The Equality Coalition is is jointly convened by UNISON and the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ).
Cumulatively, the member organisations in the Equality Coalition work across all nine equality categories covered by Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, as well as on other recognised protected equality grounds, including (but not limited to) socio-economic status, language, citizenship, irrelevant criminal record, and immigration status.
The Section 75 categories are, in summary, as follows:
- Political Opinion
- Religious Belief
- Marital Status
- Sexual Orientation
The Equality Coalition was founded in 1996 by community and voluntary sector organisations and trade unions. It was instrumental in putting equality at the forefront of the agenda at that time, specifically in relation to Policy Appraisal and Fair Treatment (PAFT), the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement, and the aforementioned NI Act 1998.
The Equality Coalition now has over 80 members, many of which are umbrella organisations. It provides a forum for unity between multiple sectors when campaigning for equality, while still allowing for the diversity of its members’ work and views. By facilitating a strong message from diverse equality groups, the Equality Coalition helps to ensure maximum impact in a resource efficient manner. This approach is particularly important in the current environment, where organisations’ resources are challenged.
There are two key tenets to the work of the Equality Coalition: The first is information sharing and capacity building. The second is lobbying and advocacy.
The Coalition’s core aims and objectives are:
- To ensure the equality duties, as prescribed by Section 75, is put into practice.
- To raise the public profile of the equality agenda in Northern Ireland.
- To facilitate information sharing.
- To engage in strategic planning that will effect change for critical equality issues.
The Equality Coalition has bi-monthly meetings, at which members can exchange information and discuss current equality issues. In addition, the Equality Coalition compiles and circulates information on matters related to equality in NI. It also facilitates high level meetings with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI), government departments and political representatives.
The Equality Coalition hosts events and seminars to facilitate engagement with public authorities, build capacity within its membership, and allow for networking between members. It is also available to provide expert advice and support on equality matters.
If you would like any further information on the Equality Coalition or if your group is interested in becoming involved, please contact us on the details below.
Equality Coalition, c/o CAJ
Citylink Business Park
6A Albert Street