Positive news from the Netherlands: yesterday parliament has agreed to a women’s quota of thirty percent for boards of directors. It only applies to companies that are connected to the stock market. Eighty companies in total of which fourty-seven of them to not have this percentage. Of course, a quota of one-third women is not revolutionary and it took my country years to follow Norway, Spain, France , Iceland, Germany and India in this, but still it is very good news.
It is a very important step in the road for an equal gender balance in all decision-making bodies in society. Not just those who are political or who are democratically voted for. It is a crucial step in the awknowledgement of women as equal citizens and of the importance of their participation in decion-making. For an elaboration of this argument, read my book Feminism and Citizenship.
What pleases me was the overall argument in the debate. By having more women in these boards, we will get a better quality of the conversation, they said. More inclusive. More representative of different opinions, interests, qualities of people. And yes, it is all that. Not one aspect with a guarantee, for instance that one woman will represent always women’s interests or that this one woman will add feminine qualities. More modest and honest. On the whole when we get more women in decision-making bodies, the quality of our debates and decision-making will get better because they are more inclusive.
So what other decision-making bodies will follow? Universities? Hospitals? Health-care insurance companies? Banks? Courts? Military organizations? Churches? I am not kidding. They are all deciding about where and how our money, effort and opinions should be directed. Raise your voices! I hope we are looking forward to interesting times.