Presently, only 31 per cent of the members of the Dutch House of Representatives are women. This is why we are on a special mission: 50 per cent of the seats are to be taken by women. It is possible: more women than ever before are on the list. Together, we can be history makers: a House of Representatives consisting half of women. To make this dream come true, it is essential to vote smart.


Do you want more women to be elected? Vote smart! Don’t vote automatically for the first woman on the list, because she will often take a seat in the House of Representatives anyway, due to her high position. Look down, to the women who need your vote so much to be elected. Quickly scroll down to read more about how this works and for an overview of all eligible women.


Find the party you want to vote for.

How many seats will your party get, according to the polls?

Vote for a woman, lower on the candidate list. This way, you can elect her with your preferential vote.


And see which women you can vote for.

Is a woman also immediately above the dashed line? Then she, too, may well need your
preferential vote. No dashed line? Then no polls are available about this party, or it is polled
on zero seats. Please, don’t be influenced by this – polls aren’t always infallible.


By voting, you have a say in the decisions made by politicians. That, in itself, is enough reason to vote. But there are many more reasons why voting matters.

For example, suffrage can’t be taken for granted. Only in 1919 did women in this part of The Netherlands receive active suffrage, which meant that for the first time, women were allowed to vote during elections. And in 1972, the minimum age limit was dropped from 25 to 18 years. This is crucial, because younger voters vote very differently from older ones.

Nevertheless, in previous elections, the turnout of young people was considerably lower than the turnout of older people. Moreover, especially Dutch people from a non-Western migration background or with a more vocational educational background didn’t vote. This is worrisome because in elections, the aim is that everyone has an equal say in what our society is to look like. That is why it’s very important that as many people as possible from different backgrounds vote!

Unfortunately, voting for the first woman on the ballot doesn’t cause more women to get into politics. Due to her high ranking, she will often take a seat in the House of Representatives anyway. So move your eyes down on the ballot; it is these candidates who need your vote so much to be elected. Do you want more women to be elected? This works as follows:

1) Check the polls how many seats your party approximately will have. The women on the ballot who are beneath the polled number of seats need your vote to be chosen.
2) Look for a woman you match with. Do you want to know who are on the ballot? Then check our voting tool.
3) Vote for a woman lower on the ballot. This is how you get more women chosen into the House of Representatives!

With this strategy, every year more women are chosen. It really works!

It does! But you’ll have to vote smart. Most people vote for the number one on the ballot (that is the leading candidate). If you vote for someone else, your vote will be a preferential vote. And if your preferential vote goes to the woman of your choice, this may have great impact.

Please note: Don’t vote automatically for the woman highest on the ballot. Often, she’ll be chosen anyway, due to her high ranking. So move your eyes down on the ballot, it is these candidates who need your vote so much to be elected. This is how we get more women into politics.

The polls may be of help to you. Imagine that according to the polls, a party will have five seats. Then Vote for a Woman from place five downwards. With this strategy, voters voted three more women into Parliament in 2017; dozens of women into local councils in 2018; and three more women into the European Parliament in 2019. See here the polls and all candidates per party.

Presently, most politicians are men. Women have never been equally represented in politics. For example, only 32 per cent of the members of the House of Representatives are women (1), 35 percent of the Provincial Council are women (2), and 32 per cent of the municipal councils are women (3). Whereas half of the Dutch population are women.

When politics is more diverse, politicians make better decisions. Because more diverse people participate, for example, with different cultural backgrounds, LGBT+, young and old, those with practical vocational training and those with university graduates, with or without a disability, more people are taken into account in those decisions. In a more diverse House of Representatives, a broader variety of subjects will also be discussed, and viewed from more angles (4). This will lead to more trust in politics, fair policy and a change in prevailing stereotypes about politics (5). In other words: more women and diversity improve the quality of politics.

The visibility of different women in politics is also good for women’s emancipation. It ensures that girls and women recognise themselves more, have more ambition, and become more motivated to become politically active themselves. Female politicians become a role model (6).

Of course, representation is not only important for “women” as a group. There are many groups, some are “women” sub-groups, who are hardly represented, or not at all. For example, currently there are no black women in the Lower House, no Hindustani women, no trans women, and no women with a disability (7). This means that their wishes and experiences are insufficiently included now.

