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  • Writer's pictureScientists for Labour

Personal inequality and COVID-19

Last night we had the honour of hosting Baroness Mary Goudie for the launch of our latest report, "Personal inequality and COVID-19". In this report we distinguish personal inequalities from societal inequalities; here, personal inequalities are those which relate to who someone is, such as their race, gender, or age, while social inequalities relate to structures in society, such as healthcare and education.

Many thanks to Mary and to all who attended the launch. The full report is now available to read in full and a video of the launch event will follow shortly.


Executive Summary

In this report, we will provide updates on our previous work (Dunning et al., 2020; Creed et al., 2020) regarding societal inequalities relating to COVID-19. Here, we will elaborate on previous issues raised relating to personal inequalities; particularly gender, ethnicity and disability. Of course, personal inequalities cannot explain the whole situation: societal inequalities, including education and healthcare, are significant as well. These will be the subject of a later report, but it should of course be noted that societal inequalities are often influenced by such personal ones.

As has been noted in previous Scientists for Labour reports on inequality, the intersections between different personal characteristics and inequalities are significant. Rather than outlining these here, we make the suggestion that Labour should push for all guidance on topics relating to inequality to include specific consideration of intersectional inequalities. As an example, this might include ensuring that information on provision of services for those with disabilities is not only translated into other languages, but also made available in a format that caters to those with reduced English comprehension.

It is also clear that further research into many of these topics is needed – for example, there is a distinct lack of literature on the healthcare literacy in communities in England for whom English is a second language. Closing these gaps in understanding will be a vital part of tackling both this and future pandemics.

Finally, we emphasise that the effects of societal inequalities can be just as significant as those of personal inequalities

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