We want the UK to be a leader in equality and human rights. At our best, we are defined by our tolerance, freedom and fairness.
There is also a strong economic argument for equality. If people are not able to reach their full potential, the economy suffers.
We are working toward a fairer society by improving equality and reducing discrimination and disadvantage for all, at work, in public and political life, and in people’s life chances.
We prevent discrimination (including discrimination based on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation) by:
- funding the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and making sure it does its job well, by appointing the board and monitoring its work
- providing information, advice and support on discrimination through the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS)
- making it easier for disabled people to stand for election
- running a campaign to help reduce the pressure that popular culture places on people’s body confidence
We support and protect the rights of women by:
- helping women to reach their potential in the workplace and helping businesses get the full economic benefit of women’s skills, including through the work of the Women’s Business Council, Women on Boards and the Think, Act, Report programme
- making sure that women’s interests are represented in government, by regularly meeting women’s groups and campaigners, and listening to women across the country
- providing grants to people who want to set up childcare businesses
We protect the rights of children by making sure UK government policies take account of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
We protect the rights of disabled people by:
making sure UK government policies take account of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People
encouraging the use of the social model of disability which says that disability is created by barriers in society
We support the rights of British citizens abroad and use our influence to support international equality. Our aim is to support equal treatment and equality of opportunity internationally. We negotiate bilaterally and in the United Nations, European Union, Council of Europe, and Commonwealth to protect and support the rights of British citizens abroad. We use our influence to change culture and attitudes and support equality, in particular on gender, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) equality, leading by example.
The strategy set out a new approach, aimed at:
- changing culture and attitudes
- addressing the causes of inequality
- building a stronger, fairer and more cohesive society where equality is for everyone and is everyone’s responsibility
It explains a new role for government, promoting equality through transparency and behaviour change and working with businesses, the voluntary sector and wider civil society to create equal opportunities for everyone.
More information on our previous activity is available on the National Archive
Bills and legislation
The Equality Act 2010 bans unfair treatment and helps achieve equal opportunities in the workplace and in wider society. The Act prohibits unfair treatment in access to employment and private and public services regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. More information about the act is available in ‘Equality Act 2010: guidance’
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 grants civil partnerships in the UK the same rights and responsibilities as marriage.
In January 2013, we introduced the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill to Parliament.