Overall assessment

AuthorVegter, Marlies
12 Overall assessment
The overall impression of the author is that implementation of the EU gender equality
acquis is to a great extent satisfactory. The Netherlands is fifth on the list of happi est
countries in the world and 90 % of the people indicate that they are content with their life,
despite the many complaints that can be heard.
The EU work-life balance requirements will oblige the Dutch legislator to introduce a legal
right to two months paid parental leave. So far this leave is unpaid, unless the social
partners h ave mad e a different agreement. In addition, paternity leave wil l have to be
extended from 5 paid days to 10 paid days. For the rest, the Directive will probably have
no effect on the Dutch situation.
There are points of concern.
A point which returns every year is the position of predominantly female domestic staff
who w ork on four days or f ewer per week in a pri vate household. These workers have
significantly fewer employment and social security rights than other workers. They ma y
be dismissed unilaterally without the permission of employment agencies or the district
courts, they are entitled to 6 weeks’ pay during illness instead of 104 weeks, and they fall
outside the scope of the social security system. This reduced protection has been criticised
by, inter alia, the European Commission and the CEDAW C ommittee, but there i s still n o
political will to tackle the situation.
Another point of concern is the vulnerable employment situati on of pregnant women and
young mothers. This matter has also been troubling for a long time and there d oes not
seem to have been any improvement. On the contrary, the situation has deteriorated,
mainly because of the tremendous increase in flexible working arrangements and work as
a self-employed person in the Netherlands.
The increase in flexible working also leads to precarious employment, especially for people
with lower education levels and people in more basic positions. These include people from
third countries who come to the Netherlands to work temporarily. This is not specifically a
matter of gender inequality, but of c ourse women are also affected by this. Equal pay for
equal work throughout the EU would help greatly, but this i s a complex matter.
A worrying trend in the Netherlands, a s in other countries, is t he ri se or perhaps one
should say return of populist movements. During the last elections in the Netherlands a
new populist party, Forum voor Democratie (Forum for Democracy), g ained many votes.
In general, these parties are not positive about womens rig hts and the Netherlands is no
exception in this respect. The leader of the latest populist party said i n an interview that
because women are so involved in career-making they do not have enough children, he
criticised the right to abortion, said that women do not have ambition and that they want
to be overpowered sexually by men.234 This of course raised a lot of comment,235 but
nevertheless many people are attracted by this party and its leader.
As for positive trends, more and more women do paid work, and the number of women in
leading positions is increasing, although very slowl y. In addition, as said at the beginning
of this paragraph, the vast majority of people in the Netherlands, including women, report
in surveys that they are very content with their life.
234 See inter alia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYDHM3rcZVQ and
235 See among many more: https://joop.bnnvara.nl/nieuws/baudet-wil-de-vrouw-terug-achter-het-aanrecht-
af-van-abortus-en-euthanasie (‘Baudet wants the women back behind the sink and wants to get rid of
abortion and euthanasia’) and https://www.rtlnieuws.nl/nieuws/politiek/artikel/4719121/verbazing-en-
woede-over-standpunt-baudet-over-vrouwen-abortus-en (‘Amazement and anger about statements Baudet
about women and about abortion and euthanasia’).

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