and young people and their organizations is shared between equality bodies and young people’s organizations, represented by Equinet and the European Youth Forum. Given this shared interest, and the challenges young people face specifically due to their age, there is still strong need for Equinet member equality bodies to build their capacity in the area and in cooperation with youth organisations for combating age-based discrimination, as well as intersectional discrimination against young people.

Seminar Objectives

The overall objectives of the seminar were to build capacity of national equality bodies and youth organisations to address inequality of and age discrimination against young people and to discuss ways to strengthen the cooperation of equality bodies with youth organisations.

In particular, the Seminar aimed to:

  • Help equality bodies with understanding and clarifying the main concepts related to inequality of and age discrimination against young people.
  • Build the capacity of youth organisations on key EU/international frameworks on anti-discrimination, and explore if, how and to what extent these cater to young people.
  • Provide Equality bodies with practical guidance on how to
    • Effectively communicate with young people and their organizations to raise awareness among young people about the anti-discrimination and pro-equality work of NEBs
    • Effectively communicate the need for addressing issues related to discrimination against and equality of young people to national policy-makers and bring tackling age- and intersectional discrimination against young people to the political agenda.
  • Bring together national equality bodies and youth organisations to:
    • Exchange experiences and discuss challenges in their work related to inequality of and age discrimination against young people
    • Explore possible ways of collaboration or strengthening of existing collaborations in order to better combat inequality of and age discrimination against young people
  • Provide equality bodies and youth organizations with practical guidance on how to address inequality of and age discrimination against young persons from a legal, policy and communication perspective.

Agenda

AGENDA
AGENDA


  (Click to enlarge picture)

OVERVIEW OF SEMINAR SESSIONS

Opening and welcome

Getting to know one another

  • ’Speed dating’

Overview of existing anti-discrimination frameworks: EU and international levels

Youth discrimination and inequality – what’s the deal?

Youth discrimination and inequality – how can we deal with it?

  • Group Work on Case Studies

Communicating equality & non-discrimination to young people and through youth organisations

Building bridges: youth organisations and Equality Bodies working together

Closing & evaluation

SEMINAR OUTCOMES

Guidelines for cooperation between Equality Bodies and Youth Organisations

Photos

Seminar: Tackling Age Discrimination against Young People - Building Bridges between Equality Bodies & Youth Organisations, 27-28 June, Ljubliana

RELEVANT PUBLICATIONS

Equality Bodies combating discrimination against and promoting equality for young people (2016)
Equality Bodies combating discrimination against and promoting equality for young people (2016)


The summary and accessible version of the Perspective can be found here.

OTHER

While in Ljubljana for the Seminar, Equinet Board Member, Finnish Non-Discrimination Ombuds Kirsi Pimiä, spoke to the local press to explain the importance of tackling age discrimination against young people, standards for equality bodies and what those standards imply for the Slovenian Advocate of the Principle of Equality. The text of the interview (in Slovenian) is available here.

For further information on the content, please contact Mher Hakobyan:
mher.hakobyan@equineteurope.org