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660



Rights to Realities – The International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

 

This August, CRER will be reporting to the United Nations that, despite 41 years of commitment, BME people continue to face barriers in employment, political participation and accessing services such as health care . This discrimination is not inevitable, and with your support we can demonstrate to the UN how racial equality can be achieved in Scotland.

On 21st December 1965 the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) was adopted and opened for signature by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. It entered into force on 4 January 1969, which was ten years after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus, four years after the Race Relations Act 1965 and 28 years before the official ‘end ’ of the British Empire.

Today the Convention has 88 signatories and 177 parties from across the world. ICERD requires state parties to submit a periodic report every few years on how they have complied with their ICERD obligations and then examines the states parties on their submissions, usually every four or five years; this is known as the examination process.

As well as the government report, civil society organisations (CSOs) and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) are encouraged to submit reports on the government’s report. These can provide important alternative information to the Committee.

Later this summer CRER and other anti-racism organisations throughout the UK will be submitting comprehensive evidence that on-going systematic discrimination of Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups continues in our country.

The importance of human rights conventions in tackling inequality cannot be underplayed. With more and more organisations and Governments  taking a ‘rights-based approach’ to policy, human rights are no longer abstract ideas confined to committees in Europe. They have become the minimum standards that every citizen expects from each other, but most importantly they have protected marginalised groups from their own Governments.

At the last set of UK hearings, in 2011, the UN recommended that the UK State “develop and adopt a detailed action plan, with targets and monitoring procedures, in consultation with minority and ethnic groups, for tackling race inequality.” On 21st March, the Scottish Government did just that when they launched the Race Equality Framework for Scotland 2016-2030. Yet this is not the time to be complacent.

The Framework was an excellent example of how the Scottish Government worked with partners, BME communities, academics and civic society to set out their ambitions for tackling racism in Scotland. It will not be achieved without continued commitment and resources from all that helped to shape it. Making a strong representation to ICERD is one way to keep the pressure on and ensure the Framework delivers on its promises to minority ethnic communities.

Working with the Runnymede Trust, CRER has helped to publish key evidence of where discrimination still exists within Scotland which we will present to the UN this August. Further to this, we have set out our ambitions for how the rights of BME people can be further protected, enhanced and ultimately – realised every day.

In order for this to happen we need your support.

Runnymede has now incorporated our Scottish evidence and specific recommendations in a UK-wide NGO Shadow Report which will be presented to the UN Committee. We ask that your organisation now support this shadow report to display the shared commitment that we all have to achieving racial equality in Scotland.

The UK NGO Shadow Report to CERD and further information on how your organisation can support it can be found here: http://www.runnymedetrust.org/projects-and-publications/europe/cerd.html

Further details on the ICERD and the UN Committee on Eliminating Racial Discrimination can be found here: http://www.runnymedetrust.org/uploads/From%20local%20voices%20to%20global%20audience.%202015..pdf


A copy of the CRER's Scotland-specific Alternative Report as submitted for the 2011 UK hearings can be downloaded here. We are planning to present an updated Scotland specific alternative report for the 2016 hearings and this will be published on our website in July 2016.

Lesley Warren

CRER

 

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527

Three urgent equality requests from the Scottish Government at the beginning of the new parliamentary term

 

The 2011-2016 term of the Scottish Parliament saw significant strides forward for equality, including the introduction of the Scottish-specific public sector equality duty, passage of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014, the lowering of the voting age in the independence referendum and Scottish elections to 16, the development of the Equally Safe strategy, and the publication of the Race Equality Framework for Scotland. Ahead of the recent election, most Scottish political parties made commitments to equality in their manifestos, with some stronger and more specific than others.

However, despite promises and precedent, we know that making continuing progress on equality is a long and difficult process which requires considerable political will. As such, CRER has written today to the First Minister with three urgent requests to push forward the equality agenda in the new parliamentary term.

 

A Dedicated Minister for Equality

CRER believes there is merit in creating a ministerial post focused solely on equality, rather than including it as part of a wider remit or portfolio. Much more practical work remains to be done to promote equality for all those who face discrimination. The task of successfully implementing initiatives and strategies and of creating additional legislation and schemes needed to address issues for many equality groups is significant and expansive and deserves a dedicated focus.

