School of Law

Second European Conference on Multidimensional Equality Law

Date: 23 March 2006, 9.15 am - 5.45 pm
Location: University of Leeds

In this Section:


Following the first conference on multidimensional equality law in 2007 (convened by Professor Dagmar Schiek and Dr Victorie Chege), there remained an urgent need to critically reflect on the consequences of the proliferation of grounds on which discrimination has been prohibited in EU law.

One of the conclusions of the 2007 conference was that the demands of equality law must not be allowed to be trivialised by ever more multiplications.


The Second European Conference on Multidimensional Equality Law (SEMCEL) thus focused on a few grounds in order to investigate intersectional discrimination in more depth. Sex/gender, perceived race/ethnicity and disability - i.e., the differences that have been in the focus of UN and EU legislation - were the focuses of this conference.

The use of these categories is interesting from a critical analytical standpoint.

Racisms, sexisms and abilisms (engendering disadvantage through neglect of the different abilities of those labelled as disabled) suggests that narrow definitions of these "grounds", frequently to be found in case law, may not provide an adequate response to disadvantage on grounds of one's identity.

In social reality, it may not make much of a difference if disadvantage occurs because of an officially acknowledged disability or on grounds of prolonged illness. Also, discrimination on grounds of, for example, religiously motivated dress styles may well mirror societal racialisation of certain religions.

Finally, discrimination on ground of sex is difficult to disentangle from discrimination on grounds of gender roles. These gender roles include assumptions about life-styles, which makes it difficult to categorise discrimination on grounds of a lesbian life style (for example) as not gender related.

In sum, the three categories are imprecise, and the resulting "fuzzyness" around the edges has not yet been adequately addressed in socio-legal discourses.

A selection of conference papers was compiled in an edited collection, EU Non-Discrimination Law and Intersectionality: the triangle between gender, race and disability - Dagmar Schiek & Anna Lawson eds).

Download abstracts for the different panels below for an overview of the content of the conference.

Plenary Panel 1: Discrimination Law and Intersectionality - a new focus?

Abstracts (PDF, 149KB)


  • Professor Theresia Degener, Protestant University of Applied Sciences Bochum, Germany
    Intersections Between Disability, Race and Gender in Discrimination Law.
  • Dr. Iyiola Solanke, University of East Anglia, UK
    Size and the Black Woman
  • Dr. Suzanne B. Goldberg, Clinical Professor of Law, Columbia Law School, USA
    Categorical Instability: Identity-Based Discrimination and the Barriers to Complexity

Parallel Panel A: Comparative Perspectives on Multiple Discrimination and Intersectionality

Abstracts (PDF, 64KB)


  • Dr. Ayse Idil Aybars, Middle Eastern Technical University, Turkey
    Europeanisation and Women with disabilities in Turkey and France
  • Stephanie Fehr, University of Leeds, UK
    Multidimensional Discrimination in relation to Sex, Race and Religion: The Case of female Muslims in France and Germany
  • Dr. Snjezana Vasljevic, University of Zagreb, Croatia
    Intersectional Discrimination: Western European vs. Eastern European Approach

Parallel Panel B: Conceptual Geographies: Clarifying the Boundaries of Intersectional Terms

Abstracts (PDF, 65KB)


  • Linda Supik, University of Frankfurt a M, Germany
    How to work exactly with fuzzy concepts? - On the fuzziness of discriminatory grounds, dimensions of social structure and positions of identity
  • Dr. Ulrike M. Vieten, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Tackling the conceptual order of multiple discriminations: Some critical considerations concerning the use of ethnicity and 'race' as interchangeable social categories

Parallel Panel C: Combating Discriminations at the Intersections of Disability, Ethnicity and Gender

Abstracts (PDF, 59KB)


  • Dr. Susanne Burri, University of Utrecht, the Netherlands
    Multiple Discrimination before Equality Bodies and Courts: the Dutch experience
  • Stergios Kofinis, Aristotle University Thesssaloniki, Greece
    The Status of Muslim Minority Women in Greece: Second class European citizens?

Plenary Panel 2: Practical and Sectoral Perspectives

Abstracts (PDF, 158KB)


  • Professor Eleonore Kofman and Dr. Erica Howard Middlesex University, UK; Dr. Isabelle Carles, Free University of Brussels, Belgium
    Different Gendered Experiences of Racial Discrimination.
    The speakers are engaged with "GENDERACE", a FP 7 funded project on the impact of racial discrimination legislation on women.
  • Dr. Kristina Koldinska, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
    Roma Women in Selected Eastern European Countries: What form of development of EC law may help?
  • Dr. Lynn Roseberry, Associate Professor, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
    The Assimilationist Anti-discrimination Paradigm and Immigrant Women

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