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Elske in the Telegraaf: ’It’s mostly women holding women back’

Elske in the Telegraaf: ’It’s mostly women holding women back’

Who are currently slowing down the advancement of women’s rights the most? Women. Business woman Elske Doets arrives at this conclusion in this interview that was printed on 2019 International Women’s Day in Dutch newspaper de Telegraaf. “Cool women who get ahead in the world, deserve applause. But what do they get? Stupid sermons on being-in-balance.”

Must we really still talk about the fight for women’s rights? Haven’t we conquered our rightful place in the economy and society a long time ago? Lately, when giving a talk on the stifling morale Dutch women have to deal with, the aversion towards their ambitions and the absurd emphasis on being-in-balance, I have noticed irritation brewing in the audience. The most i’ll get is that they afterwards recognize that we maybe ‘are not completely there yet’. But we have equal rights? And in politics we see women climbing to for example a post as minister? And that it is an achievement that thanks to part time jobs we have time to take care of ailing loved ones, right? So why am I going on about it? In short, who seem to be the most fed up with the whole topic of women’s rights? Women.

I don’t understand that resignation. Lets start with the fact that only forty percent of Dutch women is financially independent. That percentage is ridiculously small, right? Just think about it: for six out of ten woman it is not a given that they can survive financially when their relationship ends. That the emancipation and position of women is not a priority anymore, could spring from luxury: when you hit financial trouble, the government can help you. You only have to apply for an allowance.

“Allright,” I get a lot, “things can always move along faster. But isn’t it nice that government and business are working on more diversity, which is good for women?” Sorry but it isn’t. I think it is awful. How humiliating and telling is it that in 2019 Dutch leaders are starting up a cycle of meetings to get more women to top positions? The embarrassing conclusion: women still need to be helped. How gender role confirming is that?

On top of that, almost daily I see the women who are in leading positions and are presented as success stories, behind the screens wrestle with insecurity, doubts and care tasks at home. While men without a care or worry in the world go for their career goals. Where is the equality in that? What do you mean the fight for women’s rights is passe? Absolutely not. Al those female ministers cannot hide the fact that only 34 percent of jobs in politics is occupied by women. Wake up! There is still a world to win.

What does it say about the world if in a prosperous country like The Netherlands women’s rights are at this level? That this planet urgently needs women who stick out their neck. Push boundaries. Get out of their comfort zone. And thus be a role model for millions of young girls to not stay safely in the shades with some smalltime job, but have the guts to go be in the limelight.

Even though she is not in my camp politically, I say the rising start of the left wing Democrats, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a great role model. More of that, please, more, more.

Because #heroines is one of the themes of International Women’s Day 2019, I’d like to nominate all women who don’t let other women stand in the way of their need for adventure. Let’s please defeat our biggest enemy – ourselves.

Elske Doets

Travel entrepreneur
Business Woman of the Year 2017
Founder of the Young Lady Business Academy

As published in Dutch in the Telegraaf