October 19, 2018

Dutch issue first ever gender neutral passport

Filed under: Dutch first,General,History by Orangemaster @ 3:25 pm

Today, the first ever gender neutral passport has been issued to the 57-year-old Leonne Zeegers of Breda, Noord-Brabant. Instead of having a ‘v’ (‘vrouw’ = woman) or ‘m’ (‘man’, same as in English) in their passport, they have an ‘x’, making them the first Dutch person to have such a passport.

The issuing of this passport comes after a court decision earlier this year in Roermond, Limburg, claiming that gender was a question of gender identity and not of sex characteristics. When Leonne was born, the doctors were not able to determine with any certainty if they were a boy or a girl, and as such was an intergender person back when the term was not used as it is today. Back in the day, the parents had to pick a gender, so they went with male ‘because it was easier’. Later in life, Leonne realised they didn’t feel like a man, and switched their gender to female, but that didn’t help because they really felt like neither, a choice that didn’t exist back then.

Hopefully the move will also encourage many other Dutch instances to scrap registering gender for no actual reason than force of habit. According to Dutch interest groups, some 4 percent of the Dutch feel like Leonne does.

(Link: omroepbrabant.nl)

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January 8, 2016

Gender axed from online forms in Amsterdam

Filed under: Dutch first,Online by Orangemaster @ 12:52 pm

Filling in your gender on online forms for the city of Amsterdam has recently become a thing of the past, unless it is legally required. “All residents of Amsterdam should feel at home in the way in which the city communicates with them”, and addressing people with ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ just doesn’t work in today’s world. Amsterdam also claims to be the first Dutch city to have ditched gender in its communication.

In Dutch, authorities often write letters with ‘Dear Sir/Madam [last name]’, which already says they don’t care who or what you are, while some will argue that they are just trying to cover their bases. I often translate online forms into English, having to explain to Dutch clients that Mr and Mrs doesn’t work: there’s also Ms, Miss and if the world progresses the way it is, Mx could also be the next one at least in English. The concept of addressing women based on their marital status is archaic and obsolete.

As well, entering your gender only to get letters with ‘Dear Sir/Madam [last name], means it was unnecessary in the first place. Any time I’ve received letters addressed to me as ‘Sir’ I’ve chucked them out and anyone online who dares send me business letters with ‘Dear Sirs’ gets ignored. If you call me up from a bank and ask to speak to the man of the house or my husband, I will find you and hunt you down.

(Link: www.binnenlandsbestuur.nl, Photo of the VOC HQ (East India Company) by Josh, distributed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2)

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July 1, 2014

New Transgender law comes into effect today

Filed under: Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 6:36 pm

As of 1 July 2014 the country’s new Transgender Law comes into effect, allowing transgenders to change the gender stated in their passport and other documents without having to plead their case to a judge first or undergo surgery to be rendered permanently infertile. Transgenders now only need an expert statement to receive new ID with the ‘correct’ gender, which technically applies to anyone over 16 and does have fees attached to it.

After eight years of struggling, Transgender Netwerk Nederland and COC Nederland are celebrating this milestone of Dutch law, calling it ‘finally having a say about one’s own gender’.

(Link: transgendernetwerk.nl, Photo of Gay flag by sigmaration, some rights reserved)

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June 16, 2013

Dutch working mothers are paid less than working fathers

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 10:34 pm

OK, this is somewhat old news (in fact, Dutch Daily News covered it two months ago), but I still want to write about it because this follows up on earlier stories. Basically what I am trying to find out is how we, the Dutch, define Enlightenment ideals such as freedom, equality and happiness. It is clear that they are important to us, but we have been pursuing aspects of these ideals hundreds of years before other Western nations did and as a result, when looking through a global lens, we seem to do everything exactly different.

As they say, Dutch women don’t get depressed.

Here is the deal. In many ways the Dutch are some of the least gender equal people in the world. Our ratio of men and women in management roles is similar to that of the United Arab Emirates—and the Arabs at least are working to improve theirs. Furthermore, 60% of all Dutch women do not make enough money to pay their way through life—but they like it that way! In fact, men want some of that part-time action too!

So now a new study has come out that adds another piece to the puzzle. It appears that gender inequality is especially strong among working parents in the Netherlands. On the other hand the income of single men and women without children who work full-time jobs are exactly the same. I thought that was interesting. You’d expect at least some old-fashioned sexism to depress even those incomes by a couple of points. Perhaps that in the parts of our population where sexism is still rife (the Bible belt, anyone?) single, childless women with full-time jobs are rare.

If everybody is happy about this arrangement, then who I am to disagree? There is a difference between women being forced into inequality and women choosing inequality. Where things get weird is in relationships. The default Dutch marriage setting is that of community property (for now). The state sees a marriage as a contract between the state and two people. When the partners dissolve the wedding, the state typically demands that the high earner keeps supporting the low earner through alimony. What kind of incentives does an arrangement like that produce?

See also:

(Link: Statistics Netherlands. Photo by ValentinaST, some rights reserved)

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March 9, 2013

Lack of women in top management roles in the Netherlands

Filed under: Weird by Branko Collin @ 2:55 pm

In the Netherlands 11% of all senior management positions are occupied by women.

