According to the Decree of 15 July 1997 on the Introduction of a more Balanced Representation of Men and Women in Advisory Councils, a maximum of two thirds of the members of the Flemish advisory bodies may be of the same sex.
Gender equality is part of a broader equal opportunities policy, including a Flemish Policy Plan for Equal Rights. The Cell Equal Opportunities is an administrative unit created since 1 January 1996 which now belongs to the Flemish Services for the General Government Policy.
In 2017, the Flemish Minister of Culture commissioned research on gender inequality in the arts sector in order to inform potential policies towards more equality, after the journal Rekto: Verso opened the debate on the still persisting gender inequality (for example in power positions and payment) and sexism in the artistic sectors.
French-speaking Community of Belgium
A specific policy on gender equality is being conducted to defend women’s rights and support projects working towards this via an Equal Opportunities Directorate at the Ministry of the French-speaking Community of Belgium. Since 2014, there has been a decree aimed at promoting a balanced representation of men and women in the consultative bodies: a maximum of two thirds of the members may be of the same gender.
It is important to stress that the sectors which are particularly worried by cultural democracy issues, such as continuing education and youth, do subsidise – among others – associations whose main objectives are equality between men and women and the valuing of issues and interests which are particularly feminine or feminist.
Lastly, the French-speaking Community of Belgium has plans in place to combat violence between partners and forced marriages.
The Decree of 3 May 2004 to promote the balanced representation of men and women in consultative committees governs the relative numbers of each sex sitting on councils, commissions, committees and in other statutory bodies that are consulted by the government or its ministers.
The Decree provides that:
- for each actual position, a man and a woman must be nominated;
- no more than two-thirds of the voting members of a consultative committee may belong to the same sex; and
- the government must present a biannual report to the parliament of the German-speaking Community regarding implementation of the Decree.
The rules affect the following bodies, amongst others:
- the Media Council;
- the Management Board of the Belgian Radio and Television Centre;
- the Libraries Advisory Council;
- the Council for Continuing and Adult Education;
- the Council for German-speaking Youth; and
- the Royal Monuments and Countryside Protection Commission.