Equality for women worldwide

Equality between women and men is of vital importance, all over the world. But in practice, women and men are not always treated equally. The Dutch government is therefore committed to equal treatment for women, and to strengthening women’s position in developing countries.

The Netherlands promotes equal treatment of women

The Netherlands urges other countries and organisations to focus more of their attention on the position of women. It works mainly within the European Union (EU), but outside the EU it also works with like-minded countries such as the United States and South Africa to achieve this aim.

The Dutch government takes a critical look at international organisations to establish whether they work effectively to achieve equality for women and take account of women’s situation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs works to this end within the framework of the EU Gender Action Plan and the OECD DAC. It also works with UNWomen.

In 2012, the Netherlands collaborated with 11 other countries to set up the Equal Futures Partnership which aims to empower women, focusing on areas such as higher education, a fairer labour market, and leadership. Every year, the Netherlands also takes part in the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

The Netherlands strengthens the position of girls and women

The Netherlands wants women to be financially independent. It has therefore set up the FLOW (Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women) fund and is carrying out the Dutch action plan to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. Resolution 1325 focuses more attention on the political position of women in peace processes.

These initiatives are outlined in the letter setting out international gender policy that was sent to the House of Representatives by the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations in 2011.

Preventing child marriage

In low- and middle-income countries as many as one in seven girls marries before her 15th birthday. Marrying so young has serious consequences for the health, development and well-being of these girls. The Netherlands is therefore committed to preventing child marriage and to helping young married girls to cope with the consequences. To achieve this aim, it works closely together with other countries and the Girls Not Brides partnership.

With countries such as Finland, the Netherlands is also planning to submit a resolution to the UN Human Rights Council requesting it to investigate the problem of child marriage. The Dutch embassies are also lobbying government authorities, members of parliament and policymakers for legislation banning marriage under the age of 18. This legislation should not discriminate between girls and boys. The Netherlands also supports the activities of local NGOs and UN agencies in the field of, for example, information provision and education.