Goods and services (Directive 2004/113)

AuthorVegter, Marlies
9 Goods and services (Directive 2004/113)182
9.1 General (legal) context
9.1.1 Surveys and reports about the difficulties linked to equal access to and sup ply of
goods and services
There are few surveys and/or reports about equal access to and supply of goods and
services that concern equal treatment of men and women. Much is written about the
removal of obstacles for people with disabilities. Race/ethnic background is a topic
covered, as is religion, especially in respect of access to goods and services of people with
a Muslim background. In the field of gender equality , attention is given to discrimination
in the collaborative economy, a s will be outlined in the Section 9.1.2 below. Attention is
also given to the situation of transgender people.
In 2018 the Transgender Network Netherlands (TNN) reported that discrimination against
transgender people had increased by 25 %.183 Part of this discrimination is related to
access to goods and services. For example, from cases brought before the NIHR it appears
that transgender or intersex people face difficulties in using the facilities of sports clubs,
saunas, fitness institutes, etc. There are insurances which do not cover certain treatments
that transgender people undergo.
9.1.2 Specific problems of discrimination in the online environment/digital
market/collaborative economy
Problems of discrimination in the online environment/digital market/collaborative economy
were, inter alia, described in an article by S. Burri and S. Heeger-Hertter in 2018.184 They
mentioned the fact that for women with care tasks it is more difficult to be available during
specific hours, such as the hours for taking children to school and picking them up at
dinner time in the evening. This makes their daily schedule less flexible, whereas flexibility
and availability are important determining factors for acquiring work in the gig
economy. There is also a risk of sexual harassment in certain si tuations and a risk that
platforms are especially directed at women in order to engage them for traditional female
work, such as cleaning and caring. Women also tend to ask for and get a lower rat e for
their work; because they themselves ask less and it i s also not clear who is responsible
for the pay rate. Algorithms may also entail more hidden discrimination, as they tend to
follow the preferences of the majority, preferences which might be rath er discriminatory.
It is not yet clear t o what extent these forms o f discrimination will indeed arise. Much is
written about the possibilities and risks of the collaborative economy, but how it will really
work out in practice has yet to become clear.
9.1.3 Political and societal debate
There is debate on th e topi c of discrimination and the digital market, but so far these
debates are predominantly of a theoretical nature. One more practical example i s the use
of algorithms to track d own discrimination in job advertisements . To do this a computer
was given a quantity of discriminatory texts in the field of age discrimination. Subsequently
it searched through approximately 2 million job a dvertisements to c heck wh ether they
were discriminatory. It found more than 40 000 discriminatory sentences. The method will
182 See e.g. Caracciolo di Torella, E. and McLellan, B. (2018), Gender equality and the collaborative economy,
European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination, available at
183 Transgender Netwerk Nederland (2019), Meldingen transgender discriminatie 2018 (Reports on transgender
discrimination 2018), 2019. Available at:
184 Burri, S. and Heeger-Hertter, S. (2018), ‘Discriminatie in de platformeconomie juridisch bestrijden: geen
eenvoudige zaak’ (To combat discrimination in the platform economy legally: No simple matter), Ars Aequi,
2018(12), pp. 1000-1008.

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT