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Women’s Day: 7 in 10 work discrimination complaints come from women

15:06 08/03/2018

According to Brussels’ employment and training agency Actiris, 69% of complaints regarding discrimination in the workplace in Belgium come from women. The agency was quoting figures released by Belgium’s Institute for the Equality of Women and Men on the occasion of Women’s Day.

Although some of the complaints have to do with other aspects then gender, a large majority of them are directly related to gender. More than half, for instance, have to do with maternity leave, including not being hired because of a fear that maternity leave will soon follow.

“These troubling figures prove that there is still a lot of work to do in eliminating gender discrimination in the workplace,” said Actiris director-general Grégor Chapelle. “We invite both employers and employees to call on our services to find solutions together. Fighting all forms of discrimination is in Actiris’s DNA.”

Actiris has spearheaded a number of measures over the last few years, including working with the Free University of Brussels (ULB) on strict gender polices regarding hiring and promotions and the launch of a “diversity label”. A company can earn the label through a variety of initiatives. Actiris even offers subsides for diversity initiatives.

No kids? No job

In a confirmation of the equality institute’s findings, Belgian statistics bureau Statbel reports today that women with two children find it easier to land jobs that women without children. Again, employers are weighing the chances of a women taking maternity leave in the hiring process.

According to Statbel, 79% of women in Belgium with two children have jobs. Although it would be assumed that more women without children would have jobs, the opposite was true: The figure drops to 77.5%.

“Employers hesitate to hire women who they think are going to get pregnant soon,” economics professor Stijn Baert of Ghent University told VRT. “Women with one or two children have a better chance.”