Press Release: EU Parliament Resolution on Intersectional Discrimination
On 6 July 2022, the Resolution on Intersectional discrimination in the European Union: the socio-economic situation of women of African, Middle-Eastern, Latin-American, and Asian descent, initiated by MEP Alice Bah Kuhnke, was adopted by the plenary of the European Parliament.
This is the first resolution that acknowledges the systemic dimensions of intersectional inequality and a major step in the advancement of mainstreaming intersectionality in the EU legal framework. Along with other CSO and equality bodies, CEJI contributed to the creation of the report, and welcomes the findings and recommendations.
By gathering evidence from numerous surveys and studies, the report reveals that discrimination on the basis of religion, racial and ethnic origin and gender/sexual identity is widespread. It also highlights antisemitism as a major problem within Europe. The report notes that 71% of Jewish people avoid carrying or displaying items that reveal them to be Jewish. 39% of Muslim women who wear religious dress in public have experienced inappropriate staring or offensive gestures.
The under-reporting of hate-motivated crimes, violence, and verbal abuse is also acknowledged: a substantial challenge due to a lack of trust in public authorities and structural barriers. The report also focuses on physical attacks against Roma people, antisemitic harassment incidents, as well as physical and sexual violence against LGBTIQ+ people.
The report urges EU policy-makers to address intersectional discrimination and include this approach in EU anti-discrimination and gender equality legislation and policies. Specific recommendations include the creation of a mainstreaming mechanism for greater coordination between EU and national policies, upcoming EU presidents to adopt the anti-discrimination directive, as well as the collection of reliable and comparable equality data.
Among other crucial recommendations on policymaking, the report welcomes the appointment of an EU coordinator for combating racism, as well as for combating antisemitism, and urges for the appointment of one on anti-Muslim hatred. This is considered to be a necessary step for the “collective work of such coordinators which will help to institutionalize intersectionality, contribute to the important work of the Commissioner for Equality and strengthen the implementation of each strategy”. Calls for awareness raising through campaigns and training to combat intersectional discrimination, and unconscious bias, targeted at young people, at a school level from an early age, are as well addressed in the report when Equal access and equal right.
The report represents a major success for all minority lives and the European Jewry, whose inclusion in intersectional spaces, and knowledge production has been often challenged.
The decision of our organization CEJI – A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe to put an Intersectional Action Officer in place, among other reasons, is to address the lack of engagement with Jewish experiences in intersectional spaces and knowledge production. Jewish diversity needs to be considered as well through equality data, surveys, and other key research informing evidence-based decision-making. The myth of the ‘“privileged minority” is nowadays one of the most widespread, and dangerous, tropes about Jewishness in anti-racist spaces. As David Schraub explains in his article – White Jews: an Intersectional Approach: “The whiteness frame can result in the confirmation of antisemitic stereotypes such as excessive power – [wrongly framing] Jews as super-white people”.
The white-passingness of some Jews, which comes with different racial, ethnic, and religious experiences of oppression, has been systematically used as gatekeeping in intersectional spaces. This has also severe implications for Jews of colour.
Overcoming this stereotyped rationale, the report creates the basis for the inclusion of European Jewry in the fight against intersectional discrimination representing a step forward in the collection of data, and research, and opening the possibility for the creation of an informal WG on intersectional discrimination in the European Parliament along with other non-discrimination CSO that will coordinate efforts to make sure no one is left behind in this fight, including the European Jewry in all its intersecting identities.
CEJI celebrates this report as a true consideration of different intersections of discrimination in all policies, and looks forward to further developments on intersectional approaches within the EU institutions.