.Wokingham Borough Council is reinforcing its commitment to tackling inequality by publishing its Equality Profile for 2021.
As part of the overarching Equality Plan 2021-25, which was agreed by the council earlier this year, the profile summarises what the council knows about its communities, according to the nine characteristics named in the Equality Act 2010. The nine protected characteristics are: age, disability, marriage and civil partnerships, pregnancy and maternity, ethnicity, religion or belief, sex, gender reassignment, and sexual orientation.
As well as the protected characteristics, the council also considers other factors such as children and impact of Covid-19. The council is very aware that people have multiple or overlapping characteristics which when combined can lead to increased or specific discrimination or disadvantage.
The borough council wants to lead the way and stop people from being treated unfairly and it believes that by sharing more information about what it knows about the people who live in the borough it will achieve this ambition.
So what does the borough council know about its communities. Here are a few of the headlines:
- A high proportion (30%) of Wokingham residents are aged between 35-54 (26%, UK)
- 24% of Wokingham Borough households (during 2011 Census) had at least one person with a long-term health problem or disability (33%, England) and more than 40% of these consisted of residents aged 65+ (38%, UK)
- More than half of Wokingham Borough residents are married (58% compared with 47% in England)
- 6% of Wokingham Borough mothers are aged 40+ (4.7%, England)
- 16% of residents were born outside the UK, and for many, the country of origin is a non-EU country, predominantly South Asia or Africa
- In the 2011 Census, 67% of Wokingham Borough residents stated, they had a religion (68%, UK). Nearly 60% of residents declared themselves to be Christian (59%, England) whilst 26% stated they had no religion (25%, England)
- Wokingham Borough has a slightly higher proportion of female residents (51%), than male (49%); particularly amongst the over 65+ population
- The Government Equalities Office estimates that between 0.3% and 0.8% of the UK population are transgender. In Wokingham Borough this would equate to between 500 and 1,400 residents
- National research studies (Stonewall, LGBT Foundation) estimate that between 5-7% of any given local population will identify as LGBT+. In Wokingham Borough, this means that between 8,600 – 12,000 residents could identify as LGBT+
- 14% of Wokingham Borough population are children and young people aged between 5-14 years (12%, UK).
Data is compiled from a range of national and local sources such as the Office for National Statistics and Berkshire Data Observatory. It is reviewed on an ongoing basis and will be updated to consider the latest 2021 Census findings when published next year.
For more details read the Equalities Profile 2021.
Leader of the Council John Halsall said: “By knowing more about our communities and considering how these characteristics may intersect, it means that we have a much better understanding of the needs and experiences of our residents. This in turn will help us to shape our services.
“Equality means everyone has the same chance to make the most of their lives and talents. We are community leaders and we need to work together to achieve that aim. Our ambition is to ensure that no one is left behind, and that unfair or discriminatory barriers are removed. We will work hard to achieve this.”
The Equality Plan 2021-2025 outlines the council’s commitment to tacking inequality, celebrating diversity and being anti-racist. This plan is key to the borough council achieving its community vision to be ‘a great place to live, learn, work and grow, and a great place to do business’.
The council has also published an easy-read version of the Equality Plan 2021-2025 available on its website. The council wants to ensure that information it publishes should be accessible to everyone in the borough. Accessible information will mean different things for different people, and this easy-read version will ensure that those who find reading and writing difficult, can still find out more about the Equality Plan
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