Gender, Mobility, and Covid-19: The Case of Belgium


Ella, Giscard Assoumou. 2020. “Gender, Mobility, and Covid-19: The Case of Belgium.” Feminist Economics. doi:10.1080/13545701.2020.1832240.

Author: Giscard Assoumou Ella


Studies have shown that women are disadvantaged when facing infectious disease outbreaks. This study uses descriptive data analysis, causality, and VAR modeling to verify this hypothesis in the case of COVID-19 in Belgium in relation to people’s mobility. The results confirm this women’s disadvantage hypothesis, in particular among the working-age population in Belgium. This disadvantage is explained by women’s greater mobility during the pandemic. Despite the restrictions on nonessential travel imposed by Belgian authorities, women use public transportation more often than men to travel for work and family reasons and are thus more likely to be exposed to the virus. Therefore, it is necessary that the health, economic, and social response provided by the Belgian authorities correct this inequality. HIGHLIGHTS Belgium has a larger share of women with confirmed COVID-19 cases than most countries. Women are a large proportion of the country’s essential and frontline workers. Women’s use of public transportation during lockdown to fulfill responsibilities increased their exposure to the virus. The measures to combat COVID-19 in Belgium must correct the inequalities caused by the pandemic to women’s detriment. Belgian women should join the health, economic, and social response against the pandemic to prevent future health crises.

Keywords: gender, women's disadvantage, COVID-19, Belgium, confirmed cases, infection

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Health, Infrastructure, Transportation Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: Belgium

Year: 2020

Do Welfare State Taxes and Transfers Reduce Gender Income Inequality? Evidence from Eight European Countries


Avraam, Silvia and Daria Popova. 2020. “Do Welfare State Taxes and Transfers Reduce Gender Income Inequality? Evidence from Eight European Countries.” Working Paper EM 09/20, EuroMod at the Institute for Social and Economic Research, Essex.

Authors: Silvia Avraam, Daria Popova


We complement the institutional literature on gender and the welfare state by examining how taxes and transfers affect the incomes of men and women. Using microsimulation and intra-household income splitting rules, we measure the differences in the level and composition of individual disposable incomes of men and women in eight European countries covering various welfare regime types. We quantify the extent to which taxes and transfers are able to close the gender gap in earnings, as well as which policy instruments contribute most to reducing the gap. We find that with the exception of old- age pensions, taxes and transfers – both contributory and means-tested – significantly reduce gender income inequality but cannot compensate for high gender earnings gaps. The equalizing effect of benefits is higher than that of taxes but varies significantly not only across countries but also across groups with different demographic characteristics. 

Keywords: gender inequality, income distribution, welfare state, social policy, Europe

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households Regions: Europe, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Western Europe Countries: Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Romania, Spain, United Kingdom

Year: 2020

Gender Budgeting in G7 Countries


International Monetary Fund. 2017. “Gender Budgeting in G7 Countries.” Washington, D.C.: International Monetary Fund

Author: International Monetary Fund


"Executive Summary:
At the request of the Italian Presidency of the G7, the IMF has prepared a paper on gender-budgeting as a contribution to the G7 initiative on equality. The paper provides an overview of gender-responsive budgeting concepts and practices in the G7 countries. It summarizes recent trends in gender equality in G7 and advanced countries, noting that while equality has improved overall, exceptions and gaps remain.
Recognizing that many fiscal policies have gender-related implications, this paper:
Sets out the main fiscal policy instruments, both expenditure and tax, that have a significant impact on gender equality.
Provides a conceptual framework for the public financial management (PFM) institutions that play an enabling role in implementing gender-responsive fiscal policies. These instruments include gender budget statements, gender impact assessments, performance-related budget frameworks, and gender audits. Ministries of finance have an especially important role in promoting and coordinating gender budgeting, and associated analytical tools.
Provides an assessment of the status of gender budgeting in the G7 countries. In preparing the paper, the IMF carried out a survey of PFM institutions and practices in the G7, as well as in three comparator countries that are relatively strong performers in developing gender-responsive budgeting (Austria, Belgium, and Spain). This information was complemented by other sources, including recent studies by the OECD and the World Bank.
The main policy implications and conclusions of the paper include:
Well-structured fiscal policies and sound PFM systems have the potential to contribute to gender equality, furthering the substantial progress already made by the G7 countries.
While G7 countries have made effective use of a wide range of fiscal and non-fiscal policies to reduce gender inequalities, there has generally been less progress in developing effective gender-specific PFM institutions; embedding a gender dimension in the normal budgeting and policy-making routines varies across G7 countries and is not done systematically.
Fiscal policy instruments of relevance to increasing gender equality include the use of tax and tax benefits to increase the supply of female labor, improved family benefits, subsidized child-care, other social benefits that increase the net return to women’s work, and incentives for businesses to encourage the hiring of women" (IMF)

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender Budgeting, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Financial Institutions Regions: Americas, North America, Asia, East Asia, Europe, Central Europe, Southern Europe, Western Europe Countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, United States of America

Year: 2017

Manoeuvring Men: Masculinity as Spatially Defined Readability at the Grandes Manoeuvres of the Belgian Army, 1882–1883


Hoegaerts, Josephine. 2010. “Manoeuvring Men: Masculinity as Spatially Defined Readability at the Grandes Manoeuvres of the Belgian Army, 1882–1883.” Gender, Place & Culture 17 (2): 249–68. doi:10.1080/09663691003600330.

