Stem op een Vrouw [Vote for a Woman] is a Dutch foundation, striving to improve the political representation and emancipation of women.
Men and women are equal in the eyes of the law, but the political reality is different. At this time, only 31 percent of MPs, 36 percent of Senators, 30 percent of council members and 26 percent of aldermen is female*. We also need more political diversity. That’s why we founded Stem op een Vrouw in 2017.
In January 2017, a group of volunteers gathered to achieve a common goal: getting more women elected to Parliament in March of that year. We chose to focus on preferential voting: by encouraging voters to vote for women further down the candidate list—more specifically, listed below the number of seats their party was expected to win—women who theoretically ranked as “unelectable” would still be able to get into Parliament. This would help combat the gender imbalance on the candidate lists.
That first campaign immediately paid off: three women were elected to Parliament through preferential voting. An historic moment! The number of preferential votes cast for women listed below the scope of expected seats was nearly twice as high as it had been in the 2012 elections. We decided to start a foundation, and our initiative quickly rose to fame. Our efforts paid off during the 2018 municipal elections: in the 70 largest municipalities alone, over 75 women were elected through preferential voting.
Most people know us because of our voting campaigns, but we have also branched out into other fields. We organize training events to help female candidates to develop skills that will aid them in their political career, and set up election debates so female politicians can let their voice be heard. We also consult for political parties, municipalities, organizations and companies that want to attract more female and diverse talent.
Suffice to say we take a multi-pronged approach. In future, we want to expand even further. One way to do this would be by setting up meetings for women with political ambitions, so we can act as talent scouts for political parties.
Are you passionate about this too? Help us spread the word! Donate, follow us on social media, sign up for the newsletter and share our updates with your inner circle, or check out the online store for stickers and buttons to proclaim your support.
*Subject to regular change. As far as we know, these are the most up-to-date figures available.
The team consists of over fifteen volunteers, who each contribute in different ways. Some set aside time each week to organize events or collect data. Others get involved as trainers, consult for us on a case-by-case basis, or provide graphic design.
The board consists of the following members:
Devika Partiman – Chair
Iris Bos – Treasurer
Santi van den Toorn – Secretary
We would like to thank all the volunteers who have been involved with the foundation over the years. Listed alphabetically, they are:
Bianca Pander, Caspar Claasen, Devika Partiman, Esther Baar, Esther Crabbendam, Eva van Rijnberk, Gina Lafour, Henriëtte Hoogervorst, Iris Bos, Isabelle Griffioen, Judith Stevens, Kathelijne Niessen, Katy Hofstede, Liesbeth Tettero, Maarten van Heems, Marlou Jenneskens, Melissa Lo-Fo-Wong. Michiel Stapper, Nadia Bouwsma, Sanne Jeurissen, Santi van den Toorn, Shula Tas, Solange Pompl, Tessa Hagen, Tove Hofstede, Viktorija Veljanoska, Zilla Boyer.