Trouw likens the Netherlands to an emirate when it comes to the number of women in top management positions. (I believe they intend that to be an insult, which would be interesting in itself.) For comparison, the United Arab Emirates also sits at 11%. Since this year corporations and government agencies in the UAE are required to have women on their boards.

Of the developed countries (for want of a better word) only Japan fares worse. It has 7% women in management roles. The most emancipated country in the world is China with 51% of all big bosses being women. In fact the top ten of countries has seven nations in it that either are or used to be communist. (The word ‘socialist’ and ‘communist’ are oddly lacking from the Grant Thornton report (PDF) that Trouw bases its article on.)

Dutch women do not seem to be very interested in having careers, although they do like having the opportunity of having careers. In 2010 the United Nations voted the Netherlands the most gender equal country in the world.

(Illustration: public domain version of the symbol of feminism, via Wikimedia Commons)

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June 14, 2012

Dutch women enjoy sex less than men do

Filed under: General,Health by Branko Collin @ 8:56 pm

According to a study by Rutgers WTF, only 60% of all Dutch women enjoy sex, as opposed to 78% of the men.

The study was held among 8,000 people. Rutgers claims it is the largest study on sexuality ever done in the Netherlands.

The number of women using birth control has dropped from 70% in 2009 to 69% in 2012. Of the fertile women that have sex but do not want to get pregnant, 9% don’t use birth control.

Acceptance of transgender people is low. One in five Dutch people prefer not to be around people who are gender ambivalent, and a similar number thinks there is something wrong with those who do not consider themselves clearly male or female.

(Photo by Flickr user Spec-ta-cles, some rights reserved)

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September 19, 2011

Bank managers give cheaper loans to customers of the same sex

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 8:58 am

If you want to save as much as 0.3 percentage points on your interest rates, close a loan with a bank employee of the same sex.

Thorsten Beck, professor at Tilburg University, claims that there is a measurable difference between how loan officers of microcredit lenders treat customers of the same and of the opposite sex. His report Sex and Credit: Is There a Gender Bias in Microfinance (PDF), co-written with Patrick Behr of the Brazilian business school Fundaco Getulio Vargas and Andreas Madestam of the Bocconi University in Milan, focused on lenders in Albania.

The reason they looked at microcredit lenders is because they do not use standard interest rates the way regular banks do.

The chance that opposite sex customers return for a second loan is 11.5 percent smaller, econtrack.nl reports.

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January 16, 2011

Fathers of young children prefer part-time jobs too

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 3:38 pm

Women with partners prefer part-time jobs, we wrote last year. In fact, 50% of all Dutch women already have a part-time job. And dads want in on that action. According to the New York Times (via the Deccan Herald), one in three men either work part-time, or work four nine-hour days:

For a growing group of younger professionals, the appetite for a shorter, more flexible workweek appears to be spreading, with implications for everything from gender identity to rush hour traffic.

There are part-time surgeons, part-time managers and part-time engineers. From Microsoft to the Dutch economics ministry, offices have moved into ‘flex-buildings’, where the number of work spaces are far fewer than the staff who come and go on schedules tailored around their needs.

The Dutch culture of part-time work provides an advance peek at the challenges — and potential solutions — that other nations will face as well in an era of a rapidly changing work force.

Radio Netherlands wonders if society’s demand that fathers take a more active role in the upbringing of their children will lead to new Super Dads. Surely men will have to spend more than just one Daddy Day with their children to earn that moniker? When the term was applied to women, it meant women with two full-time jobs: one at home, and one at the office. It seems that even in the gender equality debate, a man gets the same reward as a woman for less work.

(Photo by Eelke Dekker, some rights reserved)

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November 8, 2010

Netherlands most gender equal country in the world

Filed under: General,Health by Branko Collin @ 12:41 pm

According to a report by the United Nations Development Program released last week, Dutch women are closest to being equal to men.

The UNDP measured gender inequality in 136 countries. After the Netherlands, gender inequality was the lowest in Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland, and the highest in Yemen, Congo and Niger. Among the developing nations, gender equality is the highest in Burundi. The indicators used for measuring inequality were maternal mortality, adolescent fertility, parliamentary representation, educational attainment and labour force participation.

See also: Women have low impact on Dutch work force.

Link: UN Dispatch.

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July 24, 2008

DNA test posthumously inflicted on athlete

Filed under: History,Sports by Branko Collin @ 11:00 am

Foekje Dillema, the runner banned for life after undergoing a humiliating and undisclosed gender test in 1950, underwent another test posthumously this year. Commissioned by Dutch TV programme Andere Tijden Sport, and with permission of the athlete’s family, researchers of the Erasmus Medisch Centrum in Rotterdam found out that Dillema was a woman with a form of chromosomal mosaicism, which caused her to have two X chromosomes for every Y (possible in XX and XY configurations, though the show doesn’t tell). According to the researcher that was an extremely rare condition. The programme’s presenter claimed that nowadays Dillema would be able to compete without problems in women’s track and field events.

Reporter Max Dohle who is writing a biography on Dillema withdrew his cooperation for the Andere Tijden show after he found out about the DNA test: “The last thing you should do to Foekje is subject her again to a sex test. She would have never wanted that.” After the first test in 1950, Dillema felt extremely humiliated and she withdrew for always from public life.

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