Thursday , October 21 2021

In the public service, we always sing "Where are women?"


The Belgian public sector remains a business man. This is confirmed by European data: only 10% of women in high public offices.

It was enough to leave, only one, last representative of the fair sex aboard the National Bank of Belgium (Marcia De Wachter) to provoke a feminist tornado on each floor of the political microcosmeven within the federal government.

3 women for 14 ministers, one secretary of state, no vice president. Men are in power, the skirts stay in the kitchen.

Then man. In addition to other factors questioning this meeting, the fact that there are no women on the BNB executive committee annoys more than one. Deputy Prime Minister Vld Alexander De Croo broke a concise comment: "No woman (on the board of the NBB) it is not a good thing "he once thought the name Vanackere & # 39; appeared in orbit.

Like the finance minister, Johan Van Overtveldt, who judged … after the fact (after he put the name of his colleague Vanackere & # 39; on the table) that it would be necessary to improve the male-female ratio in the NBB … Add to this feminist wing of CD & V (Vrouw & Maatschappij), who came out on the front, shouting with disapproval that the only female presence in the BNB executive committee disappears under the care minister's pen.

A very male Swede

The government turned upside down, through this story of the feminization of high positions. The government still considered it too testosterone. Think about it, only 3 women from 14 ministers, one secretary of state, no deputy prime minister. Men are in power, the skirts stay in the kitchen.

Nobody exaggerates. Certainly Dominique Leroy (Proximus) and Sophie Dutordoir (SNCB) also run two public companies. But after scanning various public administrations, companies managed by the Belgian state, paragraphs, intergovernmental organizations, it is clear that at all levels of power, be it in the Federal or the Regions, tall women are rare, like Edelweiss in the French Alps.


There are only 18% of women in executive committees of public enterprises, compared to 32% in certification authorities (subject to quotas).

Usually, executive committees win. In the case of governing bodies, the Act of 2011 provides greater presence of women on the boards of public companies, listed companies and the national lottery. The Royal Decree of 2012 extends the scope to all federal services (paragraph, OIP, …). But apart from a few well-targeted cases (Infrabel, Belgocontrol, Institute for Equality between Women and Men, Sowalfin in Wallonia), we are still far from the 30% mark. Another nuance, public enterprises respect these amounts more. With the exception of Belfiusza and bpost. A BNB? It is not subject to the law …

These rules on quotas did not therefore work in the steering committees. And it is a bit logical. "The presence in the management committee is the result of a career– says Isabella Lenarduzzi, founder of Jump Women & # 39; s Entrepreneurship Network. Measures to increase the presence of women will have to be different. " But for her it is in the public service that we have to set an example. And there is work …

In Brussels in recent years, women have been on managerial positions at various levels.

Take federal public administration. Only 24% of women are in the SPF directorates. Good class students are FPS Social Security and Science Policy, with a percentage of 40%. Those who reduce the amounts are FPS Finance (8% of women in this direction), Public Health and Sustainable Development (0% …). In SPW and in Brussels, I go. We remain below 30%. The best managers are even more challenging. Only one woman sits at the top, Isabelle Mazzara (SPF Interior), with 11 positions filled. Wallonia is better: 4 out of 10.

In Brussels, a lot has changed. These last years were marked by the accession of women to managerial positions at various levels. and Brussels Urbanism and Heritage (BUP), new institutions dependent on the region, are run by women. It should be noted, however, that of the 27 leadership positions at the regional level only 7 are currently occupied by women ….

The analysis of many boards, which emphasize the regional institutional lasagne, is often emphasized by the vast majority of men. distribution of municipal mandates in intergovernmental after the October elections may reflect this trend.


Red lantern

This observation of the gross absence of women at the highest levels of power is not new. The European Institute for Gender Equality silences one number, one claiming that the opposite is true: in 2018. there is only 10% of women in ranking 1If we go one step, the rate grows slightly: 23% among officials on the 2nd position. We are far from the EU average of 35% of senior government officials. And this drives our country to the bottom of European rankings.

More women in management committees can also change wage gaps and women's presence in the labor market.

We are the red lantern of Europe, our administrations deserve a mask. At least, if we think that a greater presence of women in high positions is necessary. So many people think in the name of equality and the fight against discrimination. The fight that is reflected in the field of equal pay: more women in executive committees can also change the pay gap and the presence of women in the labor market.

This week – the truth, a storm in the BNB case – finance minister Johan Van Overtveldt raised the gender equality flag high through the BNB reform project. The aim of the text is in particular the feminization of the institution's direction (read L & # 39; Echo from 8/11). CD & V MP Griet Smaers also submitted a bill in the House, which is planning to introduce contingent of one-third of women in the management committee, Regency Council and Council of NBB Censors.

The law, is it useful when we know that the appointment depends on other factors (including, first of all, the theory of … competence)?

This debate extends well beyond the boundaries of the banking institution. In February, the Ecolo-Groen group proposed a resolution on gender balance in the management boards of public companies and Belfius. But the law, is it really useful when we know that the appointment depends on other factors (including, first of all, the theory … competence)?

Some people doubt it, starting with the female managers themselves. Isabella Lenarduzzi also notes that wherever you look, the amounts are not always respected. "The law is necessary but not sufficient. However, the amounts, even if no one really wants, are necessary to break the gap between them. Otherwise, we will not succeed … "

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