Drive to get more immigrant women working

8th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

8 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Dutch employment agency (CWI) and various Dutch businesses are to provide staff from immigrant backgrounds to work as 'coaches' to help talented women from ethnic minorities find and keep a job in the Netherlands, it was announced on Monday.

8 March 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch employment agency (CWI) and various Dutch businesses are to provide staff from immigrant backgrounds to work as 'coaches' to help talented women from ethnic minorities find and keep a job in the Netherlands, it was announced on Monday.

About 100 female employees of the CWI have volunteered to act as coaches.

ING, Fortis, ABN Amro and Rabobank, the four main banking groups in the Netherlands, and IT services company Ordina will work on the scheme with a special government integration commission. The programme will be officially launched by the Rabobank.

The announcement was made as the PAVEM Commission — which was set up to support the efforts of the 30 largest Dutch municipalities to integrate immigrant women — presented its final recommendations on Monday. Argentinean-born Princess Maxima was a prominent member of the commission.

The commission wants to stimulate greater participation in society by immigrant women by entering into agreements with city councils to provide language lessons and to convince municipalities and businesses to offer more trainee jobs for women, news service NOS reported on Monday.

Launched in July 2003, the commission will disband later this year and the 30 city councils across the country will then be required to implement its findings.

Agreements thus far have been made with 16 councils, with an extra 200 language courses established and a further 2,400 trainee placements and jobs created for immigrant women.

In 10 municipalities, the CWI is working with city councils and companies to set up links between employers and potential employees. Evening meetings have also been organised in various cities.

But in 18 months, the PAVEM commission has not achieved spectacular results. Just 25 percent of women from Turkish and Moroccan ancestry have a paid job and the coaching scheme is thus designed to get more immigrant women into the workplace.

Princess Maxima urged employers on Monday to give greater freedoms to immigrant women. "Rally your employees and offer them the possibilities to coach immigrant women and thereby help them to play a greater role in our society," she said.

The princess said supporting the coaching scheme would help set off a chain reaction in which immigrant women would no longer be looked upon as "pitiful", but considered as people who can really work.
 
The commission has also advised Social Affairs Minister Aart Jan de Geus and Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk to set up a nationwide language action plan.

It is hoped that by teaching the Dutch language to 240,000 older female immigrants they will be able to pass an integration exam — made up of Dutch language and culture components considered necessary for active citizenship — by 2010. PAVEM said a budget of EUR 50 million would be necessary.
 
Both ministers have promised to initiate the action plan, but it remains unclear how much money the government is prepared to invest in the scheme.

The commission's recommendation's come as the Netherlands is in the midst of a backlash against immigration due to increased social tension. Concerns have also been expressed for the position of immigrant women who often remain excluded from active participation in Dutch society.

Besides moving to restrict immigration for marriage purposes, particularly from Turkey and Morocco, the Dutch government is forcing new arrivals and older immigrants to complete integration courses.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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