Gender discrimination often overlaps with other areas of discrimination. The Equality Act makes it illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of: age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity [hyperlinks]. These are considered ‘protected characteristics’ — though there are many ways we are discriminated against which are not in the Equality Act, and which still impact our ability to work.
Check out our resources below and find further information in this website's Your right to equal treatment section.
The Equality Act states that you must not be discriminated against on the basis of your age. In work or interviews, questions regarding age and health should only be asked where they are specifically relevant to the situation.
Equity advocates that playing age, and not actual age, be used as matter of course.
CASTING QUESTIONS CARD - See what you are (and aren’t!) allowed to be asked in a casting.
MINORS - Minors are guaranteed a minimum of 50% of all adult minimum fees and payments. They are also entitled to Use Fees and Royalty Payments/Net Profit Share in recognition of their performer rights. For more information on minors’ rights, click here.
MENOPAUSE - Read more about your rights when it comes to menopause. While menopause and perimenopause are not specifically protected under the Equality Act, if you are treated unfairly at work because of menopause or perimenopause, this could amount to discrimination.
YOUNG MEMBERS - Equity provides tailored Young Members support for members aged 30 and under. The union understands that young members can experience age-related discrimination and can assist young members experiencing age-related discrimination.
Equity’s Young Members Committee advocates on behalf of our young members. Contact them, or get involved, here.
If you feel you have been discriminated against on account of your age, contact Equity.
Appearance-based discrimination is rife in our industry. It intersects with many other protected characteristics, such as race, disability, and gender presentation.
AESTHETIC LABOUR - ‘Aesthetic labour’ is the time, money, and energy spent making oneself appear suitable for work. This expense falls disproportionately on women, and impacts women of colour and disabled women with particular force.
If the impact of aesthetic labour is impacting your finances or mental health, or if an employer is requiring aesthetic labour from you in a way that is disproportionate or inappropriate [contact us here].
You can read more about aesthetic labour, and its impact on arts workers in the Making An Appearance report, conducted by the Women’s Committee and Royal Holloway University.
BODY-SHAMING - Body-shaming is the deliberate humiliating of an individual by making mocking or defamatory comments about their body shape or size. Body-shaming is a form of bullying, and is unacceptable in the workplace. In certain instances, body-shaming can constitute discrimination, which is illegal. Members who experience body-shaming have a right to report any body shaming they experience from any individual they work with.
For more information and support, visit the Mix:
FATPHOBIA - Fatphobia occurs regularly in our industry, where ‘thinness’ is considered attractive and desirable, and fatness considered pejorative, unattractive, pathological, and even shameful. Fatphobia impacts everything from access to health care to the ability to choose clothing — and, more generally, the ability to exist in the public space, and to access employment.
For more information on Fatphobia visit GROW Think Tank
Discrimination on the basis of class is unacceptable. It intersects with everything from one’s accent to one’s appearance — and underlying class discrimination (and systemic lack of resource) can prevent one from accessing work.
If you feel you have been discriminated against on the basis of class, contact Equity.
In the meantime, Equity’s Class Network is doing excellent work to combat class discrimination.
You should not be discriminated against on the basis of Deafness or Disability. Comprehensive information for our Deaf and Disabled members — from representation to access — is available here.
In the meantime, check out the following links for information or support.
Access to Work - Your rights around Access to Work and making a claim
BSL - Guide to good practice with BSL in the arts.
Casting Guide - for deaf, disabled and neurodiverse dancers.
Sexual Harassment - We know that Deaf and Disabled colleagues suffer from high rates of sexual harassment. Get more resources on sexual harassment on Equity4Women Toolkit Sexual Harassment page.
Despite the fact that equal pay, harassment, and access to work do not break down evenly across gender lines, you should not be discriminated against on account of your gender. This includes women, as well as trans, non-binary, and other gender marginalised workers.
In the meantime, check out the following links for information or support:
You should not be discriminated against on the basis of gender reassignment. Equity has further information here. In the meantime, check out the following links for information or support:
Although health is not a protected characteristic, employers should do what they can to make sure your workplace is healthy, safe, and accessible. For workplace concerns related to mental health, get more information here.
If you feel you have been discriminated against on the basis of your mental health, contact Equity.
The lack of workplace attention to hormonal health — which includes periods, the menopause, and many other hormonal experiences and conditions — can greatly impact one’s experience at work. While hormonal health is not specifically protected under the Equality Act, if you are treated unfairly at work because of it, this could amount to discrimination.
Read more about your rights when it comes to menopause here:
If you feel you have been discriminated against on the basis of your hormonal health, Contact Equity.
You should not be discriminated against if you come from outside the UK. However, in our industry, accent and nationality sometimes put performers in a very uncomfortable grey area — and can seriously impact one’s access to work.
The Non-UK-Born-Artists Network represents the interests of thousands of foreign-born Equity members and aim to expand the equality debate and work towards a culture shift in the industry and society as a whole. You can find our more about their work, or get involved via their page.
If you have questions, or feel you have been discriminated against on the basis of nationality, contact Equity.
You should not be discriminated against on the basis of your parenthood, pregnancy, or caring responsibilities. Visit our Maternity and Care page here, or [click here] to find out more about your rights and resources here.
If you feel you have been discriminated against on the basis of maternity or caring, contact Equity.
You should not be discriminated against on the basis of sex. Comprehensive information is available here.
If you feel you have been discriminated against on the basis of sex, contact Equity.
You should not be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation. Comprehensive information is available here. https://www.equity.org.uk/advice-and-support/know-your-rights/right-to-equal-treatment/sexual-orientation
In the meantime, check out the following links for information or support:
Information for transgender, non-binary and other LGBT+ members:
Contact the LGBT+ Committee at LGBTCommittee@equity.org.uk.
If you feel you have been discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation, contact Equity.
ACAS’ Guide on bullying and harassment- ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) works with millions of employers and employees every year to improve workplace relationships.
Disability Arts on Access to Work - Access to Work can provide grants to remove barriers disabled people face in undertaking paid employment, including for equipment, travel and support workers.
ACT FOR CHANGE - Campaign to strengthen diversity across the performing arts
ERA 50:50 - Campaign to achieve 50:50 gender balance on stage and screen by 2020
EQUALITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - Information on protected characteristics, the Equality Act, and your rights
FAT PERFORMANCE NETWORK - A community for people interested in making, thinking and talking about fat performance
OUTLIFE - Support and health resources for LGBT+ members
PIPA - PiPA’s vision is of a performing arts sector that is effectively inclusive of the parent and carer workforce.
STAGE SIGHT - Campaign to create an off-stage workforce that is more reflective of our society today, inclusive of ethnicity, class and disability.
WASPI - Women Against State Pension Inequality fight for women born in the 1950s who are affected by the changes to the State Pension Age
WHAT SHARE OF THE CAKE REPORT - Sphinx report analysing gender distribution in arts funding