Intersectional Discrimination in Europe: relevance, challenges and ways forward

Report: Intersectional discrimination in Europe: relevance, challenges and ways forward.

Co-Editors: CIJ acknowledges the contributions of Dr Emilia Zenzile Roig (CIJ Founder and Executive Director), Miriam Aced (Former CIJ Assistant Director), Aida Bekele (CIJ Associated Expert) and Henrike Scholz (Former CIJ Intern) to the research and writing of this report.

Acknowledgements: Thank you to Julie Pascoët, ENAR Senior Advocacy Officer and Georgina Siklossy, ENAR Senior Communication Officer for their editorial contributions to the report.

Published by: European Network Against Racism and Center for Intersectional Justice

Date: 14.9.2020

Read the full report here and the report summary here.

We are extremely grateful to ENAR for their support on this project!

The European Network Against Racism and the Center for Intersectional Justice are launching the report Intersectional discrimination in Europe: relevance, challenges and ways forward. The report highlights the necessity of centering race in intersectional justice efforts, as a foundational system of discrimination, exclusion and oppression. It explores the legacy of colorblindness in European national and continental dialogues as well as the avoidance of race that results in anti-discrimination efforts addressing one axis of discrimination at a time, at the expense of tackling other systemic forms of oppression such as racism.

“In the absence of race, intersectionality only reinforces a status quo that denies the existence of people and systems that intersectionality was intended to reveal.”

The report aims to reclaim intersectionality, explaining the multiple dimensions of discrimination, including the individual, structural, institutional and historical dimensions. The report emphasizes the importance of taking a systemic approach to addressing these various dimensions if inequality is to be addressed more holistically at the EU level. The report reviews anti-discrimination legislation identifying opportunities, challenges and limitations for EU legislation.

“Current interpretations of anti-discrimination law in Europe lack explicit standards for cases involving intersectional discrimination patterns. Similarly, international human rights instruments and enforcement mechanisms relied on by European bodies conceptualise discrimination on a single, discrete ground that might involve race, gender, sexuality, or religion.”

The report puts forward potential recommendations and approaches for addressing the multiple dimensions of discrimination, as well as key overarching steps that could be taken to strengthen anti-discrimination efforts. The report calls for the collection of disaggregated equality data, and for enhancing racial equality and justice policies, among other relevant approaches that institutions can adopt today.

“Intersectionality can be fully deployed and unleash its full potential when all forms of social inequalities are treated in similar ways, and hierarchies between various forms of discrimination are not perpetuated by the measures implemented to combat them.”

The Center for Intersectional Justice is a non-profit organization founded in 2017 and based in Berlin. We engage in advocacy and policy-oriented research to make anti-discrimination and equality policy more inclusive and address structural inequalities more effectively in Europe. The CIJ seeks to influence the public discourse and impact on policy-making through direct advocacy, research and policy advice, as well as publications on issues related to intersectional discriminations based on race, gender, class and all other systems of oppression which sustain inequality.

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