Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 11 November 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.11 November 2008
Dutch women have no desire to work full-time
The latest report, by the Social and Cultural Planning Office of the Netherlands, (SCP) has concluded that women, whether they have children or not, simply do not want to work full-time.
Trouw writes that for years, experts believed that women would leap at the chance to work full-time if good, affordable child care facilities were available but the latest research by the SCP has revealed that 70 percent of working women have absolutely no desire to work full-time and are more than happy with their part-time jobs.
The current Dutch government has spent a great deal of time and effort on trying to persuade women to work more hours. Emancipation Minister Ronald Plasterk created the Part Time-Plus Task Force, research has been commissioned, investigations have been undertaken and reports have been written.
The SCP's research revealed that traditional ideas about male and female roles in society still dominate Dutch cultural attitudes. AD writes that views haven't changed much since the 1950s; the husband is viewed as chief breadwinner and whatever the wife earns is dismissed as "a nice little extra".
According to AD, the Netherlands has the highest number of part-time women workers in the world and Trouw adds that this is one of the few remaining countries where the school day still ends at 3 pm.
Commenting on the report, Minister Plasterk said: "so much female talent is being wasted".
Give sex lessons at primary school
"Sex lessons at primary school" headlines AD on an inside page today. On Monday, the paper published an interview with Youth and Family Minister André Rouvoet. In the interview, the minister, who belongs to the Christian Union party, called for a national discussion on the, "rudderless sexual morality of today's youth".
In response, the Dutch Society of Sexologists (NVVS) and the Netherlands Institute for Curriculum Development (SLO) have both called for sex education to be given to primary school pupils. The organisations say children mature earlier and are exposed to sexually explicit material at a far younger age than their counterparts 10 or 20 years ago.
An NVVS spokesperson says: "you can't wait until kids are 14 years old before starting sex education, at least seven percent of them have already had sex".
An SLO spokesperson adds: "there's far too little information for primary school pupils".
Both organisations say: "Sex education is too important to leave to the parents".
Nationwide alarm system goes online
AD reports that a nationwide alarm system for missing children will go online at midday on Tuesday. Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin will start the Amber Alert system, which began in the United States 11 years ago.
The police say detailed information about the missing child, including photos, can be sent via email and text message with just one push of a button. The police are also negotiating with the ministry of public works so they can post the information on motorway information screens.
A police spokesperson said the success or failure of the system depends on the number of people who participate: "We'll be promoting the system heavily over the next few weeks in order to encourage the public to take part".
District water board elections held old-fashioned way
District water board elections are being held this week and Trouw reports that the Dutch will be voting the old-fashioned way: making a cross with a red pencil on a piece of paper and then stuffing it into a large metal canister.
A few years ago, the government decided to go digital and spent vast sums of money on voting computers. However, they proved to be easier to hack than your average mobile telephone and do not produce a paper record of the number of votes cast.
The government sold off the ballot boxes and canisters to the public for next to nothing. These rather attractive objects are now serving as planters and window boxes in gardens and on balconies across the nation.
Trouw does not tell us where ballots will be held or just how much the taxpayer has to cough up in order to replace the ballot boxes.
[Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica]