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Gender-political situation in Luxembourg


Legal situation:



Brief description and evaluation

Luxembourg has adopted numerous EU gender equality directives.

The Grand Duchy is the 21st most equal country for women, a new study has found. Geneva-based think tank World Economic Forum said that female Luxembourg residents were 74% as equal as men in the four key areas measured in its Global Gender Gap Index 2013.

Women in the Grand Duchy scored best in the educational attainment category, with a 100% score and ranking first worldwide. The report noted there were 1.12 women for each man enrolled in tertiary education.

Luxembourg females also fared well in the economic participation and opportunity, ranking 7th globally with a score of 81.6% equality. The ranking was boosted by the country’s high estimated earned income, but dragged down by relatively low labour force participation rates.

Women in the Grand Duchy did less well in political empowerment, placing 51st most equal with a score of 17.6% equally. The country was hit by the low number of women in parliament and the lack of a female head of state for the past 50 years.


In December 2012, the criminal code of Luxembourg was modified to widen access to abortion services. The government is currently working on a national action plan for sexual education in schools. While the right to sexual education is enshrined in law in Luxembourg, the lack of a legal framework affects quality.
Pension reforms in Luxembourg finalised in December 2012 failed to address the lack of individualised pension rights for women and men. Numerous awareness-raising campaigns have failed to impact upon the low representation of women in decisionmaking.
At municipal level, the proportion of women councilors is stagnant at 21.5%. Despite two of the main political parties having statutory measures in place for respectively 33% and 50% representation of women on their lists, and other parties having informal targets in place, only 1 in 4 national members of parliament is a woman. Provisions for selfregulation in the private sector are similarly ineffective. A corporate governance code states that “Insofar as possible the board should have an appropriate representation of both genders”, but women represent only 6% of corporate board members. No legal measures are under consideration for political or private sector decision-making bodies.
Women are significantly less likely than men to be employed full-time in Luxembourg. Only 48.5% of women work full-time, compared to 72.4% of men. This gap reflects the persistence of traditional gender roles, notably with regards to care responsibilities for young children and elderly dependent family members. Women’s employment rate drops by 9.4% when they have children under 12. 36% of infants under 3 and 79% of those between 3 and school-age are in formal childcare. Concerning dependent elderly persons, 50% receive formal care.
The gender gap in employment and the lack of individualised pension rights restrict the economic independence of women, although poverty remains limited. It is estimated that 1 in 4 women in Luxembourg will experience domestic violence over her lifetime.1 Luxembourg has a National Action Plan with a gender perspective which tackles some forms of violence against women since 2009, and which will be evaluated at the end of 2013. The country has, for example, the largest number of places in shelters for victims of violence against women of any EU country. On the other hand, there is no official data regarding the occurrence of sexual violence in Luxembourg.
(Quelle: (women_s_watch_luxembourg)

Article on the October 2013 gender equality forum:

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legal situation

Legal situation

Gender equality legislation
Usually Luxembourg national law reproduces the definitions given by EU law. Generally speaking, the Luxembourg government has adopted the so-called ‘one to one’ approach to the implementation of EU law.

The concepts of direct and indirect discrimination as well as those of harassment and sexual harassment are textually reproduced in national legislation transposing EU gender equality law. The concept of sexual harassment at the workplace was introduced on the national level in 2000. Since then, it is laid down by law that employers have to abstain from any sexual harassment in employment relationships.

Employers also have to ensure that any act of sexual harassment of which they are informed ceases immediately, and they are also obliged to take preventive measures to ensure the protection and the dignity of their employees.

Since July 2006, the Luxembourg constitution lays down that women and men are equal regarding rights and duties and that the State promotes the elimination of any obstacles in the field of equality between women and men. Even if positive actions did previously exist, the adoption of this provision provided a legal basis for those actions.

In this area, the Ministry of Equal Opportunities has developed a programme in order to encourage private enterprises to adopt gender equality projects. These positive actions are exclusively addressed in order to promote the under-represented sex on the private labour market.

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Anti-discrimination law
After Luxembourg was condemned by the European Court of Justice in 2004 for its lack of anti-discrimination legislation, two new laws were passed in 2006:

  • Guidelines on equal treatment irrespective of racial or ethnic origin and equal treatment with regard to employment: Sommaire Egalite de Traitment (PDF, 10 pages, 100 KB, in French)

Both laws do not directly refer to gender questions.

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Legislated gender quota with a focus on politics and business

Both Luxemburg’s government and its political parties have their difficulties with quotas for women. Politically, this has led the percentage rate of women to stagnate for many years.

Further reading (in German):

As Luxembourg will implement the corresponding EU directive in full, female company board representation ought to rise to 40% by 2020. Currently it does not reach 10% and companies still partly oppose these measures.

For further reading see (in German):

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Other laws and legislative regulations and government programmes
Equality between women and men has been anchored in the Luxembourg constitution since 2006:

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Current political discourse
An on-going issue is the question of women’s labour market participation and the gender pay gap (women in Luxembourg earn around 13.8% less than their male colleagues). Another long-standing issue is domestic violence and how to deal with it. Government bodies support the girl’s/boy’s day. 

