The Hague, 7 September 2017
To reflect on the issue of gender-blindness* in the Dutch electoral system, a public discussion was organized by Gender Concerns International. The panellists included parliamentarians and various experts who expressed their views on the GEOM NL 2017 Recommendations**. An important conclusion was that electoral gender inequality continues to persist in the Netherlands despite the general notion that gender is not an issue in the Dutch electoral system.
The GEOM NL 2017 recommendations were reiterated during the discussion by panellists and members of the audience with special emphasis on stimulating active citizenship, especially of women and minorities. The Netherlands is a pluriform and socially and culturally diverse society; yet the socio-cultural dimension of gender and gender roles is not taken into account in the electoral process. In order to further gender equality and women inclusiveness, it is recommended that a diverse committee including Parliamentarians and women's organizations should guide a preparatory process for, in the first place, the upcoming local bodies elections.
Critical issues that were raised during the public discussion point to the lack of gender-disaggregated data, the underrepresentation of women and female perspectives at high level political positions, and the inadequate attention dedicated to ethnic minorities. Consequently, the election management system needs to be reviewed and improved. Hence the urgent call for parliamentary attention is made to address these above-mentioned issues and implement measures that establish change.
The panellists suggested that election observation in The Netherlands must be encouraged by putting smooth and efficient accreditation procedures in place. The relevant information must be available to the public and International and domestic election observation missions need to be invited to ensure that electoral transparency and accountability prevails.
Constantly reiterated was that:
A: there is a lack of gender segregated data in the electoral process and this creates an obstacle for monitoring and responding to gender disparity in the Dutch democratic system, and thus greater efforts should be made in incorporating gender-segregated data into electoral data collection.
B: there is an urgent need to continue working on electoral reforms in The Netherlands with the support of a diverse committee including Parliamentarians and women's organizations to guide a preparatory electoral process for future elections and especially 2018 local bodies elections.
C: The recruitment of female candidates for the national, regional, local and European candidate lists deserves much attention, to start with the upcoming city council elections. The amount of women in local politics is significantly lower than the amount of women in parliament. As an illustration: the current city council of Rotterdam consists solely out of men.
If you would like to follow the debate in Parliament, it will be held on September 7, 19h45, and is open to the public. You can also watch it online at https://www.tweedekamer.nl/debat_en_vergadering/livedebatten.
For more information:
Sabra Bano: firstname.lastname@example.org, Mobile: 00 31 (0) 6 53965784
Dyantha Boxum: email@example.com
Phone: (0) 70 444 5082
* The notion of taking gender parity for granted
**Gender Election Observation Mission (GEOM) to observe women’s electoral participation as voters and candidates. As a result of this, a comprehensive final report was created that highlights critical issues concerning the participation of women in the Dutch electoral process. To address these issues, certain conclusions have been drawn and recommendations have been made.