Author: Josephine Hoegaerts


This article uses the case study of the Belgian grandes manoeuvres of 1882 and 1883 to explore the ways in which self-defined ‘all male’ spaces can contribute to the study and deconstruction of historical masculinities. Using the manoeuvres of the Belgian army at the end of the nineteenth century as a theatre of (military as well as civilian) corporeal and discursive practices, the simultaneous enactment of masculinity and nation is analysed. The material spaces in which these military exercises took place are understood as contingent creators instead of passive containers of masculinity: that is, rather than as a passive background to soldiers' movements, the champ de manoeuvres appears as an active stage, aiding the construction of a gendered military identity, but also challenging dichotomous understandings of gender. Likewise, the gaze upon both landscape and soldiers by different audiences plays an active part in the story of the construction of masculinity and nation: the act of recognition, performed by male and female civilians, during and after the manoeuvres was crucial for the continuous repetition of the discourse that created and upheld notions of ‘man’ and of ‘Belgium’.

Keywords: masculinity, gender performance, military history, nation, Belgium

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarism, Nationalism Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: Belgium

Year: 2010

Gender Budgeting in Belgium: Findings From a Pilot Project


Holvoet, Nathalie. 2007. “Gender Budgeting in Belgium: Findings From a Pilot Project.” European Societies 9 (2): 275-300.

Author: Nathalie Holvoet


The article highlights activities and findings of the Belgian initiative regarding gender budgeting, which are put against the background of theory and practice developed so far elsewhere. Attention is drawn upon the opportunities of gender budgeting to push further forward the policy goals of gender equality, thereby overcoming a number of problems commonly associated with the currently widely propagated strategy of gender mainstreaming. The article provides first-hand information on the origin of the Belgian initiative, its political location, the activities performed and the methodology used. Analysis of findings addresses a number of key dimensions in gender budgeting, including (i) the overarching importance of the political location, (ii) the internal management and monitoring function of gender budgeting and the importance of prevailing budgetary systems, and (iii) the external accountability function of gender budgeting and the need to link up with outside government initiatives.

Keywords: gender budgeting, Belgium, gender mainstreaming, gender budget analysis, accountability, public management

Topics: Gender, Gender Budgeting, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: Belgium

Year: 2007

Too Late for Gender Mainstreaming? Taking Stock in Brussels


Woodward, Alison E. 2008. “Too Late for Gender Mainstreaming? Taking Stock in Brussels.” Journal of European Social Policy 18 (3): 289–302. doi:10.1177/0958928708091061.

Author: Alison E. Woodward


Gender mainstreaming is one of the major strategies adopted by the European Union and member states for achieving gender equality. It is seen as a major success, and other social movements have begun to demand mainstreaming for their issues in European social policy. This article considers eight recent studies which include Belgium, a middle case as far as European gender equality is concerned. They show meager results in terms of altering the understanding of equality policy to include a gender perspective, and applying efforts transversally. The article also evaluates the successes and challenges of the gender mainstreaming strategy ten years after its adoption. It then examines the changes in the organization of EU equality issues with regard to diversity and the implications for the gender mainstreaming strategy. These changes include efforts to address new target groups under Article 13 as well as the issues posed by enlargement. It thus addresses the question: To what extent can experience relating to gender mainstreaming be utilized to meet evolving demands? Recent developments in intersectional theory may offer fruitful new angles.

Topics: Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: Belgium

Year: 2008

Military Women in the NATO Armed Forces


García, Sarah.1999. “Military Women in the NATO Armed Forces.” Minerva: Quarterly Report on Women and the Military 17 (2): 33-82.

Author: Sarah García


In June 1998, officers (men and women) assembled in Brussels to discuss means to improve equity and expand the employment of women in the NATO armed forces. About 90 comrades in arms from fourteen allied nations, plus guests from the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, now new NATO members, as well as from  Sweden, met to discuss the committee's goals and objectives. This first-time participation by Partner nations unequivocally enhanced the committee's work, especially where it involves mentoring, equality, and recruiting programs. The dialogue and cooperation between Allied and Partner nations at the conference was mutually advantageous to NATO's mission readiness capabilities and efforts to ensure the recognition and empowerment of all military personnel. The Committee prepared an "Issue Book" containing recommendations and rationales for the Military Committee and national authorities to consider when determining integration policy/initiative within their armed forces. That was the first time the committee had developed such a comprehensive product geared specifically to focus NATO in this process. In support of NATO's Enhanced Partnership for Peace (PfP) program, which began five years ago and centered on "fostering military co-operation between NATO and non-NATO states to, among other aims, strengthen the ability to undertake peacekeeping and humanitarian missions and developing military forces better able to operate with those of NATO members," 8 the 1998 Brussels Conference sparked the beginning of the Committee on Women's cooperative dialogue with PfP nations. For example, discussions centered on equality, in terms of training and promotion (rank and career opportunities); utilization and development via recruitment, mentoring, and retention; and improving the quality of life for women in uniform by eliminating gender discrimination and sexual harassment. Since then, Partner nations have expressed  interest in the committee, its goals and objectives, and assistance from the Women In the NATO Forces (WINF) office. In the five decades of its existence, the NATO alliance has "evolved from a traditional military alliance for collective defence into a political-military organisation for security cooperation, with an extensive bureaucracy and complex decision-making processes." The alliance is now redefining its mission as a result of the end of the Cold War. In an even briefer span of time, the position of women in the military has undergone meaningful change in many NATO nations, and "As these changes take place, the disparate gender politics among its member governments take on even more importance." The debate over women's participation in the military is far from over. Despite those debates, new threats to NATO's collective security, the reorganization of armies and international staffs, advanced weapons technology, and new peacekeeping operations challenge traditional military structures and functions and make the utilization of all available human resources, men and women, imperative. Integrating women into any military is an evolutionary process, now underway in all NATO member nations. Personnel policies that insure a military establishment of the highest quality possible with the resources available are an essential part of this process.

