Women, Leadership and Power: Debate and book presentation

On 15 June, NIMD organized a debate on women in politics. The even kicked off with a presentation by Virginia García Beaudoux, author of the latest NIMD publication Dancing Backwards in High Heels.

The book describes how the media influences the way we perceive women in leadership positions. Based on her years of experience as a researcher and gender consultant in Latin America and a series of interviews with Dutch politicians, Virginia gives recommendations on promoting women’s political participation.

Virginia during her presentation

Following a short introduction by NIMD moderator Wouter Dol, Virginia addressed the audience on the difficulties that women in politics face, all over the world. Among other stereotypes, she attention to the perception that “leadership is male” and to the traditional division of tasks between men and women.

Virginia also shared her findings from Dancing Backwards in High Heels and her ideas on how to increase women’s political participation, including mentorship schemes and work with political parties to ensure equal access to power for women and men.

Virginia’s presentation was met with enthusiasm by the panellists. Nel van Dijk, Kathalijne Buitenweg and Tamara van Ark, all politicians interviewed for the publication, discussed their personal experiences and the barriers they had faced in their political careers. The discussion focused on the Dutch context, with attention being drawn to part-time work for women, cultural norms, unfavourable conditions in parliament and paternity leave.

The panellists

The panellists were also joined by Heleen Schrooyen, NIMD Senior Programme Manager , who suggested possible ways forward, highlighting NIMD’s work towards diversity and gender equality in its programme countries.

A lively debate followed, as the audience was also eager to share personal experiences, and assess the current situation regarding gender equality in political parties and parliament, both in the Netherlands and worldwide.

Read the Dancing Backwards in Heels here:

Photo gallery