The top of provincial politics does not represent the population at large with significantly more men than women in top positions in all of the Dutch provinces – and the worst culprit is Drenthe.
By Thomas Ansell
As reported by Binnenlands Bestuur, a study of representatives who will serve at the provincial level between 2019 and 2023 across the whole of the Netherlands found that representation of women at the top of provincial politics is severely lacking. The Provincial Executive (gedeputeerde staten) represents the province, and its members are elected by provincial councils, which are in turn elected by residents of the province. In The Netherlands as a whole, a mere 14 are women, a dismal 24% of the total.
Drenthe: the ‘male bulwark’
The least representative of all of the provinces is Drenthe, which the late June edition of the trade magazine for public servants Binnenlands Bestuur described as a ‘male bulwark’ due to its complete lack of female representatives. The only high-ranking female political representative in the province is King’s Commissioner for the province, Jetta Klijnsma, who is from Hoogeveen and is the former Mayor of The Hague and State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment.
Friesland and Groningen are among some of the most equal provincial executives in the country in terms of gender representation: in Groningen, six representatives were elected for the current term which is equally split between three men and three women. Friesland has a total of five representatives, two of whom are women.
Aside from Drenthe, other exceptionally unrepresentative provinces include Limburg (seven representatives, six men and one woman), and Gelderland and Overijssel (both with six representatives, five men and one woman).
Each representative has their policy area (portefeuille) to work on, and together with the King’s Commissioners, they form the executive branch of each Dutch province. Interior Minister Kajsa Ollongren has set a target of 40-60% representation for women in all political positions, both in the civil service and elected office, by 2022.
Photo source: Wikipedia