Sponging

1 Feb

Preparing for my first visit to the United Nations 55th Commission on the Status of Women as Dutch UN Women’ Representative, there’s only one thing I do: being a sponge.
I am meeting all sorts of rain makers and ask them the same questions. What are the most pressing issues when it comes to the empowerment and inclusion of women? And most importantly: what could be done to solve those issues?
Agnes Jongerius, powerlady of the Dutch Federation of Trade Unions and big supporter of women’s equal access and equal pay, stressed the importance of creating new narratives about women’s empowerment through media and debate, not only addressing women but also men as primary stakeholders in the emancipation process.
Fortunately, there seems to be a growing number of brothers out there joining the debate. Recently, Dutch corporate governance journalist Jeroen Smit made a plea for more women in the board room. Our world is being governed by older white men, who went to the same schools and share the same vision. Nothing wrong with them, but their truths fall short in today’s 21st century world, he argues. TV personality Prem launched a campaign for a female editor in chief of Dutch public broadcaster NOS. It’s time for more oestrogen in Hilversum, according to Prem.
Time for more oestrogen anywhere, if you ask me. Despite birthing 100 percent of the world’s children, growing 70 percent of the world’s food and performing 60 percent of the world’s labour, women only receive 10 percent (!!) of the world’s income.
Michelle Bachelet, executive director of the newly launched UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), stressed that the time for action in the realm of women’s empowerment is way past due. “It is not acceptable that 75 percent of women and girls experience violence or sexual abuse in their lifetimes, or that of the 192 members of the U.N., only 19 heads of state are women,” Bachelet told reporters, stressing that the prevailing gaps of 41 percent disparity in economic participation and 82 percent in political empowerment were huge causes for concern.
Time to look for inclusive solutions and work on win-win scenario’s. Cause let’s be honest: 1+1=3.

One Response to “Sponging”

  1. Lucie Harkema February 2, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    Clear the windows to the world with your sponge for a clear and open view at the world!

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