Concepts of equality
Equality of opportunity - everyone should have the same chance and opportunity to participate in society. Does not neccessarily mean treating everyone the same. What individuals make of that is based on ability and effort. Perfect equality has not yet been achieved in any country or society.
New Labour - embraces equality of opportunity as desireable, where everyone starts off at a level playing field. Individual differences in talent and ability then results in economic and social inequality.
Equality of outcome - a form of equality that seeks to lessen or eliminate differences in material conditions between individuals (ie. equalising their income or wealth. Few support absolute economic equality.
Equality of worth - human beings shouldbe treated equally (though not necessarily alike), unless there are good reasons/grounds for making distinctions
Equality before the law - all should be treated equally by law. Though the law is not equally accessable to all (ie. legal aid is available for those worse off, while the rich can hire the aid of a prestigious barrister). Some favour positive discrimination, to give disadvantaged people increased opportunity.
Post-1945 govermenments - faced with problems, such as immigration, racial diadvantage and discrimination,responded by: controlling numbers of newcomers into the country, offering special assistance to priority areas where conditions were problematical - in attept to build more harmonious and cohesive communities (eg.funding for schools to teach extra English Language) and used the law to tackle prejudice, discrimination and racial motivated violence and harrisment (eg. Commission for Human Rights Act - 2006).
Crime and Disorder Act (1988) - where two years can be added on to irigional offense due to the racial factor.
Disability Discrimination Act (2005) - which requires public bodies to promote equal opportunities for disabled people.
Civil Partnership Act (2004) - provided homosexuals with the same legal entitlements as legal couples.
Equal Pay act (1970) - 'equal pay for equal work' for women.
Equality and Human Rights Commission - combines diability right, racial equality and equal opportunities. To end harassment of people because of their diability, age, religion or belief, race, gender or sexial orientation. A society built on fairness and respect where people are confident in all aspects of their diversity. Aims to reduce inequality and challange prejudice and discrimination.
Types of discrimination
Positive discrimination - the deliberate attempt to support or select from specific (dicriminated against) groups. Those on the left suuport this. Those on the right claim that it is reverse discrimination, which does nothing for the self-esteem of those who gain advancement. Many believe you can't change human nature by passing laws,only through education and persuasion.
Direct Discrimination - occurs when someone is clearly treated less favourably on the basis of their membership of a social group.
Indirect Discrimination - may not be intentional, but leads to the exclusion of certain groups of people due to other factors.
Meritocracy - a society where those with talents are able to access power.