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NGOs: political parties, civil society organisations
Conseil National des femmes du Luxembourg (in French):
‘For equal rights, treatment and opportunities for men and women’


Address and contact:
Bâtiment Chambre des Métiers
2, circuit de la Foire Internationale
L-1347 Luxembourg
Tel.:  +352/29 65 25

Cid-Femmes - Frauen in Politik, Kultur und Gesellschaft (in German and French):
Cid-femmes has a women’s library and houses a women’s musical archive with over 20,000 books, CDs, magazines and musical scores.

The collection covers a broad set of issues ranging from the international women’s movement, to gender studies, female art and biographies, to works of fiction and literature for children and young people featuring strong female/girl characters.
The organisation comments on current politics and plays an active role in culture and society.

Fédération des Femmes Cheffes d'Entreprise du Luxembourg (Federation of Luxembourg businesswomen, in French):
Founded in September 2004, FFCEL brings together female company bosses in Luxembourg. Building on the idea of mutual support, the association offers support, training and information and raises the visibility of businesswomen at the top of businesses. Members can also draw on the network for knowledge and experience.

Femmes en Detresse (Women in distress, in French) offline on 28.05.2011:
The association aims to offer women, their children and girls effective protection from violence by establishing and managing shelters for women and girls in distress, as well as information centres and advice.

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Government, ministries

Ministry for Equal Opportunities (in French):
Minister Lydia Mutsch (since 6.12.2013 she has also been the health minister).
Ministry for Equal Opportunities
19-21, boulevard Royal
L - 2921 Luxembourg
Tel.: +352 247-85814
Fax: +352 24 18 86

The website features numerous links to publications and organisations in Luxembourg, for example to the national action plan for the equality between women and men:

The actions and projects run by the Ministry for Equal Opportunities concentrate mainly on the following issues:

  • affirmative action in the private sector
  • anti-violence work
  • equality between women and men in the communes
  • campaigns and communication
  • affirmative action in the public sector
  • equal pay – the Logib-Lux application (
  • DivBiz – diversity in business
  • networks for collaboration

The ministry is present in various commissions and workgroups. These include inter-ministerial workgroups for collaboration and development, for strategies for social inclusion and for European policy. An overview of its national and international institutional activities can be found here:

The ministry is charged with coordinating the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Equality between Women and Men, the Committee for Affirmative Action in the Private Sector  as well as the Special Committee against Violence .

Direct link to fundamental legal texts: Bases légales (in French)

Comité du Travail féminin (CTF)  (Women’s Labour Committee) (in French):
The committee (CTF) consults the government. It can request infomation and start its own initiatives related to the training and professional promotion of women. The CTF is entitled to make proposals to the government or the Ministry of Equal Opportunities for actions to improve the situation of women. CTF’s latest published activity is a press release concerning pension insurances from January 2012.

The committee consists of 21 members plus an equal number of deputies appointed for three years by the minister (Membres du CTF). (in French)

Important sources:

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The University of Luxembourg has a Gender Studies research group (in German)


The research group Gender Studies:

  • analyses the construction processes of identities and migration processes in social, cultural, historical and political contexts from a cross-sectional perspective. Ethnicity and gender are analysed next to categories such as age, socio-economic status, and bodily constitution. Besides dealing with questions surrounding gender relations and migratory processes, the group also examines how cultural practices are tied to (un)equal relations of power and knowledge.
  • is characterised by a highly trans-disciplinary approach. Pedagogy, psychology, communication science, political science, English studies, and migration-focussed research are all central to the research focus.
  • allows for the construction, re-construction and de-construction of social discourses and thereby understands itself as a networked space that is linked to other entities.

Current research projects:

„IDENT2 – “Strategies of Regionalisation: Constructing Identity Across Borders” (collaboration) / Project directors: Professor Markus Hesse and Professor Sonja Kmec

“Realities of Education and Care: Quality and Qualification in flexible structures of childcare in Luxembourgian ‘Maison Relais pour Enfants’ (MRE) – Project parts A and B.” Project director: Professor Christel Baltes-Löhr and Professor Michael Sebastian Honig; in collaboration with Dr Annette Schuhmacher.

Focus of research project A:
An analysis of satisfaction among parents, child care providers and the politically responsible, concerning the improved work-life balance provided by MRE.

  • Further research projects here

Professor Christel Baltes-Löhr
Professor, Gender representative
University of Luxembourg
Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education
Route de Diekirch
L-7220 Walferdange
Campus Walferdange, Bât. X, 1.21
Tel.: (+352) 46 66 44 9272
Fax: (+352) 46 66 44 9950

Availability of sources
There are quite a number of sources, mostly in French. Keywords for research are: "égalité entre femmes et hommes".

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This study was conducted by Tanja Berger und Pamela Dorsch and comissioned by the Gunda Werner Institute of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in 2010. Last updated: 2013.

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