Women want more female appointees in Dutch cabinet

11th October 2010, Comments 0 comments


The new Dutch cabinet has too few women ministers, according to a number of prominent Dutch women who spoke to several media.

Of the 20 ministerial and deputy ministerial positions in the incoming rightwing coalition, only 2 are likely to be filled by women. The Infrastructure Ministry will be led by Melanie Schultz van Haegen and the Health Ministry by Edith Schippers.

Queen Beatrix Prime Minister designate Mark Rutte, who is 43, has surrounded himself with elder statesmen from his free-market liberal VVD party and from the Christian Democrat CDA. There are no ministers or deputies from the anti-Islam Freedom Party, although the party has committed itself to supporting the new minority coalition in the Lower House. The new cabinet is expected to be sworn in by Queen Beatrix on Thursday.

Speaking to daily , Mayor Annemarie Jorritsma of the new town of Almere said, "Half the Dutch are female and that should be visible in politics too." Her views are reinforced by a former Christian Democrat minister, Hanja Maij-Weggen, who said that the men who formed the government failed to look for female candidates. She said, "They are old and wise enough to find a couple of good women," she said.

Strong women European Union Commissioner Neelie Kroes, a member of Mr Rutte's VVD party, said she was "deeply disappointed. It is most regrettable. This cabinet in particular needs strong women."

Ciska Dresselhuys, former editor-in-chief of feminist monthly told reporters, "It's back to medieval times. I hadn't expected this from a young prime minister like Mr Rutte, who hold his old mother in such high esteem". And never one to mince her words, Edith Snoey, chair of the AbvaKabo union denounced the lack of women in high position as "ridiculous".

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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