Equal opportunities for everyone

What is the extent of discrimination in the Dutch labor market and other sectors, like healthcare? And how can we combat it?

With an interdisciplinary and scientific profile, the State Commission against Discrimination and Racism tackles these questions. The State Commission is an advisory board that focuses on extensive, long-term research into the nature, extent and causes of discrimination and racism across all sectors of Dutch society. Emphasis is on the labor market, the employment market, education, and healthcare. The State Commission advises the government on how to improve policy, legislation and regulations, with the aim of combating discrimination and racism.

Janneke Gerards, Professor of Fundamental Rights Law at Utrecht University was appointed in the State Commission against Discrimination and Racism. With a research focus on fundamental rights, equal treatment law, judicial review and comparative public law, Janneke Gerards is one of the State Commission’s eight members appointed in 2022.

How can the State Commission against Discrimination and Racism make positive impact and create equal opportunities? Janneke Gerards explains that the State Commission’s main ambition is to conduct in-depth research.‘We want to really add something to all that is known about discrimination and racism, we want to innovate and be creative.We are sure that the great multidisciplinary expertise collected in our Commission and the bureau will help us to view the various elements of our tasks in a holistic, yet analytical manner. We are also very lucky that there are so many other organizations and institutions working in the field of non-discrimination.’

Further, she highlights that because ‘many problems of discrimination and unequal treatment are very deeply engrained in our societies, they are very difficult matters to deal with. Our State Commission is modest in the sense that we certainly do not expect to be able to solve all problems of exclusion and unequal opportunities in the Netherlands. We can only dream of finding the key to eradicating discrimination and racism. Nevertheless, we very much hope that our work will offer better insights in the processes, structures and cultures that determine discrimination in the Netherlands. And perhaps we even can propose some changes to legislation and policies that will help to tackle these thorny issues.’

In January 2023, the State Commission will present its work program and research focus for the next four years. More information about its working method can be found here.