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Inequality is a blight on society, and despite decades of activism and campaigning, significant gaps remain between groups in a number of important areas. Changes in the law have recognised the fundamental equality of different groups, making discrimination against people on grounds of race, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity illegal, and the state has gradually removed its own explicit discrimination, for example through the equalisation of marriage rights. However, inequality continues; both as a legacy of previous evils, and the consequence of current structural and individual factors.
The goal of reducing inequality is shared by many across the UK’s What Works movement. But, despite this desire to narrow gaps in outcomes, the What Works Centres have spent little of the substantial government investment in evidence-based policy into work that aims to reduce gaps across important dimensions of inequality – across racial, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity lines.
This research explores three key areas for What Works and equality: reducing gaps in success, including improving attainment; discrimination; and tackling structural or systemic inequalities. We argue that reducing inequalities with a What Works methodology requires a cross-cutting programme or initiative (or several), rather than a Centre of its own, and suggest next steps to realise this goal.