About the mentor netwerk
The ‘Vote for a Woman Mentor Network’ is a party-wide network of female political aspirants and politicians. In the mentor network, girls and women who are hesitant about becoming politically active, or who already have concrete political interests and ambition, are linked to female politicians. We also offer mentorship for politicians who have been active for less than two years. Furthermore, Vote for a Woman offers participants skills training, for example in applying for jobs, debating and personal profiling.
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"I now have a better understanding of the ways in which I can prepare for candidacy: by participating in political activities and making myself visible."
How can you participate?
n 2023, Vote for a Woman will organize two mentor networks: the ‘Candidate for Europe’ network and the ‘Newly Elected Women’ network. You can still sign up for the Newly Chosen Women Network. Below you will find more information per network.
In recent years, Vote for a Woman has regularly been told by newly elected politicians that they would have like having a mentor or a buddy. That is not surprising: anyone who becomes politically active must quickly master a new position and work culture in which a lot is coming at you. Moreover, female politicians more often than their male colleagues have to deal with intimidation, online hate and barriers when combining political work with, for example, care tasks. The outflow of female politicians is therefore also higher than that of men.
We are establishing a mentor network for newly elected politicians (f) and female politicians who have been or have been active for some time. Concretely, we will do this by linking them to each other. We also offer the newly elected politicians some skills training courses. By supporting them, we can hopefully make their political participation more sustainable and also strengthen the network of local female politicians. We specifically focus on women who have been politically active for a maximum of 2 years. On the one hand, women who have been active for more than 2 years can register as mentors.
Program and costs
The Newly Elected Women Network will start in June 2023 and last until March 2024. The costs for this network are €300. There are several discount spots available for those who need them. The program contains the following:
- Personal Mentorship The participants are matched with a woman who has experience with regional politics – in particular in the Province, the Water Board and/or the municipal council.
- Trainings. Participants receive two training courses aimed at the political culture in which they have to operate. The training courses of this trajectory are: (in)security in politics and progressing from a newly elected politician to a director.
- Political Cafe. During this trajectory, we organize three political cafés, together with the alumni network, each at a different location in the Netherlands where you can meet with women who run into the same things as you and with whom you can talk.
- Netwerk. Meeting between women of all political colors and from all over the Netherlands.
"I have expanded my political network, I know better which political roles there are and which ones suit me. And I have learned a lot about myself."
Origins and successes
The ‘Vote for a Woman Mentor Network’ was founded in early 2020, in the middle of the corona pandemic. It started from the desire to ensure that female aspirants and politicians could still get in touch with each other during the period of lockdown, now that this was physically impossible. This is how the idea of an online mentor network was born. With this first class, more than 100 women and girls with political aspirations applied, and luckily we also managed to find 100 politically active women who wanted to be mentors. Thus the first mentor network was born. The success even then lay in the low threshold of the network: there are no requirements for participants except sincere interest, and meeting online also ensures that mentors with busy jobs could still do it alongside their work.
From BIJ1 to VVD, from SP to CDA, the network is cross-party and above all effective: 500 people have already taken part in this network, about 65% of whom have become politically active. For example, they became members of a political party, part of a committee and ran for office as a member of parliament. You will find former participants of the mentor network in various municipal councils, water boards, provinces and in the House of Representatives.
So far, the following editions of the mentor network have been organized:
- Mentor network Women and girls with political aspirations and doubts (2020), 100 mentees and 100 mentors;
- Mentor network Women and girls with aspirations and doubts (2021), 50 mentees and 50 mentors;
- Mentor Network Candidate for the Council (2021), 50 mentees and 50 mentors;
- Mentor Network Candidate for the Region (2022), 15 mentees and 15 mentors.