Rights of Ethnic Minorities and Gender Equality in UK and Scotland

Brexit has raised objections by minorities on citizenship rights. Boris Johnson commissioned the “Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities” following protests by thousands of people of colour. Last summer, tens of thousands took to the streets in Britain and other European cities after the assassination of African-American George Floyd. Recently, controversy over racism in society has intensified due to the accusations made by Megan Markle, Prince Harry's wife, against the royal family .

Ethnic Minorities in Scotland

Scotland has a population of 5,463,300 according to the 2019 Mid-Year Population Estimates for Scotland. In 2011, 84% of Scotland’s population reported their ethnicity as ‘White: Scottish’ and a further 8% as ‘White: Other British’. Together, ethnic groups and white non-British groups (which include ‘White: Irish’, ‘White: Polish’, ‘White: Gypsy/Traveller’ and ‘White: Other White’) made up 8% of the total population.

The percentage of people in Scotland from minority ethnic groups has doubled to 4%, up from 2% in 2001. The Asian population is the largest ethnic group (3% of the population or 141,000 people), representing an increase of one percentage point (69,000) since 2001. Within this, Pakistanis are the largest individual category, accounting for 1% of the total population. The African, Caribbean or Black groups made up 1% of the population of Scotland in 2011, an increase of 28,000 people since 2001. Mixed or multiple ethnic groups represented 0.4% (20,000) and other ethnic groups 0.3% (14,000) of the total population.

The Situation of Ethnic Minorities in Scotland

The are fewer ethnic minorities in Scotland than there are in England. According to a report  published in 2011, ethnic minorities live in poverty and the government has paid less attention to them. Some of the cases reported among Scottish minorities include a lack of housing, low income, dropouts, etc.

In 2014, the Commission on Human Rights also stressed that minorities lived in poverty and assessed the Scottish government’s actions as ineffective.

Therefore, the Scottish Government launched programmes to eliminate racial discrimination in 2017, and  published the results of these measures in 2020; but these now show  inequalities due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, there has been significant progress in the employment of minorities. Minority associations have been set up to reduce social inequality, programmes and regulations have been written and distributed in six languages and a bill on racial crime was also passed in 2020.

Gender Equality in Scotland: Hope for the Future

Gender and gender equality in Scotland is one of the issues that has not received much attention. Research has been carried out in this field to understand the concept of gender, so that it can be indexed to reach gender balance. In this thirty-year plan for gender equality and social justice, a good scheme remains to be described, but it is hoped to achieve gender equality in the next thirty years.

Race Equality Framework for Scotland

The Scottish Government is determined to show leadership in advancing race equality, tackling racism and addressing barriers that prevent people in ethnic communities from realising their potential.

The Race Equality Framework for Scotland sets out how the Scottish government aims to develop this ambition over a 15-year period from 2016 to 2030.To achieve this, the Race Equality Framework for Scotland will take a long-term, partnership-based approach, working with all sections of society, including the Scottish Parliament, public sector agencies, established networks and forums, voluntary sector equality bodies and communities.

The new Race Equality Framework Scotland (2016) was brought together by the Coalition for Race Equality and Rights (CRER) and the Scottish Government Equality Unit.

This programme is very general, but it describes Scotland’s position on racial and gender issues and explains Scotland’s problems.

Population of Ethnic Minorities and Races in the UK

Data from the 2011 Census shows that the total population of England and Wales was 56.1 million at the time. Of this, 14% were from ethnic minority groups, the most populous of which were: Indians (2.5% of the population of England and Wales), Pakistanis (2%), Black Africans (1.1%) and Black Caribbeans (1.1%).

The Situation of Ethnic Minorities in the UK

Ethnic minorities form a significant part of the population. These groups are very diverse with distinct social, cultural and economic profiles. For instance, some groups face greater rates of unemployment than others, which is also associated with decreased access to the job market.

Furthermore, the outbreak of Covid-19 has brought to the fore the significant health inequalities faced by ethnic minority groups in the country, given that people from these groups are at a disproportionately higher risk of Covid-19 infection, mortality and poor mental health due to the pandemic.

For decades, there have been debates on intergroup relations between ethnic minority groups and the white British majority, and on national identity and belonging. Furthermore, significant incidents, such as the 9/11 attacks in New York in 2001, the July 7th bombings in London in 2005 and the Windrush scandal in 2018, have reignited these debates and led to claims that multiculturalism has failed. More recently, the Black Lives Matter movement, which originated in the United States, has become a global movement, also raising questions of identity, belonging and equality among Black Britons. At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, hundreds of people gathered in solidarity across the United Kingdom to highlight and challenge racism perpetrated against Black people.

Gender Equality in the UK

With 72.2 out of 100 points, the United Kingdom ranks fifth in the EU on the Gender Equality Index. Its score is 4.8 points higher than the EU score. Between 2005 and 2017, the score of the United Kingdom increased by only 1 point. The United Kingdom is progressing towards gender equality at a slower pace than other EU member states. Its ranking has dropped by one position since 2005.

Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities in the UK

With the UK leaving the EU and the process of modernisation of immigration, a commission was proposed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to examine ethnic and racial disparities to make plans accordingly. This commission has examined racial disparities, raised issues and made recommendations (2020).

The goal of the Johnson programme is to reduce ethnic disparities and gender inequality. The plan states that women of ethnicities, especially Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, are economically inactive and that the government should consider a plan to include them. Also, some of the activities of ethnic minorities create obstacles.


The Johnson government is trying to provide a favourable situation for the rights of minorities in Britain. He uses government facilities and institutions to spread the good news. But they are not commensurate with the reports commissioned by the government. We are not moving towards justice. We are not moving towards racial equality. We need to redefine policies and procedures. Edinburgh is far ahead of London in securing minority rights. The human rights situation in Britain is far from ideal for activist groups.

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