Social justice and equality work are not the same. The former is largely concerned with income inequality and poverty, whereas equality seeks to address the prejudice and discrimination (both personal and institutional) faced by individuals because of who they are. These agendas are certainly related, but should not be conflated. With plans to progress the Fairer Scotland Action Plan and to introduce a socio-economic duty for public sector bodies, the Scottish Government would benefit from separating these two agendas to ensure each area of policy receives specific focus and expertise to effectively tackle inequality for all.

Furthermore, appointing a government minister to focus specifically on equality would send a strong message to the equality sector and to community members affected by equality issues that the Scottish Government values its commitment to equality and intends to keep it as a key priority area in the coming years.

 

Equality Impact Assessment of the Programme for Government

As legislation passes through the Scottish Parliament, it must undergo an Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) to ensure that it does not have a negative impact on groups with protected characteristics, to determine if there is a differential impact on any one group in particular, and to highlight opportunities to promote equality that may have been missed.

Given this, CRER asked the First Minister to ensure that the upcoming programme for government itself be assessed prior to its announcement in the Scottish Parliament. Significant consideration must be given to the aims and potential effects of legislation and initiatives on equality. Performing an EqIA on the programme for government would offer a strategic method to identify the impact of these commitments and demonstrate that the Scottish Government is being conscientious and considered about equality.

 

Dedicated Resources for the Race Equality Framework for Scotland

The recently published Race Equality Framework for Scotland 2016-2030 made several promises to improve racial equality across a variety of sectors including education, employment, health, housing, justice, and participation. Given the fifteen year life of the Framework, CRER is mindful that the pledges made to communities require sustained resourcing and commitment to be successful in the long-term. It is exceptionally important that the Scottish Government recognises this and sets aside the resources needed to successfully implement the Framework in the coming years. Without this, it will fail to achieve the results promised and minority ethnic communities will continue to face racial discrimination and inequality.

At the start of the new parliamentary session, it is important that the equality sector and community groups hold MSPs and the Scottish Government to account for their commitments to equality. Fulfilling these three requests would go a long way to demonstrate that equality will remain high on the agenda in the term ahead.

 

Published: 12th May

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738

Race equality in 2016 party manifestos

Author Dorothea Brande once said, “A problem clearly stated is a problem half solved.”

In the case of tackling racial inequality in Scotland, several political parties are neither interested in stating the problem nor developing policies to solve it, at least according to their 2016 election manifestos.

The problem is that minority ethnic groups in Scotland are disadvantaged and discriminated against in a range of measures. 28% of Scots feel that there is sometimes a good reason to be prejudiced against certain groups, while 21% of those from non-white minority ethnic groups reported experiencing discrimination compared to only 6% of their white counterparts. 4,807 racist incidents occurred in Scotland in 2013/2014 and racist hate crime continues to be the most commonly reported hate crime in Scotland. Minority ethnic groups are under-represented in Scottish politics, with 1-2% of MPs, MSPs, and councillors from a non-white minority ethnic background, compared to 4% of the population. Those from non-white minority ethnic groups are underemployed at a much higher rate than those from white ethnic groups and the poverty rate for all minority ethnic groups is twice that of the white British poverty rate, despite minority ethnic children out-performing white ethnic pupils in school. Clearly, something is wrong in Scottish society.

Despite this, not every party standing candidates for election even mentioned racial equality in their manifestos, let alone set out ways to challenge and overcome this inequality.

Commendation must be given to the parties that not only stated the problem, but also offered solutions. The Scottish Green Party highlighted the issue of racial discrimination both for UK-born individuals and for refugees and first-generation migrants, and addressed issues including hate crime, education, political representation and participation, employment, poverty, and cultural diversity. They were also one of two parties who committed to the implementation of the Race Equality Framework for Scotland, alongside the Scottish National Party.

The Scottish Labour Party however have stated in their manifesto that they would consult with communities and publish a strategy to break down barriers faced by minority ethnic people. There is no mention of the (recently launched) Race Equality Framework for Scotland which compiled a huge database of information through public consultations. Likewise they state the many ways in which they wish to tackle inequality in education and employment, but make no mention of black and minority ethnic people and the specific barriers they face, or of the evidence that the Scottish Parliamentary inquiry published on race and employment.

