JRF research examining economic and social mobility among ethnic minority groups in Northern Ireland

Joseph Rowntree Foundation logo

In May 2014 the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) Poverty and Ethnicity programme published research examining economic and social mobility among ethnic minority groups in Northern Ireland, following a period of unprecedented inward migration.

The report by Jenny Irwin from RSM McClure Watters (Consulting) Ltd and Dr Ruth McAreavey from Queen’s University Belfast, finds that Northern Ireland’s economy is wasting the potential of some of its most skilled and motivated workers. It recommends that the Northern Ireland Executive shows leadership by demanding that employers treat people fairly and reviewing its own services to make sure that people from all ethnic groups are getting the support they need to improve their circumstances.

The Poverty and Ethnicity programme was launched in 2011 and has included research on the effects of social networks, workplace cultures, a review of the evidence on specific issues facing Northern Ireland and an exploration of the experiences of different ethnic groups in Wales.

JRF research examining economic and social mobility among ethnic minority groups in Northern Ireland

In May 2014 the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) Poverty and Ethnicity programme published research examining economic and social mobility among ethnic minority groups in Northern Ireland, following a period of unprecedented inward migration.

The report by Jenny Irwin from RSM McClure Watters (Consulting) Ltd and Dr Ruth McAreavey from Queen’s University Belfast, finds that Northern Ireland’s economy is wasting the potential of some of its most skilled and motivated workers. It recommends that the Northern Ireland Executive shows leadership by demanding that employers treat people fairly and reviewing its own services to make sure that people from all ethnic groups are getting the support they need to improve their circumstances.

The Poverty and Ethnicity programme was launched in 2011 and has included research on the effects of social networks, workplace cultures, a review of the evidence on specific issues facing Northern Ireland and an exploration of the experiences of different ethnic groups in Wales.

Review of Gender Issues in Northern Ireland

A Review of Gender Issues in Northern Ireland (PDF) by Michael Potter was published by the Northern Ireland Assembly in January 2014.

The paper’s findings include:

Women are under-represented across all major positions of political, economic, social and judicial power. This demonstrates a gender-related systemic impediment to access to decision-making. Certain policy decisions, such as budget reductions, appear to differentially impact on women more than men.

Updates to the Gender Equality Strategy have not demonstrated significant change in the position of women in Northern Ireland over time.

ECNI report: Childcare – Maximising the Economic Participation of Women

Equality Commision Northern Ireland ECNI

Childcare in Northern Ireland costs nearly half (44%) the average income, compared to 33% in GB and 12% across the EU. This is one of the findings of a new report launched by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland at Riddel Hall, Queen’s University, Belfast, marking International Women’s Day 2013.

This is an expert paper on the type, extent and delivery of childcare provision necessary to maximise the economic participation of women within Northern Ireland.  The report’s objectives  are to:

  1. provide a brief overview of current childcare in Northern Ireland regarding provision (type, extent and delivery) and utility – the availability, quality, flexibility, accessibility and affordability of various types of childcare;
  2. consider the extent to which working parents in general, and women in particular, may be constrained in their ability to access various types of work for reasons associated with existing childcare provision and
  3. evaluate, with reference to literature and best practice, a range of policy options regarding type, extent and delivery of childcare provision necessary to maximise the economic participation of women within Northern Ireland.

Policy recommendations are presented under the five main areas for potential reform that were identified from our analysis of the literature, data and stakeholder perspectives on childcare.

  1. The need for a childcare strategy.
  2. An increase in the supply of childcare.
  3. Greater equality of access to childcare.
  4. Addressing barriers to employment.
  5. Changes in attitudes towards childcare and mothers’ employment.

Click here for the executive summary and here for the main report.

JRF: ‘What is the relationship between poverty and ethnicity in Northern Ireland?’

Joseph Rowntree Foundation logo

A Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) study published in January 2013 examines the evidence on how people across different ethnic groups in Northern Ireland experience poverty and how this affects their access to work and support, including key services.

Northern Ireland has seen increasing political stability and progress in racial equalities legislation and policies. However, not all people benefited equally from economic success, or have had the same experiences following the financial crisis.

  • People from minority ethnic groups are employed at all levels in the economy, but low‑grade, low‑paid employment appears commonplace, despite many having high qualifications and skills.
  • In-work and child poverty appear to be problematic, but to what extent people from minority ethnic groups receive benefits when eligible to claim is unclear.
  • There has been a focus on access to services, but little is known about education and health outcomes. Housing conditions may vary, but poor management by landlords, high costs and overcrowding are evident.
  • Despite positive policy changes, people from minority ethnic groups have experienced racism as service users, employees and pupils, with mixed responses from organisations, employers and schools.

Click here for summary and report

The study is also accompanied by a blog and the research is part of the Foundation’s programme of work on poverty and ethnicity.

To find out more about the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Rainbow Project report: ‘Multiple identity; Multiple Exclusions and Human Rights’

Rainbow Project

‘Multiple identity; Multiple Exclusions and Human Rights: The experiences of people with disabilities who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people living in Northern Ireland’ was published by the Rainbow Project in November 2012.

The report comes out of a project that developed from exploratory discussions in 2011 between Disability Action and The Rainbow Project and the recognition by both organisations that very little was known about people with disabilities who identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual and/or transgender (LGB&T) in Northern Ireland.

Click here for details

Equality Commission Northern Ireland: ‘Do You Mean Me?’

Equality Commision Northern Ireland ECNI

Every three years the Equality Commission carries out an equality awareness survey which looks at trends in public attitudes towards particular groups in society; personal experiences of discrimination and knowledge of rights and protections. It considers who is most likely to express negative feelings and who is most likely to be the target of their prejudice.

‘Do You Mean Me? Discrimination: attitudes and experience in Northern Ireland’ was published by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland in June 2012.

Key findings in the latest survey report include:

  • Attitudes towards different groups as a work colleague, neighbour or married to a family member, have hardened.
  • 33% of respondents said they had been subject to some form of harassment or treated unfairly because they belong to a particular group, an increase of 16%.
  • 91% agreed with the need for equality laws and 77% agreed that they should be strengthened to match those in Great Britain.
  • 77% agreed that the Commission is a valued source of expert advice on equality issues.
  • Respondent confidence in the ability to keep their job is lower than the United Kingdom and European Union average.

Click here for details

Equality Commission for Northern Ireland: proposals for disability protection

Equality Commision Northern Ireland ECNI

In March 2012, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI) published ‘Strengthening Protection for Disabled People. Proposals for Reform’.

The report sets out the Commission’s recommended changes to disability equality law. The changes being proposed will not only ensure that Northern Ireland equality law keeps pace with changes with the law in GB, but will also help to harmonise and simplify the law and strengthen the rights of disabled people and their carers.

Click here for full report (pdf)

Click here for ECNI website