Kies een vrouw!

17 Mar

In case you missed it: there are elections tomorrow, here in the Netherlands. Tomorrow, on March 18, 2015, we will elect our water boards, and, most importantly, our provincial representatives, who in their turn will elect the senate. Not unimportant, I’d say.

Over the past few weeks, I have been trying to convince people (f/m) to vote for a woman. Kies een vrouw, as we say in Dutch.

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My efforts were often met with scepticism. ‘Why vote for a woman when we have equal rights anyway?’ some people said. Or ‘I vote for the best candidate, not because of their sex, but because of their qualities’.

It probably won’t surprise you, my dear readers, that I beg to differ.

As long as men and women aren’t equally represented in positions of power, the (s)hevolution I so often write and talk about is not quite finished yet. It’s as simple as that. Because in order for the butterfly effect of women to fully flourish, we need to be able to spread our wings from a place where it actually matters. And let’s be honest: from the world of academia to talkshow tables, women are simply too few and far between to make some serious impact. The higher you climb, the less women you’ll find. The world of politics is no exception: there’s only ONE female Commisaris der Koning (King’s Commisioner, or Governor) in this country, and not even a third of our provincial council members currently are women. We can change that tomorrow. YOU can change that tomorrow.

Why I think you should? Because we live in a representative democracy, which is currently not quite representative. Because women and men are equal, but not the same. Because diversity in itself means increased quality. Because, as piles of research suggest, investing in gender equality is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do.

My dear grandmother, who would have turned 96 last week, was born in the year women in this country got the right to vote. She always used that right to the fullest, and inspired me to do the same.

Women and men fought for your democratic right. Please use it democratically. So please repeat after me, loud and proud: ik kies een vrouw!

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