The world isn’t fair, but how do you quantify that unfairness and how do you go about addressing it? These questions are the exact focus of a major new report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The report is the most in-depth review ever carried out on progress towards greater equality and human rights protection in England. The report paints a worrying picture which shows that over the last five years the already disadvantaged have fallen even further behind the rest of the society. And there are some great infographics in there.
Those with learning difficulties, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, homeless people and the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities are being hit by multiple limitations. Narrow employment opportunities and barriers to healthcare are two of the factors that the report highlighted. According to the report, the cause of this entrenched disadvantage can be attributed to ‘deprivation, social invisibility, stigma and stereotyping.’
A further problem is noted with the lack of evidence on the experiences of these groups. This makes it hard to analyse the problems properly and conceals these disadvantaged groups and their issues from policy makers and NGOs.
When only 13.8% of Gypsy and Roma children (as opposed to 60.3% of white children) achieved the GCSE threshold in 2012/13; when mortality rates for people with moderate to severe learning disabilities are three times higher than the general population; when the average age of death for homeless women was 43 years compared with 80 years for the general population – our response cannot be the one of Calvin’s father, ‘The world isn’t fair’. There are policy decisions that can be taken to help address these issues and this report demonstrates where our efforts need to be directed if we are to ensure a fairer England for all.