This is the unfair treatment of one person or a group, often because of prejudice about race, ethnic group, age group, religion or gender.
• Ageism - prejudice and discrimination based on age
• Sexism - the unfair treatment of people within society because of their gender or sex
• Religious intolerance - the refusal to accept or tolerate different religious views or beliefs and also the people who follow these different religious faiths
• Racism - discriminatory, oppressive or abusive behaviour towards people because they belong to a different race
Why the situation occurs?
Discrimination can occur when a person is prejudged on their appearance or background, without taking into consideration their capabilities or potential. For example, a person might be passed over for a job as they are seen to be less favourable because they are a woman/ of a certain religion/ seen to be too old or too young. This would be discriminatory behaviour, a question of judging the person before finding out if they were actually capable of doing the job in question.
Another example could be if two people of different racial origin do the same job, but one is paid a greater salary for no other reason other than they come from a certain country/have a certain appearance. This would be discrimination against the lesser-paid employee.
It should be noted that “positive discrimination” can also occur. This is the practice of giving advantage to those groups in society, which are often treated unfairly, usually because of their race or their sex.
Discrimination occurs in all societies due to a lack of understanding, misconceptions, preconceptions and ignorance. Much work is being done to tackle the different areas of discrimination and it is generally understood that the best way to deal with discrimination is to create awareness for these issues and educate people to be more tolerant and less judgemental of one another.
How you can make a difference?
Tackle the issue - learn about the various forms of discrimination and why each situation occurs. Recognise how others might feel discriminated against and see how these situations could be avoided or better dealt with. How do people see you and how do you see yourself? Is this the same? - and if not, why not? Learn to empathise with others and not to judge anyone before getting to know them.
Use the materials and tools provided to follow the process of:
1. Identifying the problem
2. Developing Awareness and Empathy
3. Taking action
4. Measuring the change
Resources and Links:
The European Commission's website on anti-discrimination:
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women:
World Organization of the Scout Movement publication: The Essential Characteristics of Scouting