In Belgium, equal opportunity is a transversal competence. This means it affects all levels of power and that both the Federal State and the federated entities have the powers necessary to push for equal opportunities. Standards have therefore been adopted by the Federal State and the Communities and Regions, and concrete policies are being pursued.

Several laws implement the principle of non-discrimination at the federal level. Two of these fall within the scope of the Federal Equal Opportunities Team, namely the “anti-discrimination law” and the “anti-racism law”.

The Anti-Discrimination Law was adopted on 10 May 2007. It covers the following protected criteria: age, sexual orientation, civil status, birth, wealth, religious or philosophical conviction, political conviction, trade union conviction, language, current or future state of health, disability, physical or genetic characteristic or social origin.

The Anti-Racism Law, dating from 30 July 1981 and amended by a law of 10 May 2007, seeks to punish certain acts inspired by racism and xenophobia. It covers the following criteria: nationality, presumed race, skin colour, and descent or national or ethnic origin.

Secondly, the Gender law of 10 May 2007 refers to the protected criterion of sex. Distinctions based on pregnancy, childbirth, maternity, sex reassignment, gender identity and gender expression are also assimilated. 

Finally, the Sexism Law, which entered into force on 22 May 2014, aims to combat sexism in the public space, forms of sexual harassment, as well as street sexual harassment committed in public places. The Institute for the Equality of Women and Men is competent for these latter laws.

More detailed explanations are available in the Unia Discrimination lexicon.