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    Complaints about gender discrimination have doubled

    Complaints about discrimination based on sex or gender at the Institute for Gender Equality doubled last year, report said last Tuesday. The total number of reports received by the Institute increased again last year (549, i.e. +18% compared to 2015). These reports are divided into two categories: requests for information (231) and complaints (318). The increase in the number of recorded reports is mainly due to the increase in the number of complaints compared to 2015 (+49%).

    Most reports were introduced by women (59%) and related to employment discrimination (35%). “The figures show that the position of women in the labour market remains vulnerable”, comments the Institute. The latter cites the “classic” example of a woman dismissed because of pregnancy, but others exist too. For example, a woman with a child may be denied a position because her employer feels she is less flexible, and will be dismissed as a result of absences due to a difficult pregnancy or will no longer be treated as a member of the team after a request for time off. In addition, differences in wages persist between men and women for the same tasks. A total of 38% of all reports related to the field of work concern discrimination in pregnancy or maternity.

    Other reported items include access to goods and services and the provision of goods and services (22%). “Reports introduced in the field of education and training and the number of ‘social security’ complaints also showed a slight increase in 2016”.

    Finally, almost one in seven reports last year concerned discrimination against transgender people. Reports on this issue increased by 23% in one year, continuing an upward trend since 2014. They mainly concerned access to health care, problems with insurance companies and problems in the professional context.

    In 2016, the Institute intervened as a party in 18 cases, for which various courts were seised.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times