Navigation and service

Public life and leisure

The public sphere and the leisure sector encompass different fields of everyday life where many people spend their time on a very regular basis:

Apart from the entire public sphere, i.e. streets, squares, public buildings and transportation as well as the Internet, this also includes the field of leisure, e.g. being active in a club or socialising with neighbours.

From 2017 to the first six months of 2020, 709 persons in need of counselling got in contact with the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency as they had experienced discrimination in the public sphere and in the field of leisure, which corresponded to 5.3 per cent of all counselling requests. Furthermore, 323 persons in need of counselling reported discrimination in the field of media in this period of time. Four in ten persons (40.7 per cent) reported in the representative survey “Diskriminierung in Deutschland” (“Discrimination in Germany” (2017)) that they had experienced discrimination at least once during the past 24 months in the public sphere and in the leisure sector. According to the survey, the risk of discrimination was higher only in the workplace.

In the public sphere, oftentimes, discrimination happened in fleeting, impersonal and anonymous situations. Here, we often speak of (racist) insults or abuses which can frequently also be attributed to the social issue of hate crime. Apart from discriminating media coverage, there are also reports of stereotyping, racist or sexist advertising in the public sphere. However, in the leisure field, it is about the private and social sphere of those affected, their neighbouring relations, volunteering, club membership and so on. In this regard, discrimination takes place in a setting marked by continuous interaction.

As a rule, there are no contractual or public-law relationships in this area of life between those affected by discrimination and the perpetrators or causes. Even in cases where legal regulations exist between the persons involved, e.g. by means of statutes in associations, these usually do not contain any prohibition of discrimination. The General Act on Equal Treatment offers no means of combating discrimination in the media and in the Internet sector either.

Related topics