How useful are equality indicators? The expressive function of ‘stat imperfecta’ in disability rights advocacy
Aims and objectives: This paper examines how disabled persons have been included, or not, in EU statistics used for evidenced-based policy ‐ for example in the European Semester process concerning Member States’ employment and social policies, or in monitoring compliance with international human rights standards under the UN CRPD.
Methods: Over a period of a decade we mapped and disaggregated disability data from the main European social surveys, examining the availability and limitations of different sources to answer various policy questions.
Findings: The analysis produced indicators revealing stark inequalities between disabled and non-disabled persons but raised challenging questions about data quality, reliability and comparability. This revealed tensions in engaging the trust of policymakers in less familiar, or less reliable, data concerning minority groups.
Discussion and conclusions: Despite limitations of precision, imperfect statistics often retain a strong expressive function in human rights promotion. Greater investment is needed from governments and statistical authorities to strengthen disability equality data and indicators concerning marginalised rights holders.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: University of Leeds, UK 2: Centre for European Social and Economic Policy, Brussels
Publication date: May 2021
This article was made available online on March 30, 2021 as a Fast Track article with title: "How useful are equality indicators? The expressive function of ‘stat imperfecta’ in disability rights advocacy".
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