The Scottish Labour party also published a BME-specific manifesto in addition to a disabilities, an LGBTI, and a women’s manifesto. While the BME manifesto was not well publicised, it addressed topics including opportunity, public life and representation, the economy, justice and health.

RISE: Scotland’s Left Alliance dedicated a section of their manifesto to “anti-racism” and stated that they are an anti-racist organisation with a “zero-tolerance policy towards racism.” Their manifesto highlighted policies to improve Scotland’s awareness of racial inequality (both historical and modern), address institutional racism, end racist hiring practices, improve political representation for minority ethnic groups, and tackle racist policing.

The Scottish National Party pledged to appoint a Race Framework Advisor to implement a range of actions to tackle existing inequalities in minority ethnic communities in line with the Race Equality Framework for Scotland. The only other race-specific policy detailed in the party’s manifesto addressed increasing minority ethnic representation in Modern Apprenticeships. The manifesto addresses wider equality issues and states that teachers will be expected to undertake equality training to address prejudice-based bullying, police officers will receive appropriate training to investigate hate crimes, and public authorities will be required to gather diversity information to use it to inform employment practices.

Other parties mentioned racial equality, but this was alongside other equality areas and did not offer policies particular to tackling racism and discrimination. The Women’s Equality Party noted that women experience additional inequalities due to ethnicity, alongside other characteristics such as sexuality, gender identity, and class. Their manifesto highlighted issues of poverty, violence, hate crime, political representation, and media representation with the effect of these issues on BME women detailed alongside the effect on disabled women, LGBT+ people, and disabled people.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats asserted that there should be equal opportunity for everyone regardless of their race, sexuality, gender, religion, disability. One policy in particular applies to minority ethnic people – forming a stakeholder group to propose new ways to tackle the barriers to equal representation in senior roles in the police and education services.

However, the Scottish Conservative and UKIP did not address racism, racial equality, or issues facing minority ethnic groups in their manifestos.

While much progress has been made since the 2011 manifestos (when a vast majority of parties did not mention racial equality or racism at all), there is still much work to be done to convince parties that racial equality must be a policy priority.

Before politicians can put forward policies to tackle racial inequality, they must be willing to talk about it. For several parties, the 2016 manifestos were a missed opportunity to do just that.

NB: Please note, this blog was updated on 9th May 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What impact will your manifesto really have on equality?

Rebecca Marek - December 2015

Equality is an ideal often spoken about in Scottish politics, with most political parties espousing equality in their rhetoric and advocating the advancement of equality, the elimination of discrimination, and the development of a fairer Scotland for all.

However, we know that in practice, this is not always the case. Manifesto commitments, political proposals, government policies, and legislation at times leaves groups with protected characteristics disadvantaged, acknowledges the needs of one equality group while overlooking the needs of others, or misses opportunities to progress a wider equality agenda.

And so, as we approach the 2016 Holyrood Elections, CRER is asking all political parties in Scotland to consider undertaking a (voluntary) Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) of their manifestos.

An EqIA is a systematic approach to examining the aims and outcomes of policy proposals to anticipate the likely impact of the proposals on people from all protected characteristics. It identifies who the proposals will benefit, determines whether there is any negative impact on groups with protected characteristics, and analyses whether is there is a disparate impact on any one group in particular. 

CRER believes that if achieving equality is a priority for political parties during the term of the next Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government, significant consideration must be given to the aims and possible effects of manifesto proposals. Undertaking an EqIA would assist political parties in identifying the impact of their proposals on groups with protected characteristics, and demonstrate that parties are being conscientious and intentional about equality.

It’s not enough for parties to incorporate the word “equality” into their manifesto, nor is it enough to address one type of equality and ignore the rest. It’s also not enough to have a manifesto section on equality, when other sections include proposals that will likely lead to further inequality. Rather, the principle of equality should be mainstreamed throughout manifestos, and proposals should be assessed before they become commitments of the next government and parliament. 

