Towards fair opportunities and choices in work and education
Werk.en.de Toekomst is committed to challenging gender stereotypes in education and on the labour market and to improving the possibilities of combining labour, care and learning. Werk.en.de Toekomst is a collaboration between Atria, institute on gender equality and women’s history, Emancipator, the Dutch Women’s Council (NVR) and VHTO, National Expertise Bureau Girls/Women and Science/Technology and is supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
Gender stereotyping leaves a considerable untapped potential of human capital. That is a pity. In a socially just world, people’s life paths are open and diverse and not bounded by stereotypical frameworks. In that world, people develop according to their own wishes and talents and find their own balance between labour, education and care. According to their own preferences and insights, supported by facilities provided by the government and employers, such as maternity and parental leave, childcare and more flexible labour contracts.
Emancipator focuses on the role of men and masculinity: while other project partners are mainly concerned with encouraging women and girls to enter science and technology, politics and other male-dominated professions, we are concerned with encouraging men and boys to enter traditionally female professions. For example, care, education, and caring for one’s own children and household.
We collect ‘role models’: men who are non-traditional in some way. For instance, by working in care, primary education or child care, by being a house husband or involved father or not a breadwinner, by doing volunteer work, or something else.
In 2020, in collaboration with Stijn Schenk, we developed a toolkit for professionals in and around education: Talent Development of Boys.
In 2021, we will train a group of peer educators to work with the toolkit, with a train-the-trainer in June. In the second half of 2021, they will be deployed to give workshops at schools based on the toolkit Talent Development of Boys. More information follows.
The Netherlands is facing a challenge. The labour market is changing due to technological developments, flexibilisation, decentralisation and cutbacks. This requires making optimal use of the talent and potential of those working, caring and learning in the Netherlands. This is only possible if each individual can find a broad orientation, can aspire to a future as he or she sees it, and with sufficient facilities enabling to combine labour, care and education. It is important that people are not limited by norms about what men and women ‘should do’: so-called gender stereotypes. Moreover, these are often linked to LGBT, ethnic, class and age stereotypes.
Therefore Werk.en.de.Toekomst is committed to ensure that:
- young people are not limited by gender stereotypes and feel free to make gender-nonconforming choices in their educational career;
- barriers that gender stereotypes create for employees and employers in the labour market are broken down;
- people can benefit from laws and social services that improve the possibilities of combining labour, care and education.
Between 2018 and 2022 Werk.en.de Toekomst will be working on:
- conducting research,
- identifying stereotypes and positive counter-stereotypes,
- employing role models,
- sharing good examples,
- setting the agenda with government, social partners, educational institutions and employers.