© Sept 2001
Gender Mainstreaming Strategies in the Netherlands1. Action Plans for Gender Mainstreaming
Official name: Meerjarenprogramma Emancipatiebeleid
The plan was presented early 2001, but sent back by the Lower House to the minister of emancipation, because the plans in the program are not clear enough.
The main characteristic of the plan is the so called 'two flows policy' ('twee sporen beleid'), which means that emancipation policy consists of new, progressive emancipation on the one hand, and integrating equal opportunities in all policy ('gender mainstreaming') on the other hand.
Special groups within the plan are single moms, ethnic minorities, and families where both parents work. I have no idea what the allocated budget is, and where to find it, and the server is down!
2. Getting ready for Gender Mainstreaming
There are plans to organise a conference on image building of women and feminism, but these plans are not very elaborate.
There is a centre for expertise on gender and ethnicity, that joins knowledge and expertise on these fields. This centre is called E-quality. In the nineties the government reorganised subsidies on women's organisations to make it a more professional branch. E-quality is one of the only organisations that actually survived, not only in existing, but also in fame. Another is 'Vrouwenalliantie' (Women's alliance) a cooperation of more traditional women's groups. E-quality is a centre of expertise in gender and ethnicity, and the women's alliance a lobbying group for equal opportunities.
With the reorganisation, the power of the organisations vanished. Feminism and emancipation of women is not a very fashionable subject in Dutch society. Discussions with a clear gender-dimension, such as division of labour and care, are often set in a genderless manner. Although the junior minister of emancipation did make a new program, this new policy was briefly discussed the Lower House and sent back due to unclearness- so the process is a bit quiet at the moment.
3. Gender mainstreaming targeted explicitly at women in decision-making
The official position of the Dutch government regarding women in politics is stated in the standpoint on women in political decision-making. The government's main goal is reaching equal representation of women and men. But, besides setting 'streefcijfers' (figures they are striving for), they did not make any quotas that political parties have to keep. The principle of division of government and parliament is more influential than the urgency of equal representation.
Programs to increase the number of women in political decision-making concern mostly the local level. Not only because the national political parties are already saturated with the idea that equal representation is important to democracy (and for gaining votes), but also because at the local level women's representation is far lower than on the national level (only 23%). Programs at the local level (mostly) not official policy, but work of voluntary organisations or co-operation of women of different political parties.
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