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Men, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Equity, International Organizations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Peacekeeping Regions: Europe, Central Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe, Western Europe Countries: Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Sweden

Year: 1999

Sisyphus' Sisters: Can Gender Mainstreaming Escape the Genderedness of Organizations?


Benschop, Yvonne, and Mieke Verloo. 2006. “Sisyphus’ Sisters: Can Gender Mainstreaming Escape the Genderedness of Organizations?” Journal of Gender Studies 15 (1): 19-33.

Authors: Yvonne Benschop, Mieke Verloo


Currently, gender mainstreaming is presented as bringing new élan to gender equality policies. Gender mainstreaming is a gender equality strategy that aims to transform organizational processes and practices by eliminating gender biases in existing routines, involving the regular actors in this transformation process. In this article, we question the aspirations of gender mainstreaming. Can gender mainstreaming escape the genderedness of organizations; can it genuinely effect change, or does it inevitably become compromised? Our analysis of a case project within Human Resource Management in the Ministry of the Flemish Community in Belgium shows that gender mainstreaming does indeed bring about changes, but that it does not break down the genderedness of organizations substantially. While gender mainstreaming invokes an image of cooperation between equal parties that pursue a dual agenda of business needs and feminist goals, our analysis shows that crucial power differences between those parties determine the outcome. The complex social dynamics of gender mainstreaming entail compromises in the context of these power differences, which seriously hinder the transformative and innovative potential of gender mainstreaming. 

Keywords: gender mainstreaming, equality policy, personnel management, participatory research, Belgium

Topics: Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: Belgium

Year: 2006

Noise Over Camouflaged Polygamy, Colonial Morality Taxation, and a Woman-Naming Crisis in Belgian Africa


Hunt, Nancy Rose. 1991. “Noise Over Camouflaged Polygamy, Colonial Morality Taxation, and a Woman-Naming Crisis in Belgian Africa.” The Journal of African History 32 (3): 471-94.

Author: Nancy Rose Hunt


This essay concerns the peculiarities and contradictions of colonial morality taxation and legislation in Belgian Africa, and especially highlights analytical and historical commonalities between anti-polygamy measures and the unusual Belgian practice of taxing urban unmarried women. More generally, it is about colonialism and moral crisis, historical evidence and camouflage, popular memory and silence, colonial name-giving, and name-calling. I cannot be the first to notice that where women most often appear in the colonial record is where moral panic surfaced, settled and festered. Prostitution, polygamy, adultery, concubinage and infertility are the loci of such angst throughout the historical record of Belgian African colonial regimes, and one sometimes feels hard pressed to find women anywhere else. Yet moral crises did not always emerge due to the (perceived) customs and actions of the colonized. They also erupted from colonial policy and law itself, from the insight (or hindsight) that colonial policy was misconcerived or bred dangerous contradictory consequences. I begin in the midst of one kind of colonial noise: an historically shifting crisis in Belgian Africa over plural wives, and loud colonial debates over moral taxation and how best to preserve 'custom' while eradicating polygamy. This will serve as the context for considering another related, though temporally and geographically more confined crisis: the rebellion in the 1950s of Swahili women against the single women's tax in colonial Bujumbura. This local crisis also became noisy. Yet here the noise erupted as volatile African outrage, and its contrast betrays the embarassed silence and muted debates among colonial authorities over the contradictions and failings of moral taxation and policing measues. 

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Governance, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Political Economies, Political Participation, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Europe, Western Europe Countries: Belgium

Year: 1991

‘Le Bebe En Brousse’: European Women, African Birth Spacing and Colonial Intervention in Breast Feeding in the Belgian Congo


Hunt, Nancy Rose. 1988. “‘Le Bebe En Brousse’: European Women, African Birth Spacing and Colonial Intervention in Breast Feeding in the Belgian Congo.” The International Journal of African Historical Studies 21 (3): 401-32.

Author: Nancy Rose Hunt

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Women, Health, Reproductive Health Regions: Africa, Central Africa, Europe, Western Europe Countries: Belgium, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 1988

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