Gender Quotas Database

Country Data

EXPLORE QUOTA DATA    

 

Belgium (Kingdom of Belgium)

Belgium (Kingdom of Belgium) has a Bicameral parliament with legislated quotas for the single/lower house and upper house and at the sub-national level. 64 of 150 (43%) seats in the Chambre des Représentants / House of Representatives are held by women.

At a glance

Structure of Parliament: Bicameral

Are there legislated quotas...

  • For the Single/Lower House? Yes
  • For the Upper House? Yes
  • For the Sub-National Level? Yes

Are there voluntary quotas...

  • Adopted by political parties? No

Is there additional information?...

  • Yes

Last updated: Apr 16, 2019

Single/Lower House

Chambre des Représentants / House of Representatives

Total seats 150
Total Women 64
% Women 43%
Election Year 2019
Electoral System List PR
Quota Type Legislated Candidate Quotas¤
Election details IDEA Voter Turnout - IPU Parline
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas¤ Constitution  
Electoral law

150 members of the House of Representatives are elected using the list proportional representation system in multi-member constituencies. On electoral lists, the difference between the number of candidates of each sex should not be more than one. This also applies to the list of alternates. The 2 top candidates on candidate lists and on the lists of alternates cannot be of the same sex (Electoral Code, Article 117bis).

Legal sanctions for non-compliance Electoral law

If a party fails to comply with the requirement of a gender-balanced composition, their list shall not be admitted by the electoral authorities (Article 119quinquies).

Rank order/placement rules Electoral Law

The two top candidates on candidate lists and on the lists of alternates cannot be of the same sex (Electoral Code, Article 117bis).

Is the provision of direct public funding to political parties related to gender equality among candidates? No data

Absent from laws/unregulated


See more in International IDEA's Political Finance database
Are there provisions for other financial advantages to encourage gender equality in political parties? No data

Absent from laws/unregulated


See more in International IDEA's Political Finance database

Upper House

Senat / Senate

Total seats 60
Total Women 26
% Women 43%
Election Year 2014
Electoral System List PR
Quota Type Legislated Candidate Quotas¤>
Election details IPU Parline
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas¤ Constitution  
Electoral law

On electoral lists, the difference between the number of candidates of each sex should not be more than one. This also applies to the list of alternates. The 2 top candidates on candidate lists and on the lists of alternates cannot be of the same sex (Article 117bis).

Legal sanctions for non-compliance Electoral law If a party fails to comply with the requirement of a gender-balanced composition, their list shall not be admitted by the electoral authorities (Article 119quinquies).
Rank order/placement rules Electoral law

The 2 top candidates on candidate lists and on the lists of alternates cannot be of the same sex (Article 117bis).

Quota at the Sub-National Level

  • Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas¤
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas¤ Constitution  
Electoral law

Local elections are governed by the legislation of the 3 respective regions which largely follows the federal legislation and provides for the parity requirement (50%) of each gender on candidate lists (Article 23 (9) of the Communal Elections Law).

Legal sanctions for non-compliance Electoral law

Non-compliance with the gender-parity legislation results in the rejection of the candidate list (Article 26 (2)).

Rank order/placement rules Electoral law

The 2 top candidates on candidate lists and on the lists of alternates cannot be of the same gender (Article 23 (9)).

Additional Information

The first gender quota law was adopted in 1994. Initially, a transitional provision setting a 25 per cent gender-neutral quota on candidate lists for elections at the sub-national level was implemented, in order to give political parties the chance to adapt to the new rules. For the same reason, the law stipulated that the obligation for political parties not to include in their lists more than two-thirds of candidates of the same gender would be applicable from the 1999 elections. Thus, the quota provisions were not implemented in the 1995 federal elections.

Only in the 1999 and 2000 elections was the quota legislation adopted in 1994 used for the elections at all levels, including communal, provincial, regional, federal and European Parliament elections. The law was then revised in 2002 into its current form and applied to the federal elections in 2007 and the regional and European Parliament elections in 2009. The communal and provincial electoral rules are at this stage locally regulated, but largely follow the federal gender-parity legislation (Meier 2008: 43–44).

