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Laat je stem gelden!

15 Feb

Over een precies een maand is het zover: 15 maart 2017. Verkiezingen voor de Tweede Kamer der Staten Generaal. Hét moment om je stem te laten gelden. Door bijvoorbeeld op een vrouw te stemmen, maar ook op een partij die die stem serieus neemt.

KoT

Gisteren schreven D66-senator en winnares van de Aletta Jacobsprijs Petra Stienen en ik in het NRC een opiniestuk waarin we vrouwen oproepen niet alleen strategisch op een vrouw te stemmen, maar ook zelf hun vinger op te steken. Want politiek is té belangrijk om alleen aan mannen over te laten. Geïnspireerd door de wijze lessen van Aletta Jacobs en Joke Smit roepen we vrouwen op politiek actief te worden.

Mijn oma, die er helaas niet meer is, werd geboren in een tijd dat vrouwen nog geen actief of passief kiesrecht hadden. Mijn moeder werd geboren in een tijd dat vrouwen nog handelingsonbekwaam waren en vaak zelfs moesten stoppen met werken toen ze kinderen kregen. En nu kan ze stemmen op haar dochter.

Waarom ik mijn vinger heb opgestoken? Omdat ik de woorden van mijn heldin Agnes Jongerius ter harte heb genomen. Niet stilletjes in een hoekje gaan zitten wachten, maar de beurt vragen. Omdat ik geloof dat we er nog niet zijn. Er is een boel verbeterd sinds vrouwen 100 jaar geleden kiesrecht kregen, maar is er ook nog een wereld te winnen. Bijvoorbeeld de economische zelfstandigheid van vrouwen, of het aantal vrouwen dat slachtoffer wordt van geweld. Daar wil ik me in de Tweede Kamer voor inzetten. Want het persoonlijke is anno 2017 nog steeds politiek.

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It’s still a man’s world

9 Nov

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This is not the blog post I was hoping to write today.
I was hoping to write something about smashing the glass ceiling, about women and politics and milestone moments in history. About role models and the importance of ‘what you see, you can be’. I even selected a powerful picture to go with it.*

But the people of the United States chose differently.

Yesterday, around the same time voting started in the US, some of my students presented their research around the topic of women and violence. They compared the situation in the US, France and Yemen. I asked them what had shocked them most.

‘How little I knew about Yemen’, said one of them.

‘How a lot is being done to prevent it and still, the number of cases of violence against women keeps rising’, said someone else.

‘I actually find it shocking that none of this is shocking to me anymore’, said the third. ‘How I keep reading the most horrible things about FGM and honor killings and date rape and harrassment at college and I just think to myself: that’s just how it is. It’s almost like.. normal. ’

‘It’s still a man’s world’, another student agreed.

I was really hoping that yesterday’s elections would prove them wrong. That the results would show these promising young men and women that the glass ceiling is not unbreakable, and that in 2016, a woman can be elected US president.
But yesterday’s results proved me wrong, and I had to write another blog post than I thought I would. Thank you, America.

I decided to keep the picture though. Maybe all of us who still believe in equal opportunities, in gender parity, in representative democracy, in women in politics, should print it and put it up on our walls. May it serve as a gentle reminder that it’s still an awfully male and pale political landscape out there. And that there are only two ways we can change that: by voting for a female leader, or by becoming one.

*a picture of heads of state participating in the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands, where apart from Queen Maxima and Angela Merkel female leaders were few and far between

Dear America,

4 Nov

In a few days, you’ll get to decide which breaking news the world will witness: the first female president in the White House, or a man who reduces women to their bodies and ‘migrants’ to their religion, lineage or colour of their skin. Yes, ‘migrants’ between quotation marks. Because Mr Trump with his Scottish-German ancestors and his Slovenian wife is just as much a migrant as the ‘bad hombres’ he says he wants to keep out. But that’s another story.

A diabolic dilemma, you say? Choosing between two evils? See, I just don’t quite get that. What is so hard about choosing between an experienced, intelligent, competent woman, and a man who only last week called an African American supporter a thug, and had him removed from the venue. A man being accused of sexual violence by an ever longer list of women and brushes off his own bragging about it as locker room talk. A man who wants to ban muslims from entering your country and wants to build a wall to prevent Mexicans from entering. Should I go on? The list is long, very, very long.

Honestly, I don’t get how this guy of all people made it this far. Someone who filed for bankruptcy several times, who justifies tax evasion and is not afraid to openly question the legitimicy of the elections. Has America really sunk so low that this is the best you have to offer to the world? America, that always knows best what’s good for the rest of the word. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya; you were the first to intervene, in the name of freedom, human rights and democracy. Not always quite successfully, but let’s not talk about that now. Now, we’re talking about power. And that goes far, very very far. In some countries it’s even easier to get a bottle of Coca Cola than clean drinking water. That’s how far it goes.

Why doesn’t she mind her own business, you may ask. Indeed, why don’t I. After all, we’re only talking about the next president of the United States, the self-proclaimed leader of the free world. With over 2 million troops and reserves and thousands of nuclear weapons, a few of which are even said to be stashed on Dutch soil. But hey, who am I, and those 7 billion world citizens within firing range of your weapons of mass destruction, but without voting rights in your country?

But what about Hillary Clinton and her e-mail issues, you may say. Her relations with Wall Street, dubious donations to the Clinton Foundation, her foreign policy? Not so smart, not so pretty, not something to be particularly proud of. But is it reason enough to call on people to vote for Trump, because you actually wanted to see Bernie Sanders in the White House? Really? Are you serious?

The land of the free and the home of the brave’. I really hope that turns out to be true next week. That you really have the courage to write history.

Dear America, please make America great again. But I mean really.

Kind regards on behalf of the rest of the world,

Kirsten van den Hul

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