Belgium: Male/Female United in the Boardroom

  • Abigail Levrau


Belgium, as a hub for international contacts in the heart of Europe, presents a mixed picture with respect to gender issues. The statistics of Eurostat reveal a significant gender gap regarding employment and overall earnings, but the educational numbers are more promising. Since the millennium, Belgium has taken significant steps forward in the field of gender equality. In this context, initiatives were launched to promote a more balanced participation of women in decision-making bodies. More particularly the debate on gender diversity in the boardroom was brought to a head by the approbation of the Law of 28 July 2011 (so-called quota law). At that time, the Belgian corporate world was still dominated by male captains of industry (“Captains of industry” is a phrase frequently used in Belgium to describe businesspeople who are especially successful and powerful.) who also populated the boards of directors (“old boys’ network”) as reflected in the statistics on female directors. It cannot be denied that quota laws are useful as a temporary measure to drive change, but further actions are required to accelerate the process such as a more open recruitment process, training, mentoring and a comprehensive approach towards diversity within companies. Above all, there is a need to change people’s mind about the value women can and should bring in leading roles!


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abigail Levrau
    • 1
  1. 1.Head Office of GUBERNABrusselsBelgium

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