Stereotyping in Flanders schoolbooks

The Center of Diversity and Learning from Ghent University recently investigated twelve schoolbooks for stereotyping. Among the assumptions include one textbook that uses all Flemish names, except for one story about an unruly student named _Hassan.’ In another instance, a book about fundamentalism brings up articles about the French headscarf ban as an illustration. According to a report, the book unintentionally labels a religious symbol as problematic.

Honor violence under-estimated

According to experts interviewed by Knack magazine, thousands of women and girls in Belgium deal with honor-related violence. Commissioner Marc Van de Plas of the federal police cites 17 honor murders in the last five years in Belgium, notwithstanding the so many other forms of honor-violence: abuse, confinement, kidnapping, forced marriage, etc… Immigrant women are also making up an increasing percentage of women in women’s shelters; in 2006, immigrants accounted for 44% of the women in shelters in Flanders – not including their children. Clinics in Genk and at Ghent University also report the popularity of hymen reconstruction surgeries, with around 30 performed at each facility each year.

Muslims refuse male gynaecologists

BRUSSELS – More and more Muslims are refusing to allow a male gynaecologist to attend at their wives’ deliveries, says the head of gynaecology at the Brussels University Hospital VUB and the Ghent University Hospital. Various newspapers have reported on the problem. The Flemish Association of Gynaecologists are urging for a strict, uniform policy in all hospitals. The phenomenon is common particularly in cities with a large immigrant population. The Flemish Association for Obstetrics and Gynaecology (VVOG) acknowledges the problem and urges a strict attitude. “In my own hospital every patient that absolutely insists on a woman doctor is discharged from the hospital immediately,” explains Johan Van Wiemeersch at the Sint-Augustinus in Wilrijk. “As an association of gynaecologists we are urging that these same strict regulations be in place in all maternity wards.”