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Country: Belgium

Organisation responsible: Ministry of Wallonia-Brussels Federation

Main topic addressed: Gender mainstreaming in policy

Type of resource/practice: Legislation and policy

Discipline: Multi-sport

Target group(s): All the citizens in Wallonia-Brussels Federation

Timing: 2016 and ongoing

Language: French

Brief description of the practice: Achieving gender mainstreaming in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation requires a real change of mentality, working methods and a real transversal work involving all the competences of the Federation. Conscious that such a policy requires administrative and scientific support, both within the administration and in ministerial cabinets, the Government of Wallonia-Brussels Federation has set up a Gender Support Unit.
Created within the General Secretariat of the Ministry of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, this unit provides support for the gender mainstreaming process in public policies, measures and actions as well as in the whole process. It concerns all competencies of Wallonia-Brussels Federation such as sports.
The Gender Support Unit co-ordinates various missions and mobilises all administrations such as Sports services to be involved in the implementation of statistics disaggregated by sex, gender test and gender budgeting.

Content and objectives: In 2016, the government of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation adopted a decree to integrate a gender dimension in all of its decisions that fall within its competence: education, culture, sport, childhood, media, youth, scientific research, assistance of youth, etc.
In order to enhance the gender mainstreaming in all policies and budgets, a gender support unit has been created.

Its missions are :

  • Support all persons who have to carry out a gender test (impact assessment on equality between men and women) for all new decrees.
  • Ensure a gender analysis of all general administration budgets and expenditures.
  • Promote gender in all general administrations (create a Website, campaigns, etc.)
  • Provide training courses for colleagues who have to analyse new texts or budgets.

Steps/activities of the practice: 

  • Gender test: it is a gender impact test, prior to the decision of the government and must be done for a large number of legislative texts (decrees, draft orders, etc.).
  • Gender budgeting: the objective is to list all the credits that specifically target the equality of women and men by a method of codifying all budgets, among others, sportsrelated expenses.
  • Establishment of structural training with public administration training services.

Resources required: 

The success of this project depends mainly on:

  • - staff especially dedicated to the implementation of gender mainstreaming
  • - support from the hierarchy and the political power. The unit is composed of two people (with masters’ degree) who work full-time on the implementation of gender in politics.
  • - training for all top managers and ministries’ staff members

Achievements and outcomes: Gender budgeting: All budgets and expenditures have been classified and must be updated once a year by the administrations. So, for example, the budget allocated to “Sports summer” was being analysed. It concerns support given to sport clubs in order to organise courses during the summer holidays on the basis of "Summer sports" conventions.

There are two main types of beneficiaries:

  • Municipalities: they make extensive use of this type of subsidy to organise sports courses. However, to date, we do not have the necessary information to make a gender analysis of this part of the budget.
  • Sports federations:

Gender tests: all new decrees and many types of political decisions must be gender analysed. The Gender support unit assists all those who ask for help (members of ministerial offices or administrations).
So, for example, a new decree dealing with sports practices in Federation Wallonia-Brussels has been analysed by the Gender support unit and by Sports Administration in order to improve equality between women and men in sport.
Also, the Gender Support unit has created statistical indicators. One of these indicators is about young people and sport. These indicators were published in March 2019.

Challenges and limitations: Training courses are key challenges: people who perform gender tests have to know concepts and issues related to gender. Therefore, 21 people from the General Administration of Sport attended the gender training.
Knowledge of statistical data on target audiences, both direct and indirect, is needed to mainstream the gender dimension in policies. Also, better visibility of sex disaggregated data, for example through their centralisation at one point, and greater use of these by administrations and governments are necessary to ensure better alignment of equality objectives in the areas concerned.
Gender tests and gender budgeting are tools and not an end in themselves. In this sense, the proposed remedial measures must be effectively integrated into political decision-making.

Follow-up ideas and future plans: The decree provides the establishment of a five-year plan. It will be necessary to set strategic objectives (based on different statements) in all areas, especially for sport.
Improve gender Statistics development about the targeted audiences.

Further information:

Contact person: Gender support unit (

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