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Equinet - European network of equality bodies

Home >> About Us >> Equinet at a Glance >> Equinet at a Glance

Equinet at a Glance

April 10th 2012

Equinet, European Network of Equality Bodies, brings together 49 organizations from 36 European countries, which are empowered to counteract discrimination as national equality bodies across a range of grounds including age, disability, gender, race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, and sexual orientation.

Equinet builds upon the two year project "Strengthening the co-operation between specialised bodies for the implementation of equal treatment legislation" (2002-2004) and is currently funded by DG Justice - Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme 2014-2020.

Our mission

Equinet, European Network of Equality Bodies promotes equality in Europe through supporting and enabling the work of national equality bodies. It supports equality bodies to be independent and effective as valuable catalysts for more equal societies.

Our values

Equinet values and promotes:

  • Respect for and recognition of the diversity of individuals and groups in society.
  • Equality on grounds such as gender and gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, and age.
  • The potential of equality bodies to contribute to positive change for individuals, organisations and institutions, and society as a whole.

Equinet operates in a manner that:

  • Reflects a shared ownership and control of the network by its members.
  • Relies on the active contribution of the equality bodies that form part of the network.
  • Reflects the needs and interests that are common to equality bodies.
  • Takes account of the diversity of equality bodies.
  • Respects the independence of equality bodies.
  • Promotes innovation in the work of its Members

Equinet manages its work in a manner that:

  • Mainstreams equality and diversity in all of its work.
  • Is open, transparent and innovative
  • Achieves a high standard of excellence and professionalism.
  • Implements good practices as an employer.
  • Strives to give due consideration to environmental sustainability.

Equinet seeks to engage with its partners and stakeholders in a manner that:

  • Is based on constructive cooperation and openness.
  • Reflects the unique and singular position of equality bodies as public institutions that are independent from both civil society and the statutory sector

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Our Strategic Plan 2015 - 2018

Over the lifespan of this Strategic Plan, Equinet will pursue four objectives, with a number of areas of action planned for each:

A. Build capacity and peer support of equality bodies

  • Develop knowledge and skills of staff members of national equality bodies.
  • Develop strategic and organisational capacity of national equality bodies.
  • Foster and promote innovative approaches in the work of equality bodies.

B. Contribute to the European Equality Agenda

  • Contribute to equality policy and law at European level.
  • Convey an expert voice of equality bodies by sharing their expertise, experience and recommendations.
  • Inform and engage with policy makers and partners.

C. Serve as a knowledge and communication hub on equal treatment

  • Inform and engage equality bodies on relevant European developments.
  • Provide information on equality bodies to external audiences.
  • Facilitate exchange of information and networking among members.
  • Generate, collect and communicate knowledge on equal treatment.

D. Consolidate the network and the position of its members

  • Support the development of standards for and in the work of equality bodies.
  • Strengthen the standing of equality bodies in a changing context.
  • Enhance cooperation with stakeholders.
  • Ensure the sustainable development of the network and its capacity to respond to the diverse needs of members

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Our activities

Equinet seeks to engage in advancing equality in practice by facilitating the contributions and a stronger voice of national equality bodies to the wider European debate, by promoting and organizing:

  • Ongoing information exchange and sharing of data and expertise from and among national equality bodies
  • Regular training seminars for staff members and experts within national equality bodies
  • Ongoing collaboration, exchange and research within Working Groups structured around thematic work areas of relevance to national equality bodies, namely:
    • Equality Law in Practice
    • Communication Strategies and Practices
    • Policy Formation
    • Gender Related Issues
  • Publications and perspectives on relevant themes and policy developments relating to equality and non-discrimination at European level.
  • Studies on selected themes relating to the work of national equality bodies

Read the Equinet Highlights 2014-2015 for a summary of our work from January 2014 to July 2015.

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Our structure

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) consisting of all national members is the highest decision-making body within Equinet. An elected Executive Board led by the Equinet Chair is responsible for the overall management and the strategic leadership of the network. The operational structure consists of Working Groups of staff of national equality bodies (Equinet members) and a Secretariat headed by an Executive Director, based in Brussels.

Equinet, European Network of Equality Bodies is an international not-for-profit association (Aisbl) with an operational secretariat based in Brussels since the end of 2007.

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What are national equality bodies?

National equality bodies are independent organisations established on the basis of EU equal treatment directives – Directive 2000/43/EC (the so-called Race Directive), Directive 2004/113/EC (the so-called Gender Goods and Services Directive) and Directive 2006/54/EC (the so called Gender Recast Directive) - with a mandate to provide an independent assistance to victims of discrimination, conduct independent surveys concerning discrimination and publish independent reports and make recommendations on any issue relating to discrimination in their country.

Read the brochure on Equality bodies and Equinet promoting equality in Europe.
Read more about equality bodies in Europe here.