Why Is It Important For Women To Participate In Politics?

Why Is It Important For Women To Participate In Politics?

In 1918, Suze Groeneweg was the first woman to enter the House of Representatives. More than a century later, women continue to be underrepresented in politics. What happened to cause that? What is the significance of having women in politics? And how do we encourage more women to run for political office?

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Why are there few women in Dutch politics?
Women have been underrepresented in Dutch politics for years. For example, the Netherlands has never had a female prime minister and the majority of the members of parliament are male. The representation of women is even lower in other political bodies, such as in municipal councils and water boards. The relatively low percentage of women in politics is partly due to stereotypes. As a result, we have certain expectations of women and men. For example, we still see a man more often as successful and as a leader. As a result, women are sometimes overlooked for positions where these qualities are important. Sexism and attention to the appearance of female politicians are also a deterrent. And in most cases, it is still the woman who works less after the birth of a child. Of all EU countries, women in the Netherlands work the fewest hours and the difference between women and men is nowhere as great as in our country. Because of this image, women also consider themselves less suitable and if they do, it is less common and socially accepted to say so. Until they are fifteen boys and girls still have the same ambition to enter politics, but after that, a difference arises.

What good is it if there are more women in politics?
More equal gender distribution in politics means a better representation of the population. It ensures that the topics covered represent a larger part of society. Of course, a man can also stand up for women’s rights and that also happens regularly, but empathizing with yourself becomes more difficult the more you differ from each other. Meanwhile, many women in politics are no longer necessarily engaged in promoting women’s rights, but they are taking their womanhood into the Chamber. We see this in the case of Kirsten van de Hul of the PvdA, who, through her personal experiences in a violent relationship, submits an initiative note in 2018 to increase safety. Diversity in our political governance has many positive effects. Cultural diversity in the workplace stimulates the economy, leads to more creativity and innovation, and has more satisfied employees. In addition, women in politics act as role models for women and girls in society. Chamber president Khadija Arib, for example, fulfills an important exemplary role. For women in general, but specifically for migrant women, who are even more under-represented in public functions.

How do we get more women in political positions?
Improving gender equality is primarily a function of political will and the dismantling of stereotypes. We can, for example, increase the number of women in politics by establishing quotas, organizing actions and campaigns, and providing training specifically for women. Voting for women is a simple way to increase the number of women in political office. This occurs frequently: women receive more preferential votes than men. But not nearly enough to ensure a balanced distribution. As a result, the Vote for a Woman initiative encourages voters to vote for a woman who may or may not be elected, so that she can still be elected to the House of Representatives or the municipal council through preferential voting.

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