The term “discrimination against women” means any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, United Nations, December 1979, Article 1)
“Gender” shall mean the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for women and men. (Council of Europe)
For the purpose of this Recommendation, sexism is: “Any act, gesture, visual representation, spoken or written words, practice or behaviour based upon the idea that a person or a group of persons is inferior because of their sex, which occurs in the public or private sphere, whether online or offline, with the purpose or effect of:
i. violating the inherent dignity or rights of a person or a group of persons; or
ii. resulting in physical, sexual, psychological or socio-economic harm or suffering to a person or a group of persons; or
iii. creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment; or
iv. constituting a barrier to the autonomy and full realisation of human rights by a person or a group of persons; or
v. maintaining and reinforcing gender stereotypes.
(Recommendation CM/Rec(2019)1 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on preventing and combating sexism1 (Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 27 March 2019 at the 1342 nd meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)
Any gesture or behaviour which […] is clearly intended to express contempt for a person, because of his or her sexuality, or to consider him or her, for the same reason, as inferior or as reduced essentially to his or her sexual dimension, and which results in a serious attack on his or her dignity. (Law of 3 August 2014 to combat sexism in the public space and to amend the law of 10 May 2007, Moniteur belge 24-07-2014, Article 2)
Manterrupting is the systematic interruption of women’s speech.
Bropropriating is the act of appropriating the idea expressed by a woman.
Mansplain (verb, informal, from English, less common in French ‘mecplication’): (said of a man) to explain something to a woman in a way that is condescending, paternalistic, presumptuous, oversimplified, or implies that the speaker has no knowledge of the subject. (CM/Rec(2019)1 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to member states on preventing and combating sexism, Council of Europe, April 2019, p.16)
Gender-based violence is a form of discrimination that seriously inhibits women’s ability to enjoy rights and freedoms on a basis of equality with men. (General Recommendation No. 19 (llth session, 1992. Violence against women, United Nations)
The term “gender-based violence and harassment” means violence and harassment directed against a person because of his or her sex or gender or having a disproportionate effect on persons of a particular sex or gender, and includes sexual harassment. (Convention 190, Convention concerning the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the Workplace, International Labour Organization, 2019)
« Violence against women » is understood as a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination against women and shall mean all acts of gender‐based violence that result in, or are likely to result in, physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life; (Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, 11.V.2011, 3a)
The term “gender-based violence against women” refers to any violence against a woman because she is a woman or affecting women disproportionately. (Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, Istanbul, 11.V.2011, Article 3d)
Manifestations of sexism at work are multifaceted. They can take the form of sexist comments and behaviour towards an employee or a group of employees. Sexism at work includes, among other things, derogatory comments, objectification, sexist humour or jokes, overly familiar remarks, silencing or ignoring people, gratuitous remarks about dress and physical appearance, sexist body language, lack of respect, and male practices of bullying or excluding women and co-opting men. (Action kit to act against sexism – Three tools for the world of work, Higher Council for Professional Equality between Women and Men, France, 2016: https://rm.coe.int/16806fbc1d )
“Discrimination at work may be compounded by physical or psychological violence, which may be gender-based.” (European Insitute for Gender Equality (EIGE))
Sexism and sexual harassment are part of the general definition of workplace discrimination. These forms of violence when they occur in a work environment are considered by labor and well-being at work legislation as discrimination and as psychosocial risks (PSR) at work.
The term “violence and harassment” in the world of work refers to a pattern of unacceptable conduct and practices, or threats of such conduct and practices, whether occurring on a single occasion or repeatedly, that are intended to cause, do cause or are likely to cause physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm, and includes gender-based violence and harassment.
(Convention 190, Convention concerning the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the Workplace, International Labour Organization, 2019).
Bullying at work: Repeated abusive conduct of any origin, external or internal to the company or institution, manifested in particular by unilateral behaviour, words, intimidation, acts, gestures and writings, the purpose or effect of which is to harm the dignity or physical or psychological integrity of a worker or another person to whom this chapter applies, during the performance of his or her work, to jeopardise his or her employment or to create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. (Law of 11 June 2002 on protection against violence and moral or sexual harassment at work, Moniteur belge, 22-06-2002, Article 32ter, §2)
Sexual harassment at work: any form of verbal, non-verbal or corporal behaviour of a sexual nature, which the perpetrator knows or should know affects the dignity of women and men in the workplace. (Law of 11 June 2002 on protection against violence and moral or sexual harassment at work, Moniteur belge, 22-06-2002, Article 32ter, §3)
“… any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment…” (Istanbul Convention, 11.V.2011, Art.40)
Under the Istanbul Convention, Parties are obliged to criminalise sexual harassment or subject it to other legal sanctions.
Sexual assault can be defined as any sexual assault committed with violence, coercion, threat or surprise. Examples include kissing on the neck, kissing by surprise, touching the breasts, thighs, buttocks, lower abdomen, etc.
In Belgium, the law distinguishes several types of sexual assault, including indecent assault and rape.
For indecent assault, the law means forced kissing, hands on the buttocks, rubbing, if the victim is forced to undress for a photo shoot, etc.
Rape is any penetration, whether vaginal, anal or oral, by means of a part of the perpetrator’s body or an object, without the consent of the person.
Feminicide is the killing of a woman because she is a woman.