Sexist behaviour to be pubishable by law in Belgium
The law went on the statutes during the tail end of the last parliament, but out in the real world not everybody agrees what is and what is not sexist behaviour.
In order to provide a helping hand the Belgian Institute for the Equality of Women and Men has drawn up a handy ‘Anti-sexism Guidebook‘.
The guide stipulates what its researchers believe constitutes sexist behaviour and what doesn’t.
Everybody is of course free to take or ignore their guidance, but you should be aware that abusers risk a EUR 1,000 fine and between a month and a year in jail.
According to the guidance, building workers can continue to wolf-whistle at any pleasant appearance passing by, but whether you and me can do this kind of thing and get away with it remains unclear.
However, holding people in contempt or making them look ridiculous because of their gender is now punishable by law.
The Institute’s brochure – available in Dutch – illustrates which kind of remarks and acts may open you up to a formal complaint.
It will be up to a judge to decide whether or not you have crossed the line and have committed an offence against Belgium’s ant-sexism law.
The guidelines state that remaking "Oh what a poof" can get you a custodial sentence of between one month and one year as well as a hefty EUR 1,000 euro.
Not everybody is equally impressed by the work.
The rector of Leuven University wants lawmakers to abolish the new law and criticises its lack of clarity.
Flandersnews.be / Expatica