International Handbook on Diversity Management at Work Country Perspectives on Diversity and Equal Treatment
Country Perspectives on Diversity and Equal Treatment
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Edited by Alain Klarsfeld
Chapter 9: Laws, Policies and Practices of Diversity Management in the Netherlands
9 Laws, policies and practices of diversity management in the Netherlands 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...
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