Survey: Most Dutch female pastors experience sexism


Central Europe

photo ANP, Roos Koole

Around 90 per cent of female pastors in the Netherlands feel that when they work in the church, they are treated unequally compared to their male colleagues. More than half of them regularly receive unwanted comments about their clothing or appearance.

The Dutch daily Nederlands Dagblad reports this after it conducted a research among 300 female pastors.

The Protestant Church in the Netherlands employs by far the most female pastors. Three-quarters of these women receive unwanted comments from their congregation members. In addition, a quarter of the women surveyed indicate that they experience sexism from the board of the church. For example, in church meetings, they are bothered by male fellow administrators who act as if women have no business sense.

Survey participants indicated that the undesirable approaches made them consider quitting as a pastor (5 per cent) or feel insecure (19 per cent). In addition, more than half of the questioned women (57 per cent) say that sexism has made them more combative and want to fight for equal treatment.

The Netherlands Dagblad sent almost all 1,300 female pastors the online survey. According to the newspaper, just over three hundred women from different churches completed the questionnaire.

Dr R. de Reuver, secretary of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, says in a response that he is “shocked” by the results of the research. “It is serious that this is happening, even in a church that says it does not distinguish between men and women.” But, according to him, there is “no discrimination” if municipalities choose not to appoint female officeholders. “That is a choice based on the Scriptures.”

Dr De Reuver cannot yet say whether the Protestant Church will take measures to combat discrimination. “I’ll have to read the report first. But it is awful that women receive sexist comments, for example. So it is good that we are aware of that.”



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