International Handbook on Diversity Management at Work
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International Handbook on Diversity Management at Work

Country Perspectives on Diversity and Equal Treatment

Edited by Alain Klarsfeld

Managing and developing diversity is on the political and business agenda in many countries; therefore diversity management has become an area of knowledge and practice in its own right. Yet all too often it is referred to as a unifying concept, as if it were to be interpreted uniformly across all cultures and countries. The contributors to this volume expertly examine the relationship between diversity management and equality legislation within the different participating countries’ national contexts. They advocate that such separation and sequencing between equality at work and diversity management is far from natural.
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Chapter 9: Laws, Policies and Practices of Diversity Management in the Netherlands

Inge Bleijenbergh, Marloes van Engen and Ashley Terlouw


Inge Bleijenbergh, Marloes van Engen and Ashley Terlouw Introduction Workplace diversity is definitely a hot issue in current Dutch public debate. As a small country by the sea, the Netherlands has a long history of trade and immigration. Today, about 20 per cent of the population are immigrants, who come from both Western and non-Western countries. Workplace diversity, with regard to ethnical background, is the most pressing issue in the Dutch public diversity debate, and reference is often made to the freedom that immigrants should or should not have to act in the workplace according to their own cultural or religious beliefs. The issue of gender is another topic that is also intensively debated. In spite of the international image of the Netherlands as having a progressive and tolerant culture, the labour market position of women in the Netherlands is rather weak. Only a small minority of Dutch women are economically independent of their husbands, and there are very few women who fill top positions in for-profit and non-profit organizations in the Netherlands. Since the Dutch population is steadily ageing, Dutch organizations are increasingly feeling the need to develop the labour potential of immigrants and women. The ageing of the population has also created another diversity issue in the public debate, namely the public pension age. Many workers already retire from work before the age of 65, but the government has just decided, due to the economic crisis, to raise the retirement age to 67, in order to ensure that...

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