The Equality Act 2010 | Read Time 10 Minutes.
October 2020 saw the 10 year anniversary of the UK Equality Act 2010.
But 10 years is a long time. The world of 2010 is lifetime ago compared to our current pandemic existence. It begs the question; has anything changed since the implementation of the Equality Act 2010?
COVID-19 has done many things. It has highlighted the strength of a Country, the resilience of our NHS and the importance of protecting those we love. But, in my opinion, COVID-19 has shone a much darker light on the underbelly of our nation.
The Equality act 2010
Back in 2010, The Equality Act was implemented as a method of legally protecting people from
“discrimination in the work place and in wider society.”
The point of an equality act was to provide legal safety for those covered by the 9 protected characteristics. These are:
- Gender Reassignment
- Marriage and Civil Partnerships
- Pregnancy and Maternity
- Religion and Belief
- Sexual Orientation
The Equality Act 2010 has helped the public for many reasons. It has provided those who need protection with a sense of legal security. It has provided those who do not fall under a protected characteristic a fully defined explanation of what these characteristics really mean. In turn, this allows people to me more accepting; education is an fundamental starting point in stubbing out discrimination.
But 10 years on, in the black hole that is 2020, it’s hard to look at the world with such a positive view.
Statistics & figures after the equality act 2010
In 2020, violence against the transgender community is at an all-time high.
pinknews.co.uk stated that
“2020 is officially the deadliest year for transgender violence since records began.”
A shocking 350 Trans deaths were recorded by 11 November this year, with 2020 coined by the HRC as an “epidemic of violence” against Transgender people. It’s shocking that members of the LGBTQIA+ community are still being abused and murdered because of who they are.
Never in my lifetime do I remember the disparity in the UK between the wealth classes being so illuminated. Some people can’t pay their rent and face helpless times ahead. Others are having to live without their housekeeping staff for the first time (flashback to a shocking BBC report of a woman in lock down who had never had to change her own toilet roll before, and had to call someone for help to do so.)
The Human Rights commission released an article in June which stated that
“The Coronavirus pandemic shone a light on a long-standing, structural race inequality in Britain.”
With BAME individuals being amongst the highest category of people likely to catch Coronavirus. Inquiries, however, revealed that this was not driven by health issues. Instead, BAME individuals are more likely to catch Coronavirus down geographic and socioeconomic factors, such as working in high risk conditions or living in low quality housing.
The Equality Act 2010: SUCCESS or Disappointment?
The above examples are just a dabble in the socio-economic and socio-political issues that have re-surfaced throughout 2020. It has lead organisations, charities and individuals to question the success and inclusivity of the act.
For example, Trades Union Congress (TUC) are calling on cabinet ministers to prove that they have fulfilled their legal obligations to civilians during the pandemic. They are also calling out the government for not adding Socio-Economic status under the umbrella of protected characteristics.
The whole point of the Equality Act 2010, was to prevent discrimination from occurring, not to give people a pass for picking up the pieces afterwards.
So, yes, the Equality Act 2010 was revolutionary, and now people who fall under its protected characteristics have a platform from which they can voice their protection. But 10 years later, the equality act is not fully in action
Whether COVID-19 happened or not, the Equality Act still has some inadequacies that need to be challenged. The act has been fantastic in some ways, especially in businesses for protecting staff against discrimination. But it is worth asking the question; are we really protected from inequality?Maybe it runs deeper than that, and systematic inequality can’t be resolved by putting it on a piece of paper.
The Solution to the equality act 2010
The question, then, is where will we be in 10 years?
In my opinion, the next progression should be to add a more extensive list of protected characteristics to the Equality Act 2010. Following this, the act will have to prove If it can do more to protect those who need it. Individuals and employers alike should seek to recognise that protected individuals need protection, before attempting to salvage and help them once they have already been discriminated against. In this case, it is not enough to help someone once they’ve already been hurt.
For the LGBT community, protected characteristics need to develop to become more inclusive. For example, gender reassignment should become “Gender identity”, thus branching out to a wider span of non-binary and transgender communities. The “epidemic of violence” that has hit the transgender community needs to die down. This only happens when people continue to be educated on Trans matters.
LETS US HELP YOU
At LGBT Lawyers, we are fortunate to have a team of people who will always fight for those who are marginalised. The LGBT community, and all those who fall under this umbrella term, shouldn’t have to fight for their right to equality. But if, or when, you find yourself fighting just because of who you are, we are here to help.
We are a small, but dedicated team, who provide a service tailored for the LGBT community. Our team is composed of individuals who understand and recognise the LGBT fight for equality, and we will always work with your best interests in mind.
Don’t be afraid to get in touch with us today; no case is too big or too small.