Quality is extremely important. This is why it matters to vote for someone you consider good, for example a woman who stands for your ideals. And it does make a difference when you count gender in; with more women and diversity in politics, politics will improve. It is proven that better decisions are made in the fields of – amongst others – education, care, environment and economics. Presently, there’s a shortage of both women and diversity in politics and this undercuts its quality. To improve this, it is essential that we choose for diverse sorts of people: all these varying experiences guarantee everyone’s voice to be heard.

Besides, politics set the example. If equal opportunities are present there, this may work through in all of society (1). A greater diversity in people has many positive effects: it causes more trust in politics, increases the acceptance of the voting results, and it smashes the stereotypes about who should be in politics (2).

More diversity in politics improves the quality of our democracy. Because, when more people from several backgrounds take part in the discussion, the subjects that are discussed in politics will represent a larger part of our society. This causes the policies that are made to be more righteous, and the dominating stereotypes about politics will change (1). Research shows that female politicians have a positive effect on all sorts of policies and political culture (2). Moreover, more gender equality in The Netherlands may boost the economy considerably (3).

Besides, female politicians serve as a role model for other women. Greater visibility of various women in politics encourages girls and women to recognise themselves and become easier motivated to become politically active themselves (4).

This sounds logical but is more complicated. Women do not, per definition, all or just women. En mannen kunnen ook vrouwen vertegenwoordigen. And men are able to represent women. But often, women have other experiences forthcoming from their gender identity which will insufficiently be represented in male-dominated politics. You’ll get far with empathy, but to fully be in someone else’s shoes is impossible.

Groups that are underrepresented will likely be better represented by voting for someone who resembles them (1). More studies point out that politicians with various backgrounds bring in standpoints which otherwise would have been overlooked (2). It makes sense that those who are effected by certain policies ought to be involved in its decision-making. After all, they contribute knowledge about this group and have specific wished and interests.

This is why good representation matters so much. Still, men are the standard in Dutch politics; we’ve never had a female PM – and female mayors and alderwomen are rare. Equal representation doesn’t happen without saying. It is essential that women become more actively involved in politics themselves and that the women who do so will be rewarded with our votes!

Correct and this is one of the reasons why we took this initiative. The list of candidates is put together by the political parties themselves and there are no rules for a good gender balance, apart from the rules parties impose upon themselves (1). Unfortunately, this still leads to an overwhelming number of candidate lists existing of men only and almost all leading candidates are men. Women are also more often on ineligible places. This won’t change unless parties receive clear signals from voters and party members the time has come for more women on the ballot.

There is also good news! Despite the fact that there are fewer women on the ballot than men, there are plenty eligible women to vote for, provided we vote smart! If more women get involved in politics, they serve as role models for other women to become politically active. And thus, the problem solves itself also with the help of our votes (2).

Brilliant! Please, do mind that the distribution both high on ballot and lower is fairly equal. Sometimes, parties may put many women in the top ten, but then it turns out that only thirty per cent on the ballot are women. And does your party really have an equal distribution? Even then it may be a great idea to vote for a woman lower on the list. Because we’re still able to fix the shortage after all when some parties hardly put women on the ballot.

Do focus on the woman that appeals to you most, of course. Getting introduced to all women candidates is easy with the help of our voting assistant.

Usually it isn’t. The bottom persons on the ballots (in Dutch lijstduwers) are often well-known and who would like to contribute to a party’s popularity. But often, they don’t really want to take a seat.

To get more women into politics, it is incredibly smart to vote for female candidates who would just miss out on the polls. Of course, it matters to look for a female politician who appeals to you most! Getting introduced to all women candidates is easy with the help of our voting assistant.

What counts most is that you vote for a political party that suits you most. Then, by smart use of your preferential vote, together we can take care of more women getting into politics. Thus, chances grow on having more female politicians, leading candidates and, finally, a female PM.

Usually, the Prime Minister will be chosen from the party who turned out as the largest in the elections. Often this is the leading candidate, but this isn’t always the case.

Does your party have a female leading candidate? Then, smart voting still makes sense. During the elections you may check the polls to find out how many seats your party is expected to get. Then vote for a woman from the last polled seat downwards. Of course, focus especially on the woman who appeals to you most! Please, also read our voting advice on how to vote smart.