March 16, 2017

The Dutch elections: coalition is the word

Amanda Gigler
This article is written by:

Amanda Gigler

Some of us took an ostrich approach. Others played Tetris. And many were glued to Twitter. In the aftermath of the Dutch national elections, Mama Cash’s question is: how will these results affect feminist organising in the Netherlands and around the world?

We don’t have the answers yet. But we are speculating, taking action and we want to hear from you.

Mama Cash does not support or endorse any political party. We do have positions on many of the issues discussed and presented in party platforms, especially when these issues affect our work and the work of our partners.

It’s no secret: the Dutch government has been one of the most significant bilateral funders of women’s rights and gender equality in the world. Sometimes this funding also supports feminist women’s, girls’, trans and intersex groups and movements, such as those supported by Mama Cash. The track record is clear: from the MDG3 Fund to the FLOW funds, to ensuring some of the partnerships in the Dialogue and Dissent Framework prioritise women’s rights, to the creation of the new Leading from the South Fund.

This funding has come as a result of strong lobby from the Dutch gender platform, WO=MEN, its membership and allies. And the funding has come because it is needed and feminist groups have shown they can use it in smart and strategic ways.

This funding means that hundreds of thousands of feminist activists have the resources they need to do their work. Their campaigns, workshops, support groups, advocacy and activism are made stronger and safer with this funding. They are able to achieve huge changes in our societies as a result. Changing hearts and minds, changing policy and law — it takes time and money and a lot more.

Even without the final results, the elections yesterday mark a big shift in party representation. You can follow updates here and here.

There were over 20 parties vying for votes to fill 150 seats in Parliament, and at least 10 parties have won seats. At least four parties will need to join together to reach the 75 seats required to form a new government.

This is quite different from many countries where one or two parties dominate and governments are formed by majorities. In the Dutch system, coalition governments are the norm. So are negotiation, discussion and consensus building.

A new government may bring changes to how the Netherlands supports womens’, girls’ and trans people’s rights. Mama Cash’s aim is to ensure that current commitments are kept and to encourage more and better funding for feminist activism worldwide.

Mama Cash will be following the developments and strategising with our allies and lobby-partners. But at the top of our to-do list is to keep funding feminist activism.

We’re open for funding applications right now. Will you help us spread the word? 

And we want to hear from you — what is your take on these elections? And what are you going to do about it?

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