New season, new class

22 Sep

What I most looked forward to, during my extended summer break? Meeting my new students. The excited anticipation, not so unlike the feeling I remember having when I myself as a student eagerly awaited my first class after summer, the ‘what shall I wear’, the ‘wonder how many of them there will be’..
And here I am, in front of my new group. 21 of them, from all over the world. All of them enrolled in an elective at The Hague University of Applied Science called ‘Women and Society’, which was developed by Ms Kitty Triest and which I’ve been blessed to teach as visiting lecturer for 3 years now.
This semester, we will explore important gender-related topics such as the gender pay gap, the glass ceiling, women and politics and gender based violence, as well as discuss the differences among the different countries.
And even though the details may vary regionally, one thing is painfully clear: it’s still a man’s world. No matter where you look, women still make considerably less, do considerably more house work and have considerably less political power. Did you know that worldwide, only 22.8 per cent of all national parliamentarians were women as of June 2016, and as of September 2016, only 10 women are serving as Head of State and 9 are serving as Head of Government? So much for representative democracy..
But all that is about to change, if you ask my students. ‘I want to be president of my country’, says one of them. ‘I want to be an MP’, says another. Why that matters, I ask them. ‘Because more women in politics means better policies for women.’ I couldn’t agree more.

Want to join the discussion? US-based NGO Ignite just launched a wonderful campaign to encourage young women to run for politics. Read more here, spread the word and #declareyourambition!

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