According to IPU, "Based on the sixth State reform of October 2011, the 71-member Senate, which comprised 40 directly elected members, was transformed into a 60-member indirectly elected body, comprising 50 senators of the federal entities designated by Community and Regional Parliaments and 10 co-opted senators, selected by the 50 senators." (www.ipu.org).  Furthermore, "The Senate shall not have more than two thirds of its members of the same sex. It shall therefore be composed of at least 20 men and at least 20 women Senators." (www.ipu.org)

http://www.senate.be/www/?MIval=/index_senate&MENUID=14120&LANG=fr

Sources

LEGAL SOURCES:

OTHER SOURCES:

  • Meier, P., ‘Paradoxes in the Meaning of Quotas in Belgium’, in S. Franceschet, M. L. Krook and J. M. Piscopo (eds), The Impact of Gender Quotas (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012);
  • Meier, P., ‘Belgium: A Best Practice Put in Perspective’, in D. Dahlerup and L. Freidenvall (eds), Electoral Gender Quota Systems and Their Implementation in Europe (Brussels: European Parliament, 2008),

Additional reading

  • Meier, P. 2005. ‘The Belgian paradox: inclusion and exclusion of gender issues’, in Lovenduski, J. et al (eds) State Feminism and Political Representation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 41-61.
  • Meier, Petra. 2004. Antitrustwetgeving of aanfluiting van de democratie: hoe Vlaamse politici denken over genderquota. Wetenschappelijke monografie 12. Brussel: Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap.
  • Meier, Petra. 2004. De kracht van de definitie. Quotawetten in Argentinië, België en Frankrijk vergeleken, Res Publica 46(1): 80-100.
  • Meier, Petra. 2004. ‘The Mutual Contagion Effect of Legal and Party Quotas: A Belgian Perspective’, Party Politics, 10, 5: 583–600.
  • Meier, Petra. 2003. Het ligt niet aan de quota: de opmars van vrouwen in de Kamer, Samenleving & Politiek 10(8), 40-48.
  • Meier, Petra. 2003. Nog niet voltooid of gewoon discriminerend? Groepsvertegenwoordiging in termen van taal en sekse, Tijdschrift voor Sociologie 23(2-3), 189-208.
  • Meier, Petra. 2003. Discrimination positive ou discrimination persistente? In: M. Martiniello & A. Rea (eds.) Affirmative action: des discours, des politiques et des pratiques en débat. Louvain-la-Neuve & Liège: Academia-Bruylant & Presses de l'Ulg, 231-252.
  • Mateo Diaz, Mercedes. 2002. ‘Do quotas matter? Positive Actions in the Belgian Parliament.’ Res Publica. 44, no. 1. pp. 49-72.
  • Meier, Petra. 2002. Tussen wens en werkelijkheid: reële en mogelijke impact van quotawetten op kieslijsten. Wetenschappelijke monografie 9. Brussel: Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap.
  • Carton, Ann. 2001. ‘The General Elections in Belgium in June 1999: A Real Breakthrough for Women Politicians?’ European Journal of Women’s Studies. 8, no. 1. pp. 127-135.
  • Caul, Miki. 2001. ‘Political Parties and the Adoption of Candidate Gender Quotas: A Cross National Analysis’. Journal of Politics. 63(4). pp. 1214-1229
  • Marques-Pereira, Bérengère and Gigante, Catherine. 2001. ‘La représentation politique des femmes: Des quotas à la parité?’ Courrier hebdomadaire du Centre de recherche et d’information sociopolitique, pp. 5-40.
  • Meier, Petra. 2001. ‘Aandacht voor de man-vrouw verhouding in de locale politiek.’ Dexia. 55, no. 216. pp. 49-62.
  • Marques-Pereira, Bérengère. 2000. Political Representation in Belgium: Women's Citizenship, Change and Continuation in Parliamentary Debates. Aalborg: Research Programme on Gender, Empowerment and Politics.
  • Marques-Pereira, B. ‘Quotas and parity in Belgium within a European framework’, paper presented at the International Political Science Association World Congress, Quebec, Canada, August 2000.
  • Meier, Petra. 2000a. ‘The Evidence of Being Present: Guarantees of Representation and the Belgian Example’, Acta Politica: International Journal of Political Science, 35, no.1. pp. 64-85.
  • Meier, Petra. 2000b. ‘From Theory to Practice and Back Again: Gender Quota and the Politics of Presence in Belgium.’ Michael Saward (ed.). Democratic Innovation: Deliberation, representation and association. New York: Routledge. pp. 106-116.
  • Meier, Petra. 2000c. ‘Gender as part of Political Identity? Gender Quotas in Parliament, Government and Advisory Committees in Belgium.’ Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association.