If parties want to prove that they are serious about achieving equality – not just speaking about equality – this is a good place to start. Equality in Scotland, after all, has to matter past 5th May 2016. Why not demonstrate that commitment now? 

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Tagged in: CRER Equalities
1252

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Do you know who’s coming to the party?          

Political parties and ethnicity monitoring

Rebecca Marek  - December 2015

Recently, the Scottish Government held a roundtable discussion to address the lack of diversity and representation in public life and to consider ways to increase the participation of under-represented groups in elected office. As far as we understand, no representatives of political parties were invited, which is unfortunate, given that responsibility for ensuring equal participation of BME communities within party politics lies largely with parties themselves.

Equal representation is essential to racial equality, but before there can be equal representation, there must be active participation in politics, and therefore, active members in political parties.

As part of ongoing research to inform the Scottish Government's Race Equality Framework, CRER contacted the party offices of the Scottish National Party, the Scottish Labour Party, the Scottish Conservatives and Unionists, the Scottish Liberal Democrats, and the Scottish Green Party to enquire about ethnic demographics of their membership.

Four of the parties do not keep data on the ethnicity of their membership, with one party stating that the information was deemed “not important to collect.” One party had recently begun monitoring the diversity of its membership at a UK-wide level, but did not yet have data available.

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3303

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'I don’t want to make a fuss, I just want to ignore it.’
 

Everyday Racism
by Zandra Yeaman

Recent news has once again highlighted the issues of racism in Scotland and has led to some Facebook friends having to use their click power to unfriend people they have decided are racist.

The fear of being called racist has put many on the defensive. But as a colleague of mine pointed out, ‘being called “racist” is not an insult. It’s an adjective to describe something which prioritises the importance and value of one ethnic group’s identity, appearance, culture or way of life over others. It’s the assumption that your cultural viewpoint is the right way, the best way – everything else is an anomaly, to be tolerated at best and eradicated at worst.’ (http://www.crer.org.uk/crerblog?start=20)

Most people seem to think of racism in its extreme forms of a white person physically attacking a black person, or in overt forms such as a banana being thrown at a black footballer. However every day racism not only includes these forms of oppression but also racist practice that goes unnoticed but is nonetheless still felt strongly by Black Minority Ethnic (BME) people on a daily basis.

Despite BME people living with the anticipation that racial discrimination can (even will) happen, and this in itself is stressful, what is usually forgotten is that most BME people are not overly sensitive to racial discrimination; in fact many are reluctant to label behaviour as racist before giving the situation serious consideration.  No one wants to feel humiliated because of who they are or because of the colour of their skin.

Let’s pause for a moment and consider some examples of what everyday racism looks like:

Politicians make discriminatory statements such as ‘British jobs for British workers’;

Daily Mail cartoon depicting black people in the jungle along with a headline “‘Am I Black?’ asks Tom Jones”.

Teachers sharing Britain First posts with racist sentiments with their classes;

White people rolling their eyes at yet another challenge to their racist joke (and then complaining ‘you can’t say anything these days without the fear of being accused as racist’);

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A Crisis of Racism and Refugees
Colin Clark

"So, I think it's got a lot to do with racism. I think if these people were white, European… that [they] were coming from some dictatorship in Bosnia or somewhere… I think we would feel quite differently about it.” – Emma Thompson, BBC Newsnight, 02-09-15

​Choosing her words rather carefully, the actress Emma Thompson eloquently summarised what is surely a glaring truth regarding the current situation across the Mediterranean - this is as much a crisis of racism as it is a crisis of refugees. Indeed, the shocking images we have seen on the front pages of our newspapers, and on our television screens, in the last few days is a political crisis of failed Governmental responses to human mobility in the face of persecution. Further, this failed response to events in Syria - as well as countries such as Afghanistan and Eritrea - is explicitly built upon the foundations of a sedentary, ‘othering: a peculiarly European typology of racism.
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3974


Culture, Confidence and Community – the new European Roma Institute (ERI)

A guest blog by Professor Colin Clark

On March 26th George Soros, founder and chairman of the Open Society Foundations, and Thorbjørn Jagland, secretary-general of the Council of Europe published a co-authored article entitled ‘Why we are setting up a European Roma Institute’ (Soros and Jagland, 2015).

