Working Hours in the Netherlands: The Women's Voice
In the debate over length of the work-week in France, the "Dutch model" is often cited by those who favor a shorter work-week. The experience of Holland is offered as proof that such a measure, along with efforts to moderate wage increases, can eventually raise the employment level. (See the articles by Jean-Yves Boulin and Gilbert Cette on the reduction of working time in the Netherlands, in Futuribles n°222 and n°226.)
Marie Wierink does not dwell on this aspect of the employment issue, calling our attention instead to the Dutch Model as the manifestation of a very patriarchal society which has been deeply transformed by feminism. In particular, she shows how the strict partition of gender roles between productive and reproductive (domestic) activities which formerly marked Dutch society has changed under the influence of feminist philosophy. This emancipatory politics has effected an important redistribution of professional and private activities.
The feminisation of our society is an essential subject which is rarely addressed. Marie Wierink delivers a rich analysis in this essay, showing how the feminist movement was organized to become a powerful influence for social change by infiltrating political parties and unions.