Policy - Equality
What We Mean By Equality
For Jersey the equalities agenda is about fairness: that is, equal
treatment and equal opportunity.
It is not right or fair when people are discriminated against
because of who they are or what they believe in, the colour of
their skin, their sex being male or female, and their sexuality
And it is not right or fair when the opportunities open to people
are not based on their ambition, ability or hard work, but on
other factors like nepotism.
But even as we increase equality of opportunity, some people will
always do better than others.
And, certainly, I do not believe in a world where everybody
gets the same out of life, regardless of what they put in.
That is why no government should try to ensure equal outcomes
It has become a cliché, ’women are from Venus and men are from
Gender equality is fair and women cannot be excluded in the
decision making process. Yes ….we do think differently to men at
times but is this a bad thing? No this is a good thing. I have seen
in business meetings how the tone and attitude can change very
quickly and often situations can become softer and achieve more.
FTSe 100 companies by law have to have at least 3 female board
members on their boards as part of their basic compliance where
as in Jersey we have less despite the fact we have an excellent not
for profit training on island for female candidates. Interestingly
enough 40% of women on boards have training prior to sitting
the board in comparison to a figure of 17% of men!!!! Yes we
have more men on boards in Jersey. We need more diversification
in our boards and not having the same board members on
multiple boards in Jersey.
But I do need to recognise that in trying to ensure equality of
opportunity - the “gap” still matters.
Those growing up in households which have fallen too far behind
have fewer opportunities available to them and they are less able
to take the opportunities that are available. It can be seen in
families of three generations who have no qualifications and no
But you do not improve the lives of those at the bottom by
limiting the ambitions and opportunities of others. Instead,
we need to design intelligent policies that give those at the
bottom real opportunities to make a better life for
Achieving equality of treatment and equality of opportunity are
aims that the vast majority of people would regard as sensible
and noble goals for government policy.
But in recent years, equality has become a dirty word because it
meant something different. It came to be associated with the
worst forms of pointless political correctness and social
I want to turn around the equalities agenda and I want to change
people’s perception of what we should try to achieve on equality.
I want us to move away from the identity politics of the past -
where government thought it knew all about you because you
ticked a box on a form or fitted into a certain category - and
instead start to recognise that we are an island of individuals. And
that means demonstrating that equality is for everyone by
making it a part of everyday life.
We know our government doesn’t know what’s best but can act as
a leader, a convenor and an advocate for change. But on its own
it will only ever make limited progress. We need to work with
people, communities and businesses to empower them to enact
Only if we do that; only if we work with the grain of human
nature, not against it, will we achieve the fairer, more equal and
more prosperous society that we all want to see.
Why Equality matters
We can all agree on our ultimate aim of a better society. But I
want to explain why equality of opportunity and equal treatment
will help us to achieve that better society.
I think there are three main reasons: moral, social and economic.
Morally, everyone would agree that people have a right to be
treated equally and to live their lives free from discrimination.
Anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of discrimination
knows how painful, hurtful and damaging it can be and why we
should seek to eliminate it from our society. And anyone who has
ever witnessed discrimination would want to stamp it out.
So equality is not just important to us as individuals. It is also
essential to our well-being as a society. Strong communities are
ones where everyone feels like they have got a voice and can
make a difference.
And those people within communities who are allowed to fall too
far behind are more likely to get caught up in social problems like
crime, addiction and unemployment.
With my role as a Centenier I have seen first hand how some
families struggle and the consequences.
That brings me on to the third reason why equality matters.
Economically, equality of opportunity is vital to our prosperity. It
is central to building a strong, modern economy that benefits
from the talents of all of its members.