The number of women serving as Provincial Executive Members within the provincial councils is historically low, AD reported on Friday. The analysis revealed that following the provincial elections in March, fewer than one-quarter of the proposed and nominated provincial leaders are women. Men exclusively fill the leadership roles in two provinces, namely Flevoland and Zeeland.
This report is based on an analysis conducted by the news website of the proposed and appointed provincial executive members since the Provincial Council elections on March 15. The study encompassed ten provinces. Friesland and Noord Brabant were not included in the analysis as they have not formed their Provincial Executive yet.
The Provincial Executive is the executive branch of the Dutch provinces. It is composed of the provincial executive members who are appointed by the political parties represented in the provincial council. The Provincial Executive is responsible for implementing the decisions made by the provincial council and managing the day-to-day affairs of the province. They oversee various policy areas such as infrastructure, transportation, environment, and economic development.
The low representation of female leaders was already evident following the municipal elections in March 2022, when the decreasing number of elected women shocked many. The data indicated that among 154 municipalities, 46 only had male aldermen. In Feba
The news website revealed that several national parties, such as SP, ChristenUnie, SGP, and PVV, nominated only men for the Provincial Executive. In the case of the PvdA and CDA, there are five times as many men as women, while for GroenLink, the ratio is four men for every woman. In the case of newcomer BBB, 4 out of 16 deputies are women, whereas for the VVD, it is 4 out of 12. D66, on the other hand, has an equal representation of one man and one woman.
Devika Partiman, the founder and director of the Stem op een Vrouw Foundation (Vote for a Woman in Dutch), expressed her dismay at the percentage of women in provincial councils. “I was expecting stagnation, not a decline,” Partiman said.
She believes that the processes surrounding the formation of coalitions for the provincial councils need to change. “Coalitions increasingly consist of four or five parties, each contributing one deputy. Often parties have multiple candidates, with the man usually listed first and the woman second on many electoral lists. Consequently, the man gets the position.”
Coalitions within provincial councils are built through negotiations and agreements between political parties. After the provincial council elections, the elected parties need to form a coalition to establish a majority and effectively govern the province. The distribution of seats among the political parties is determined based on the results.
In February, the foundation raised the alarm by revealing that women were underrepresented in the country’s water boards and provincial councils. Women do not make up a majority of members of any of the 12 provincial councils or the 21 regional water boards.