Although less than 700 words in length, this European Voice article contains the foundations and promise of a symbolic and actual paradigm shift for up to 12 million Romani lives and livelihoods. The authors point out that although at the heart of Europe, the diffuse Romani communities spread across the territory have been denied an institution that can strategically and sensitively convey and represent heterogeneous issues of Romani culture, identity and politics.

The time has now come, argue Soros and Jagland, to change this reality: social exclusion and economic deprivation must transform into meaningful opportunity and material outcomes across areas of art, politics, music, life. The European Roma Institute, they suggest, is the vehicle to deliver this. At heart, this is the radical and fundamental paradigm shift that has been a long time coming in Romani Studies. The promise must now become reality.

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3305

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Glasgow is part of the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism, and as part of this coalition people in Glasgow are being asked to contribute their experiences to help shape a travelling play that will tour Europe.

If you have experienced discrimination, you can tell your story online at www.discriminations.eu. The organisers (the City of Liège and ECCAR) are looking for examples of all kinds of discrimination, whether related to race, disability, sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation or religion and belief.

Selected stories will be used to develop the play at the Conservatory of Music and Theatre in Liège.

Please share this information with friends, colleagues and communities so we can ensure Glasgow is well represented alongside our fellow ECCAR cities in this exciting project.

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Girls on Film

Glasgow Girls is a specially commissioned musical drama for BBC Three and BBC Scotland that tells the inspirational true story of a group of schoolgirls whose petition to save their friend from deportation inspired a movement which would eventually help change immigration practices in Scotland and garnering them the Scottish Campaign of the Year award in 2005.

Come and see the film and also have the chance to meet the real Glasgow Girls.

Date: Friday 24th of October 2014 at 6pm

There will be free refreshments provided.

Venue: Debates Chamber (Level 6), University of Strathclyde Students’ Association, 90 John Street, Glasgow G1 1JH

More info: Roza Salih, 0141 567 5028, ussa.vpda@strath.ac.uk

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Black History Month is an opportunity to mark the struggles and successes of Black people in the past and present; issues which may have been forgotten about or are absent from our history books and the education system.

In Scotland, it has been celebrated since 2001. Here, Black History Month has encompassed the history of African, Caribbean and Asian people in this country; people who often have a direct link with Scotland through slavery or colonialism. It is a time to acknowledge the contributions, sacrifices and achievements that have been made which inspire us, but also a time to remember, and take the opportunity to apply the lessons of the past to build upon our future.

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For the first time, detailed information on stop and search at a local level has been made available through Police Scotland’s
Local Policing Management Information reports. Carol Young explores what this data tells us about race equality in stop and search.

Institutional racism in stop and search has long been seen as one area where England and Scotland diverge in terms of race equality. Inequalities are well evidenced south of the border, with people from Black communities six times more likely to be stopped and searched in England and Wales in 2010.

In Scotland, stop and search is generally more prevalent than it is in England and Wales. This may be at least partly due to differences in legal powers, with non-statutory[1] stop and search being prohibited in England and Wales since 2003. Looking at Police Scotland’s preferred measure of stop and search, the rate per 10,000 people, stop and search rates are almost seven times higher in Scotland than in England and Wales (1,285 stop and searches per 10,000 people compared to 180). Comparing the two areas with the highest rate of stop and search, Cleveland in England recorded 570 stop and searches per 10,000 people, whereas Glasgow in Scotland recorded 3,712. These are the latest comparable figures, for 2012/13.[2] More recent figures for Scotland from Police Scotland’s Management Information 2013/14 show a slight drop, to 1,206 per 10,000.

Despite the relative prevalence of stop and search, to date national statistics have suggested that stop and search has little impact on race equality in Scotland. According to Police Scotland, over 2013/14 “95.9% of stop and searches recorded were conducted on persons of white ethnicity which is very close to the proportion of ethnic white people in the Scottish population in the 2011 Scottish Census (96%).” This is as far as that report’s overview of stop and search by ethnicity goes. Although statistical tables give more detail, the written analysis of race equality is purely about white communities.

