Netherlands // About

In the 2000 Multi-Year Policy Plan: Emancipation, the Dutch government announced its preconditions for gender mainstreaming and required both departmental and interdepartmental structures to be set up. The plan also required that all ministries should prepare a report on gender mainstreaming indicating how the five preconditions were met.

In 2004, the Emancipation Review Committee (VCE) was established by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (which was responsible for emancipation policy at that time). The VCE was assigned the task of following up, assessing and stimulating the Dutch government’s progress on gender mainstreaming. In 2007, the final VCE Report on the evaluation of gender mainstreaming and the Dutch government’s emancipation policies concluded that progress had stagnated since the decision to sustainably integrate emancipation objectives into all regular policymaking. As part of this policy, the Cabinet formulated a position on gender mainstreaming in 2001, which defined five preconditions and indicated that the quality of gender-equality policies was declining. In the period following the VCE recommendations, the Netherlands’s approach to gender mainstreaming has changed. The two most recent gender-equality policies and their progress reports to the parliament reflect the revised approach, the core concept of which is the ‘system responsibility’ of ministries with regard to national emancipation policies. This means that the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science takes the lead in the national emancipation policy, but that the responsibility for its formulation, implementation and evaluation is not left solely with that ministry. The ministry makes cooperation agreements with other ministries when emancipation priorities fall within the mandate of their policy domain. These cooperation agreements specify what those ministries are to contribute to the realisation of the emancipation objectives set out in national policy. An important aspect of this system-responsibility approach is that other ministries besides the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science are to be held accountable by parliament regarding the implementation of gender-equality policy.