Institute for the Equality of Women and Men

The Institute for the Equality of Women and Men was founded in 2002 in Belgium and is a federal public institution responsible for guaranteeing and promoting gender equality and combating any form of gender-based discrimination and inequality. It conducts studies, assists individuals and organizations with requests for information, and treats complaints from gender discrimination victims. The gender pay gap has been at the heart of the actions of the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men since its very beginning. In 2006, the federal government decided that there was a need for official gender pay gap data to be published annually. Since 2007 the Institute, in cooperation with FPS ELSD and the Directorate General Statistics, has been publishing an annual report containing clear policy recommendations. In 2008, the Federal Planning Bureau joined in. These reports receive a lot of media attention, and help keep the gender pay gap on the political agenda. In 2010, during the Belgian Presidency of the European Union, the Institute published a European gender pay gap report, and organized a big conference on that subject. In 2012, a law on tackling the gender pay gap was passed. The law was partly inspired by the policy recommendations of the gender pay gap reports. The law is quite elaborate and states that on the national level of collective labour negotiations there is an obligation to discuss the gender pay gap and how to deal with it, biannually.

In addition, the Institute publishes statistics on the gender pension gap. Although the gap is clearly problematic and older women are more at risk of poverty, gender is currently not given enough attention in the ongoing debate on how to reform pensions for the future generations.