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Tagged in: CRER Equalities Policing
15374

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(left to right: Robert Brown (Lib Dems), Jatin Haria (CRER), Gary Dunion (Greens),
Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh (SNP), Colin Clark (Chair), Jennifer Glinski (CRER), David Coburn (UKIP), Asim Kham (Labour)


With only two months left till the European Parliament (EP) elections, CRER decided to host an informative session and a political hustings surrounding all things European Parliament. Our goal was to provide people with more insight, information and knowledge of the EP and its functions but also present people with an opportunity to hear from the Scottish European Parliament candidates directly.

The informative afternoon session was led by Mr Per Johansson, the Head of the European Parliament Office in Edinburgh, who provided the audience with an overview of the European Parliament and the upcoming elections. Mr Johansson highlighted the differences between the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and the European Commission and the powers of each institution. He then focused on the legislative power of the EP and how the decisions made affect the everyday lives of everyone in Europe.

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"I call on all people, especially political, civic and religious leaders, to strongly condemn messages and ideas based on racism, racial superiority or hatred as well as those that incite racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

  

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on the 21st March to commemorate the day in 1960 where police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa. The official day was proclaimed six years later by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in a call to the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. 

The 21st of March this year, marks the first celebration of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination since the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela. President Mandela’s legacy is particularly relevant to the 21st March celebrations due to his historic struggle against apartheid and the victory over racist forces in South Africa. 

This year the UN has decided to honour the courageous struggle of an extraordinary leader in the fight against racism and chosen “The Role of Leaders in Combatting Racism and Racial Discrimination” as the 2014 theme for International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 

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10945

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Over 50% of Premier League and Football League footballers have either witnessed or been subjected to racist abuse in football stadiums according to a consultation undertaken by Kick It Out.

The consultation, carried out between August 2013 and December 2013, was completed confidentially and anonymously by 200 current professional footballers (32% black and minority ethnic) from across the Premier League (15%) and Football League (85%).

Sent to every Premier League and Football League club, the consultation saw players answering a wide range of questions on discrimination in football, and the effectiveness of Kick It Out. The results revealed: 

  • 57% of players have witnessed, and 24% have been subjected to, racist abuse in football stadiums. 7% of players have been subjected to, and 20% have witnessed, racist abuse on the training ground or in the dressing room.
  • 39% of players have witnessed, and 3% subjected to, homophobic abuse in football stadiums. 7% of players have been subjected to, and 26% have witnessed, homophobic abuse on the training ground or in the dressing room.
  • 92% of players thought fan on player discrimination was common or extremely common. 80% felt fan on fan was common or extremely common. 50% thought player on player discrimination was extremely rare or rare. 39% thought player on player discrimination was common or extremely common.
  • 69% of players felt that, due to their profession, they are more exposed to abuse, with 91% agreeing that social media has led to an increase in them receiving discriminatory abuse. They felt these platforms must be policed and monitored more effectively.
  • 65% of players are aware of reporting procedures and are comfortable informing either the Premier League or Football League, the PFA, their club, agent and Kick It Out. They feel The FA and Police should have quicker and more consistent responses with harsher penalties for both fans and players. They also believe that there should be better education for fans who are found guilty.
  • 52% of players agreed that there was an issue around the lack of black and minority ethnic managers and coaches. 62% felt mandatory shortlisting should be in place for black and minority ethnic candidates applying for non-playing jobs in football. 70% believed there should be greater transparency around the recruitment of managers and coaches, and how appointments are made.
  • 86% of players agreed there needs to be an anti-discrimination campaign in football, with 89% saying that they will support future Kick It Out initiatives and events.
  • 92% felt Kick It Out has been effective in raising awareness of racism in football, and 71% agreed the campaign has been effective in tackling the issue. 67% felt Kick It Out has been effective in raising awareness of other issues of discrimination in football, and 55% agreed the campaign has been effective in tackling the issues.
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Tagged in: Equalities News Racism
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Following the lead of Harvard students, a group of Oxford University Black and Minority Ethnic students launched “I, too, am Oxford

