Netherlands celebrates women
8 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — Amid international condemnation of violence committed against women, greater rights and the continued emancipation of females were high on the agenda in the Netherlands on Tuesday as International Women's Day was observed.
8 March 2005
AMSTERDAM — Amid international condemnation of violence committed against women, greater rights and the continued emancipation of females were high on the agenda in the Netherlands on Tuesday as International Women's Day was observed.
The event was being observed in 65 Dutch municipalities, with most activities planned for Tuesday. But various activities were also held over the weekend and The Hague, Utrecht and Leeuwarden have events planned for the entire week.
A large number of activities have an intercultural theme, from belly dancing demonstrations to multicultural food to various readings. And festivities were aplenty, with female orchestras, cabaret groups and a large number of dance and music events planned.
On a more somber note, the foundation Prime organised a demonstration at the Parliament in The Hague on Tuesday to demand greater rights for sexually-abused asylum seekers. It is hoped the women will be granted the right to stay in the Netherlands and a petition was being handed over to MPs.
But on the emancipation side, female firefighters were also presenting a petition to MPs. They also intended to demonstrate their firefighting capabilities on the main square in front of the Lower House of Parliament on Tuesday.
They demanded active recruiting be conducted for female firefighters. Currently just 5 percent of firefighters are females and the women are keen for that figure to rise to 15 percent.
And trade union confederation FNV is demanding changes to new childcare regulations, claiming that parents are complaining of increased costs and paperwork. FNV leader Agnes Jongerius said for some people, particularly women, paid work is no longer worthwhile due to childcare costs.
The Cabinet's plans to combat the problems of an ageing population will have a negative impact on emancipation, the chairperson of the Emancipation Visitation Commission, Tineke Lodders, said on Tuesday.
Lodders said cabinet plans to increase the working week to 40 hours instead of 36 hours was a bad idea because the present working week already formed a problem for parents trying to cope with combining work and parenting responsibilities.
Meanwhile, various readings and debates were being held in conjunction with International Women's Day.
The PAVEM Commission — which works to increase societal participation of immigrant women — organised a debate over multiculturalism and emancipation in the Free University in Amsterdam. On a separate note, it is also launching a "coaching" scheme to get talented immigrant women into the workforce.
A debate was also held in the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam, where the present state of play after a special women's conference in Beijing in 1995 was discussed. Several social organisations claimed that emancipation is far from complete.
The particular benefits and advantages of women was also being discussed in the Felix Meritus building in Amsterdam, while femininity was being displayed in language, images, sound and dance at the Antropia Cultuur- en Congrescentrum in Driebergen
International Women's day was first observed in 1910. It focused in the early part of the 20th century on shorter work hours and voting rights. Women later campaigned for contraception rights and the right to both a job and family. The day has been celebrated in the Netherlands since 1978.
But not every nation celebrates International Women's Day on 8 March, with Belgium, for example, observing the day in November.
The United Nations paid special attention to the occasion on Tuesday amid concern raised by Doctors Without Borders and Human Rights Watch over the raping of women in refugee camps in Darfur, Sudan.
And Amnesty International released a report indicating that women are increasingly the victim of violence involving firearms.
[Copyright Expatica News + Novum Nieuws 2005]
Subject: Dutch news