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Publication - Research Publication

Scottish Social Attitudes 2015: attitudes to discrimination and positive action

Published: 30 Sep 2016
Part of:

This report explores attitudes to discrimination and positive action in Scotland in relation to: age, disability, gender, race, religion, gender reassignment and sexual orientation.

103 page PDF


103 page PDF


Scottish Social Attitudes 2015: attitudes to discrimination and positive action

103 page PDF



1. Scottish Government, 2016b

2. Scotland's Census, 2016

3. Scottish Government

4. Scottish Government

5. Scottish Government, 2016a

6. Scottish Government, 2013


8. The difference between the proportion of people who do not know anyone who is Muslim in 2010 and in 2015 was only marginally significant (p=0.088).

9. Most of these questions were also asked in 2006 and/or 2010. The questions about someone who cross-dresses in public and someone who from time to time experiences depression were first asked in 2010. In 2015 a question about a Hindu (which had previously appeared in 2006 and 2010) was not included.

10. The phrase 'someone who has undergone gender reassignment' will be used to replace the question wording 'someone who has had a sex change operation' throughout the report.

11. Questions asking about people from a particular religion were not asked of those respondents who identified themselves from that religion.

12. This was first asked in 2010 so there is no data for 2006.

13. There were small but significant differences between 2010 and 2015 for someone who is Jewish, someone who is black/Asian and a Christian.

14. This was first asked in 2010 so there is no data for 2006.

15. Chapter 5 examines possible reasons for changing attitudes in this context.

16. Questions on the suitability of a range of different groups to being a primary school teacher were included in SSA in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2015.

17. In previous years (2006 and 2010) questions about the suitability of men and women being a primary school teacher were also included.

18. Questions on the suitability of a Muslim person and a black or Asian person as a primary school teacher have been asked in SSA in 2006, 2010 and 2015.

19. Between 2002 and 2006, in the wake of a number of terrorist events associated with people who professed an Islamic faith, together with relatively high levels of immigration, there was a significant increase in the proportion of people who said that Scotland would begin to lose its identify if more Muslims came to live in Scotland (38% in 2002 compared with 49% in 2006). For further discussion of these changes see Ormston et al (2011).

20. See Ormston et al (2012).

21. These questions were new to SSA in 2015 so no time series is available.

22. Whether people think that 'Scotland should do everything it can to get rid of all forms of prejudice' or whether 'sometimes there is a good reason for people to be prejudiced against certain groups'. See Chapter 2 for full details.

23. The order in which these questions were asked was alternated (half the sample were asked about fathers first, and the other half were asked about mothers first).

24. The tables and figures presented here highlight only those variables that were independently significant in these models (see Table A6.5 in Annex A for details).

25. Measured by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation ( SIMD). SIMD 2012 measures the level of deprivation across Scotland - from the least deprived to the most deprived areas. It is based on 38 indicators in seven domains of: income, employment, health, education skills and training, housing, geographic access and crime. The SIMD variable is divided into quintiles with the 1 st quintile being the most deprived areas and the 5 th quintile being the least deprived areas. See also Scottish Social Attitudes 2015: Technical Report for full details. Available at:

26. Gender was significant in the multivariate analysis but was only marginally significant in the bivariate analysis (p=0.82).

27. The is due to the Default Retirement Age Act being phased out in 2011. However if employers can objectively justify that the nature of the job requires it, they can lawfully retire an employee ( ACAS, 2011).

28. The state retirement age for women was 60 in 2010. From 2018 the state pension age for both men and women will start to rise to reach 66 by October 2020 and then rise to 67 between 2026 and 2028.

29. These questions were also asked in SSA 2005 and SSA 2010.

30. See Table A6.6 in Annex A for details.

31. See Chapter 4 for further details.

32. Multivariate analysis was used to explore which factors were significantly and independently associated with thinking that older people should be made to retire to make way for younger age groups. The model included: age, education, income, socio-economic classification, current working status and self-rated hardship (see Table A6.7 in Annex A for details).

33. For further information on guidance for employers in relation to religion or belief in the workplace see:

34. For example, in Farrah v Global Luggage Co Ltd [2012] ET/2200147/2012 an employee's claim for constructive unfair dismissal was upheld when she was forced to resign by her employer who considered that her wearing of a headscarf went against the company's projected 'trendy' image (Farrah v Global Luggage Co Ltd). However, in another case an employer was held not to have discriminated against a Muslim teacher who was asked to remove her veil while teaching children (Azmi v Kirklees MBC [2007] IRLR 434 ( EAT)). In Eweida v United Kingdom [2013] ECHR 37, the European Court of Human Rights held that an employer's uniform policy had breached an employee's human rights by requiring her to conceal a Christian cross visible over her clothing. The court held that the employer had failed to strike a fair balance between their desire 'to project a certain corporate image' and the employee's wish 'to manifest her religious belief', and stated that 'a healthy democratic society needs to tolerate and sustain pluralism and diversity'.

35. 'Say a bank interviews a Sikh man for a job serving customers. The man wears a turban. Should the bank be able to insist the man takes his turban off while he is at work?'

36. 'And say a bank interviews a Christian woman for a job serving customers. The woman wears a crucifix which would be visible to customers. Should the bank be able to insist the woman takes off her crucifix while she is at work?'

37. 'What if they interviewed a Muslim woman who wears a veil that covers her face? Should the bank be able to insist the woman takes off her veil while she is at work?'

38. 'What if they interviewed a Muslim woman who wears a headscarf which does not cover her face? Should the bank be able to insist the woman takes the headscarf off while she is at work?'

39. All factors that were significant in the regression models are discussed below. The following factors were not significant in any of the four models: socio-economic classification ( NS- SEC), area deprivation ( SIMD), religious affiliation, whether respondent knows anyone who is a Muslim and whether respondent knows anyone from a different ethnic background.

40. Income was also found to have a statistically significant relationship with attitudes towards the turban. However, the nature of this relationship was unclear.

41. The relationship between whether people feel that 'sometimes there is a good reason for people to be prejudiced' and whether a Muslim woman should be asked to remove her headscarf at work was marginally significant (p=0.061) (See Table A7.1 in Annex A for details).

42. No significant relationship was observed between attitudes to living in a diverse area and attitudes towards the crucifix.

43. 66% who neither agreed nor disagreed that Scotland would begin to lose its identity if more Muslims came to live in Scotland said that a bank should be able to insist that a Muslim woman removes her veil at work.

44. 'Gone too far' combines two answer categories 'gone much too far' and 'gone too far'. 'Not gone far enough' combines two answer categories 'not gone far enough' and 'not gone nearly far enough'.

45. The factors explored were: age, gender, education, income, area deprivation, current religious affiliation, whether people prefer to live in an area with different kinds of people, whether people think Scotland would lose its identity if more Black people and Asians came to live here and whether people knew anyone from certain groups who share protected characteristics.

46. Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2015 - Scottish Government Analysis

47. Source: Annual Population Survey estimates. The official source for earnings is the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings. However, this does not contain information on disabilities.

48. A similar trend, however, was not observed in relation to women. The proportion of people who thought that giving extra opportunities to female employees was unfair remained fairly stable between 2006 and 2015.

49. There were no significant differences by socio-economic class or employment status in relation to views on whether women should be given extra training opportunities.

50. Only income was significantly related to whether people thought that only interviewing female candidates for a job was unfair. 83% of those in the highest income group thought this was unfair compared with 69% of those in the lowest income group.

51. Those who ticked 'can't choose' or did not answer are not shown here, but are included in the base