news item | 11-18-2022 | 2:30 p.m
Gone are the days when the emancipation initiative was primarily developed with disadvantaged groups in need of emancipation. You cannot free yourself. You should also get equal recognition and space from others. This requires behavioral change and cultural change across society, in short, a task for all of us. The government bears its responsibility in creating a society in which everyone can accommodate. This is why Minister Dajgraf, as Coordinating Minister for Emancipation, is devising the new Emancipation Memorandum 2022-2025, in which active emancipation and anti-discrimination policy are paramount.
In the Netherlands it is often thought that we as a country are at the forefront of emancipation. But there are still many people who, due to social inequality, have to go a longer or more difficult path to achieve the same thing. Gender, color, race, age, religion, sexual orientation, or disability are still grounds for unfortunately excluding someone. Fortunately, part of society is increasingly taking a firm stand against hateful expressions and behavior towards gay people and women. But in order to create a society in which there is an equal place for all, a cultural change must occur.
Minister Dijkraf: “The Netherlands must become a country where everyone can be themselves, everyone can become whatever they want to become and everyone has the opportunity to develop and contribute to society. We must want to be a country where this is a given, but we cannot achieve that Except together. I feel this mission, and the government feels that, and that is why we will continue to work in the coming years for a cultural change in society so that the barriers that still exist for some become a little lower.”
Liberation by all ministries
Not all women or LGBT people face the same inequality and prejudice. Their social position plays an important role in this. Equal participation in society is currently often hampered by unequal treatment, organizational structures that perpetuate these inequalities, and (cultural) norms and prejudices. The government supports equal rights, opportunities and freedoms for all. regardless of origin, colour, religion, appearance, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender or manner of expression. That is why emancipation is also a task for the Cabinet itself. Let’s see how they can contribute to liberation when making politics. Laws have been written for too long with the status of the dominant group in mind and not enough with consideration of the effects on other groups. This should be different. That’s why the government is focusing on more rigorous application of gender testing: the new policy will look at how this helps reduce the existing inequality between women and men in all their diversity, or how it ensures that the existing amount of equality between women and men is not diminished.
Inequality in the labor market
The government fights inequality and discrimination in the labor market, because the Netherlands is not doing well from an international perspective. A large proportion of Dutch women work part-time, which limits the economic independence of these women. So the government wants to make wage work more attractive to people who do not yet have paid work or who work only a few hours. A system change is needed to break through the part-time clamp. For example, men and women should be able to divide labor and (unpaid) care tasks more effectively. This is why the government introduced paid parental leave in August 2022 and is investing heavily in childcare.
Women, and LGBT people in particular, often face intimidation, violence, and insecurity. The clarity that women and love + people are still treated negatively in society says something about morality. This will not change if passers-by continue to look away from this. Continuing to put this on the agenda and focus on prevention is a spearhead for the Cabinet. This is why the Cabinet will present the National Action Plan on Offensive Behavior and Sexual Violence early next year. Mariette Hammer, the government’s independent Commissioner for Offensive Sexual Behavior and Sexual Violence, will work to advance the action plan in the coming years, strengthening it and focusing on the necessary cultural change in society.
The government will also continue to take a stand against violence, intimidation, discrimination and exclusion of LGBTI people, women and girls. It works to improve the well-being, social acceptance, and social safety of LGBTIQ+ people, women, and girls, in collaboration with Safe Cities, Rainbow Cities, and Rainbow Provinces, among others.
The government will also explore with the sport sector how the freedom, equality and social safety of LGBTIQ+ and gender and gender diverse people in sport (higher) can be ensured.
Education should be a place where every student can develop freely and in complete safety. To achieve this, the government is focusing, among other things, on enhancing the social safety of LGBTIQ+ students, women and girls, reducing gender differences in education and combating gender stereotypes in education. The Ministry supports schools to support them in creating a safe school climate in which every student can develop freely and in complete safety. Minister Dajgraf recently launched the MBO Action Program and Administrative Agreement for Higher Education and Science.
Equal treatment and legislation
Equal treatment begins with ensuring legal equality. Every individual, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, sexual, racial, or other characteristics, must be able to count on full equality of treatment. Which is why the bill this year adding disability and sexual orientation as grounds for non-discrimination was debated in the Senate. The Cabinet is also awaiting the announced Private Initiative Bill to regulate a gender-neutral statement in government administration, i.e. ‘X’. The Cabinet introduced a bill to ensure that an expert statement is no longer necessary to change gender registration.
The international and Caribbean parts of the Kingdom
The Netherlands has long adhered to well-established agreements within the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the European Union on women’s rights and equal rights for LGBT people. These agreements are threatened by countries that want to get rid of them or do not want to abide by these agreements. That is why the government is intensifying its efforts to protect and strengthen it. This also fits with the recently introduced feminist foreign policy.
Regarding the Caribbean parts of the kingdom, the government continues to push for equal rights and acceptance of LGBT people. In addition, it works to improve the economic situation of women in the municipalities of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.