A problem that affects the population’s sexual health and continues to appear in the media in much too lukewarm of a fashion, is the fact that four of the seven major brands of birth control pills have not been available for months in the Netherlands, including the most popular non-name brand.
Most companies didn’t exactly shout from the rooftops that they could no longer supply their products. Even though the government is acutely aware of the situation, calls it ‘a scandal’ and promised to sort it out in September, we’re approaching December and the problem persists. Production upgrades that went awry and attempts to fix the problems have caused a pile of problems that genuinely qualify as a clusterfuck.
According to Rutgers, a sexual and reproductive health organisation, 63% of Dutch women between 18 and 24 use the pill as their main contraception, and in this case, it is the no-name, major brand pill that’s been entirely unavailable. In this country, it is policy to prescribe no-name cheaper brands before anything else, and I’m sure price and having taken the Pill out of the free healthcare package not helping in any way, shape or form.
Options? Buying pills off Dutch auction sites for ‘usurious prices’, including buying pills from dubious sources as if it were illegal drugs. Why a problem that affects more than half of the population – it’s an issue for women and their partners! – can’t be solved is not just a scandal, it’s a general health hazard and embarrassing for such a rich country.
(Links: vice.com, nos.nl)
Tags: birth control, misogyny, pills, women
Preferential voting in last month’s municipal elections in the Netherlands has caused a drastic increase of female representatives, newspaper Trouw reported two weeks ago.
The campaign Stem op een Vrouw (vote for a woman) encouraged citizens to vote tactically by voting for a woman the polls suggested would just miss out on being elected. The result was an increase of 20% women in the Dutch municipal councils.
Municipal councils in the Netherlands are elected once every four years. A council sets the policy for its municipality and supervises the municipality’s executive board. A party receives its portion of the available seats based on the percentage of votes they win. The council seats are distributed among the candidates that make up the top of the party list, but if a lower ranked candidate gets a lot of votes, they bump the lowest candidate of the primary selection from her or, as the case may be, his seat.
In the previous four years, a record-breaking 28% of council members were women, but this year the new record was set at 34%. Citizens gave women a preferential vote across all party lines, although the effect was most noticeable for candidates of D66 (Democrats), Groen Links (Greens) and SP (Socialists).
Most resistant to the idea of female council members turned out to be the political parties and the candidates themselves. In 334 of the 335 municipalities, men dominated the party list, NOS reported in March. In the one town where there was an equal amount of male and female candidates, Heemstede, the male party leaders still outnumbered the female party leaders 2:1.
Both PvdA (Labour) and SP had their candidates sign a waiver, stating they would give up their seat if they got in on preferential votes. Several female Socialists gave up their council seats. The waiver has no legal force according to John Bijl of the Perikles institute: “You swear loyalty to the law and the constitution, not to your political party.” In Woerden, local party Inwonersbelangen (Citizens’ Interests) threw Lia Arentshorst out of the party after she refused to give up her seat.
The campaign Vote for a Woman was founded by Devika Partiman after a campaign with the same name from the 1990s in Surinam. The campaign also ran during the previous parliamentary elections, where the effect was more subdued, presumably due to the fact that the representation of women in parliament has historically been greater already.
Tags: democracy, feminism, misogyny, municipal councils, municipalities, politics
An exhibition at the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, North Holland entitled ‘The Art of Laughter: Humour in the Golden Age’ is presenting “the first ever overview of humour in seventeenth-century painting” until March 2018.
Trying to present a lighthearted view of the Golden Age means showing “naughty children, stupid peasants, foolish dandies and befuddled drunks, quack doctors, pimps, procuresses, lazy maids and lusty ladies”.
And women being ‘grabbed by the pussy’.
In a painting by Paulus Potter, who specialised in animals within landscapes painted from a low vantage point, his ‘Resting rider before an inn’ has a woman brushing the rider’s face with her hand and in return he grabs her private parts all in good fun.
In the name of mischief, farce and love and lust, the Frans Hals Museum features works by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Judith Leyster, Adriaen Brouwer, Gerard van Honthorst, Jan Miense Molenaer and Nicolaes Maes.
The Museum explains that the writer Lodovico Guicciardini, who was living in the Low Countries at that time, said that the Dutch were ‘very convivial, and above all jocular, amusing and comical with words, but sometimes too much.’
(Links: vice.com, franshalsmuseum.nl, Photo: nos.nl)
Tags: Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, misogyny, North Holland