Expatica news

Women ‘forced to fight for place in workforce’

8 March 2004

AMSTERDAM — To mark UN International Women’s Day, Social Affairs Minister Aart Jan de Geus has admitted that despite emancipation achievements in the Netherlands, women still have to fight for their place in the labour market.

The government minister also said that there remained a lot of work to do in regards emancipation, comments which come despite a controversial statement last year claiming that the Netherlands is almost completely emancipated.

But without reference to his previous statement, De Geus said on Monday that while legislation states that women have the right to equal pay as men in the same function, the reality does not always pan out that way, news agency ANP reported.

He also asserted that women have been well educated. But in comparing the number of women who flow through to executive positions in the Dutch workforce with the results in foreign countries, De Geus also said there was still much to achieve.

A researcher with the Catholic University in Nijmegen, Yvonne Benschop, confirmed last month that Dutch business emancipation has been poor for some time.

She blamed this on three factors: that it is often said it is only a matter of time before women occupy executive positions; that it is often said women do not want careers and thirdly, companies are not organised and do not take action to appoint women to top positions.

Meanwhile, Minister De Geus — who was speaking at a breakfast meeting of the commission Participation of Ethnic Minority Women (PaVEM) — also said that a lot of work needed to be done in the emancipation of ethnic minority women.

He said a relatively large amount of migrant women are receiving WW unemployment benefits or a WAO worker disability pension and are thus unemployed.

But Hans de Boer, an official with the PaVEM commission — which was established by the Social Affairs and Immigration Ministries — said almost 10,000 migrant women stand ready to start work immediately.

There are 60,000 migrant women registered as job seekers with the Centre for Work and Income (CWI) and according to De Boer — the former boss of the small business association MKB Nederland — between 9,000 and 10,000 are adequately educated and speak sufficient Dutch to start work.

The United Nation’s website says International Women’s Day (8 March) is marked by women’s groups around the world. It also said the event is the story of ordinary women as makers of history and is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news