  • Amazone. 1999. ‘Wat doet de wet voor een beter gender-evenwicht in de politiek?’ Vrouwenraad. 2. pp. 30-41.
  • Coenen, Marie-Thérèse. 1999. De l'égalité à la parité: Le difficile accès des femmes à la citoyenneté (From equality to parity: The difficult access of women to citizenship). Brussels: Éditions Labor.
  • Meier, Petra. 1998. ‘Vrouwwriendelijke lijsten in 1999?’ Samenleving en Politiek. 5, no. 9. pp. 3-10.
  • Meier, Petra. 1999. ‘Nécessaire mais insuffisante: La loi belge sur le système des quotas’ (Necessary but Insufficient: The Belgian law on the quota system). Paloma Saavedra (ed). Vers une démocratie paritaire. Analyse et revision des lois électorales en vigeur (Towards Parity Democracy. Analysis and revision of existing electoral laws), Madrid: CELEM. pp. 197-218.
  • Peirens, Kirsten. 1999. ‘Vrouwelijke parlementsleden na de verkiezingen van 13 juni 1999: Analyse van de toegang tot een parlementair mandaat.’ Res Publica 41, no. 4. pp. 481-498.
  • Verdussen, Marc. 1999. ‘La participation des femmes aux élections en Belgique.’ Revue française de droit constitutionnel. 10, no. 36. pp. 799-809.
  • Verzele, Valérie and Carine Joly. 1999. La representation des femmes en politique après les elections du 13 juin 1999 (Women’s political representation after the 13 June 1999 elections). Brussels: CRISP.
  • Craeghs, Jo and Wilfried Dewachter. 1998. Vrouwen verkozen. Een eerste onderzoek naar de betekenis van de evenredige vertegenwoordiging, de hoofdvakstem en plaatsvervanging. Leuven: KUL.
  • Gubin, Éliane and Leen Van Molle (eds) 1998. Femmes et politique en Belgique (Women and politics in Belgium). Brussels: Racine.
  • Marques-Pereira, Bérengère. 1998. La citoyenneté politique des femmes (Women’s political citizenship). Brussels: CRISP.
  • Marques-Pereira, Bérengère. 1998. ‘La parité: les termes du débat’ (Parity: The Terms of Debate). Hedwige Peemans Poullet (ed.). La démocratie à l’épreuve du féminisme (Democracy tested by feminism).Brussels: Université des Femmes. pp. 175-191.
  • Paye, Olivier. 1998. ‘La loi de 1994 promouvant la representation des femmes en politique: La parité par les quotas?’ (The 1994 Law Promoting Women’s Political Representation: Parity by Quotas?). Hedwige Peemans Poullet (ed.). La démocratie à l’épreuve du féminisme (Democracy Tested by Feminism). Brussels: Université des Femmes. pp. 193-220.
  • Van Molle, Leen and Eliane Gubin. 1998. Vrouw en politiek in België. Tielt: Lannoo.
  • Woodward, Alison. 1998. ‘Politische Partizipation von Frauen in Belgien: Die gespaltene Frau.’ Beate Hoecker (ed). Handbuch Politische Partizipation von Frauen in Europa, Oplande: Leske und Budrich. pp. 17-39.
  • Inter-Parliamentary Union. 1997. Participation of Women in Political Life. Geneva: Inter-Parliamentary Union.
  • Joly, Carinne. 1997. Parité ou quotas: quelle solution pour une plus grande representation des femmes en politique? (Parity or quotas: what solution for a greater representation of women in politics?). Brussels: Institut de Formation de l’Administration fédérale.
  • Paye, Olivier. 1997. ‘Féminiser le politique: recitoyennisation ou tribalisation? Une réponse du monde politique belge’ (Feminizing Politics: Recitizenization or tribalization? A reponse to the Belgian political world). Sextant. 7. pp. 139-161.
  • Marques-Pereira, Bérengère. 1996. ‘Citoyenneté et representation. Quelques repères utiles à l’analyse comparative.’ (Citizenship and Representation: Some useful benchmarks from comparative analysis). Alisa del Re and Jacqueline Heinen (eds.). Quelle citoyenneté pour les femmes? La crise des Etats-providence et de la representation politique en Europe (What Citizenship for
  • Carton, Ann. 1995. ‘Paritaire democratie: een definitieve stap vooruit.’ Nederlandstalige Vrouwenraad (ed.). Jaarboek van de vrouw. Leuven: Acco. pp. 71-89
  • Uyttendaele, Mark and Jérôme Sohier. 1995. ‘Les quotas féminins en droit electoral ou les paradoxes de l’égalité’ (Quotas for women in electoral legislation or the paradoxes of equality). Journal des tribunaux. 114. pp. 249-256.
  • Marques-Pereira, Bérengère. 1994. ‘Le genre de la representation’ (The Gender of Representation). Manuel de resources women’s studies. Brussels: ULB. pp. 81-88.
  • Leye, Els. 1992. ‘Vrouwen in de politieke besluitvorming.’ Nederlandstalige Vrouwenraad (ed.). Jaarboek van de vrouw. Leuven: Acco. pp. 67-77.
  • Belgian Federal Parliament website, http://www.fed-parl.be/

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