In March 2018, the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) and the National Anti-Discrimination Office (UNAR) signed an agreement to carry out comprehensive research project looking into discrimination against LGBT people as well as entrepreneurial diversity management policies in the area of employment. The project will strongly involve various LGBT stakeholders in the research design and planned respondent outreach activities and applies a multi-perspective and intersectional approach.
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The research project addresses the need to fill data gaps on the situation of LGBT people in the area of employment. The research project is based on the agreement between the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) and the Italian Equality Body, the National Anti-Discrimination Office (UNAR), signed in March 2018.
Past collaborations between these institutions include a survey on discrimination on grounds of gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity, in addition to a report on data sources regarding Roma, Sinti and Caminanti communities.
The main objective of the practice is to generate comprehensive data on discrimination and exclusion on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, including intersectional aspects, in the area of employment. This is to be achieved by applying a mixed approach and by strongly involving stakeholders relevant to the target community throughout the research.
ISTAT will conduct a set of surveys to collect data on the situation of LGBT people in the labour market and discrimination on grounds of the sexual orientation and gender identity from multiple perspectives. This includes LGBT individuals, employers and stakeholders, such as social partners, employment organisations, discrimination observatories and LGBT organisations.
The project is divided into two modules. Module A concerns data collection activities from LGBT+ people. Module B involves data collection activities from companies (employers) and the main national stakeholders (e.g. trade unions, employment category associations, and LGBT associations).
Direct data collection from LGBT+ individuals on employment discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity will mainly take place through an online questionnaire on a dedicated web page. Preliminary questions will identify the population of interest through self-identification.
The survey will include questions on experiences of discrimination in the area of employment; the perception of the prevalence of employment discrimination; coming out or not in the workplace and in social life; multiple discrimination and in multiple spheres of social life; the perception of the diffusion of homophobia and transphobia in the workplace; and the respondents’ knowledge of rights/instruments/measures and supporting actors to assert their rights in case they have been discriminated against.
Researchers will reach out to LGBT+ people through multiple channels:
The collaboration of LGBT associations and service providers will be very important.
LGBT organisations participate in different phases of the project, including background and preliminary research, co-design and testing of the questionnaires, data collection and the recruitment of LGBT respondents. The involvement of LGBT associations will be channelled through the ‘Permanent Consultation Table for the promotion of the rights and protection of LGBT people’ and/or a project working group comprising of LGBT organisations and experts in the field. This aspect of the governance of the research project is still subject to evaluation.
LGBT organisation participation is of crucial importance to enhance the validity and reliability of the data gathered. Their participation enables a careful design of the research and questionnaires, including self-identification questions. In addition, LGBT organisations will act as multipliers, increasing the number of survey respondents.
Furthermore, consultations with transgender organisations will serve to define survey variables that can accurately capture the individual components of the acronym ‘LGBT’, in particular the transgender experience. It will also shed light on discrimination arising from the intersection of gender identity and sexual orientation.
LGBT organisations represented in the Permanent Consultation Table and/or the Working Group will also contribute to closing data gaps with respect to specific sub-groups within the LGBT community.
The LGBT organisations are expected to contribute to reaching out to potential focus group participants.
The second module concerns data collection from companies and national stakeholders.
Italian national statistical office (ISTAT) / Istituto Nazionale di Statistica
ISTAT LGBT Project
Email: lgbt-project (at) istat (dot) it
Eugenia De Rosa, Valeria de Martino
Email: eugenia.derosa (at) istat (dot) it; valedema (at) istat (dot) it
Email: unar (at) unar (dot) it