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Race and Ethnicity

Race is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. The Act aims to protect people from direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, and victimisation on the basis of race.

Find support, initiatives, and guidance relating to race and ethnicity here.



The traditional definition of race and ethnicity is related to biological and sociological factors respectively:

  • Race refers to the concept of dividing people into populations or groups on the basis of various sets of physical characteristics (which usually result from genetic ancestry) e.g. skin colour.
  • Ethnicity refers to a population group whose members identify with each other on the basis of common nationality, language, religion, or shared cultural traditions.

We also uses the term 'BAME' (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) in our work on race equality.


Definition of 'Race' in the Equality Act

In the Equality Act, ‘race’ includes:

  • Colour.
  • Nationality.
  • Ethnic or national origins.

In the Act's definition, a racial group can be made up of two or more different racial groups (e.g. Black Britons).

Photo by The Gender Spectrum Collection. Colour filter added to original.

You may also be interested in:

ED&I Newsletter

Support, initiatives, and guidance relating to race and ethnicity

Staff Networks - including BAME Staff Network

Taskforces and SIC - including Race Equality Taskforce

Events - including Black History Month

Race Initiatives


Charters - including Race at Work Charter and Race Equality Charter

External links

You can find more information about race and the law from the following sources:

Gov.UK - Race Disparity Unit

Advance HE - Equality Legislation

EHRC - Race Discrimination

Acas - Race Discrimination

Citizens Advice - Race Discrimination