The group explained that their project was “inspired by the recent ‘I, too, am Harvard’ initiative. The Harvard project resonated with a sense of communal disaffection that students of colour at Oxford have with the University. The sharing of the Buzzfeed article ‘I, too, am Harvard’ on the online Oxford based race forum, ‘Skin Deep’ led to students quickly self organising a photoshoot within the same week. A message that was consistently reaffirmed throughout the day was that students in their daily encounters at Oxford are made to feel different and Othered from the Oxford community. Hopefully this project will demonstrate that despite there being a greater number of students of colour studying at Oxford now than there has ever been before, there are still issues that need to be discussed. In participating in ‘I, too, am Oxford,’ students of colour are demanding that a discussion on race be taken seriously and that real institutional change occur.”

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Tagged in: Equalities News Racism
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Above is Samina's photo from the the "I Speak for Myself"campaign, a travelling exhibition displaying hundreds of the messages captured during Amina's roadshow and which aims to tackle misconceptions and common stereotypes about Muslim women, thus reducing inequality and sexual discrimination not only within the Muslim community but also in the wider society.

“This was about Muslim women sharing their messages with fellow Scots."

“The messages talk about all the things that women talk about, regardless of their race and religion. In their own words they say, ‘This is who I am’.”


For her inspirational quote Samina chose the words of Mother Teresa.

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11202

Vuyelva Mpongoshe

Vuyelva Mpongoshe

I think it is time to end violence against women. It's time to end hunger and poverty, we need to empower all women. Women should get access to education, training, science and technology.

We should have equal rights and the same opportunities as men. Men and women should unite to end violence against women and girls, women should have the right to make decisions at work or in a relationship. Women should be able to plan for the future.

I remember the time my mother was suffering in silence because she didn't know anything about her rights or where to go for help. This was in Africa where there are no facilities to help people to fight for their rights.

This women’s day makes me to remember the time there was a shame in my family. My father was a farm worker for years, one day the owner of the farm accused my father of stealing his goods and he was arrested. The same day, the farmer told our mother to leave his farm. When our mother asked him where she should go at this time with seven children and all of her belongings he told my mother that it was not his business and that he wanted to put someone new in our house that same night.

We spent our night on the street without food and drink. My mother’s last born was 8 months, we couldn't even help our mother because we were still too young. I think I was 12 years old girl. Our mother was full of tears and sadness in her face but, she had to be strong for us.

I grew up thinking about what happened to my family and have asked myself where was the humanity? Where was the humanity for the woman with seven children?  To be thrown out by the farmer at that time of the night, to have to sleep on the street with seven children. How on earth could people destroy other people's lives like that? No one was born to suffer like the way our mother was suffering.

I hope for changes because things like that are still happening. Enough is enough. 

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Rehana Faqir

The quotes that inspire me:

“I have been working for so many years and women still don’t get equal pay”

“Women's chains have been forged by men, not by anatomy.” ~ Estelle R Ramsey.

“Women are not inherently passive or peaceful, we're not inherently anything but human.” ~ Robin Morgan.

“If all men are born free, how is it that all women are born slaves?” ~ Mary Astell

“Nobody objects to a women being a good writer or a sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, a good mother, good-looking, good-tempered, well-dresses, well groomed and unaggressive.”  ~ Marya Mannes

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Judy Wasige

My residence in Scotland the last 10 years has made me realise that irrespective of country, community problems are the same, only described by context relevant terms and analogies. Being Kenyan, I in my wildest dreams could never have imagined that poverty would make up part of Europe’s fabric. Through experience, mainly influenced by my daughter’s involvement with a food bank in Glasgow, this view has been altered. In responding to food shortages for families due to the recession and the resultant  job losses and unfavourable government welfare policies, the woman in her, like many other women around the world have done and continue to do, took it upon herself to sort out the problem using the only means available to her. She fasted for 7 days; a whole 7 days without food, only water and tea.

Initially, I thought she would last a maximum of 4 days and then give up. I watched keenly and waited…

Come day 5, I was very concerned; she looked weak, tired and complained about a lack of sleep and concentration in class.

By day 6 she had lost 10 pounds. I wanted her to give up and had my phone on standby, expecting a call from the emergency services.

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