September 28, 2016

Unfinished business?

Women’s rights in the Netherlands CEDAW shadow report

A delegation of the Dutch government is set to hold constructive dialogues with the UN committee of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Mama Cash is proud to have co-signed a shadow report for this committee, whose objective it is to monitor the progress of the state parties to the convention. The shadow report is meant to provide the committee with a critical source of information on the progress of women’s rights in the Netherlands.

Funding policies exclude specific groups

In our role as an international women’s fund, Mama Cash has specifically contributed to the section on funding policies of the Netherlands. These policies have an adverse impact on funding opportunities for small, recently-established women’s organisations. Current Dutch funding schemes often exclude organisations that represent black, migrant, or refugee women, and those working with volunteers. New funding arrangements regarding gender and LGBT equality create similar thresholds.

Marginalisation of sex work

Besides the emphasis on issues that need improvement, the shadow report also highlights the things that have changed for the better. The Dutch NGOs laud the government for its funding of PROUD, the Dutch union for sex workers. Nonetheless, sex workers still face obstacles when it comes to accessing financial services, affordable housing, and public services. These factors, combined with the stigma attached to sex work, have added to the discrimination and social exclusion that sex workers have to deal with.

Insufficient social rights for Dutch domestic workers

Another group of workers that remains on the margins of the labour market are domestic workers, particularly those who work part-time. This group has almost doubled in numbers due to decentralisation measures accompanied by budget cuts. The Services at Home Scheme (SHS), in place for part-time domestic workers, inhibits this group from acquiring full social rights. The use of SHS has been called an improper employment practice by the courts, and therefore needs to be addressed by the Dutch government.

The shadow report titled Unfinished Business – Women’s Rights in the Netherlands. Shadow report by Dutch NGOs and CSOs can be accessed here.

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