Friday, February 6, 2009

Aukje de Vries' Diary Day 19

I have to go to a meeting of my older women’s group. The meeting is in Utrecht. Utrecht is fairly centrally located so it is easy to reach from different corners of the country. We can use the premises of one of the older people’s organisations, which has its main office in Utrecht.We are all active in various organisations on all levels, from neighbourhood to world wide and we take a special interest in European and international relations. We have a lot to tell each other. Because several activities are coming up soon we decide not to engage in new projects at the moment. We discuss the telephone call I have had from the Ministry explaining that they were too busy to answer our letter. We decide that it could possibly be a case for the Ombudsman who is supposed to deal with complaints of citizens about national government agencies. We will write him a letter.

We discuss among others the meeting organised by one of our sister organisations about the upcoming European elections. The meeting seems interesting, but some of us know that the organisation has a hard time: it loses many members and hardly gets any new members so the membership is ageing. It is a women’s organisation (for all ages) that has done a lot to make women more politically aware. It seems the organisation seriously considers to close down. We conclude (not for the first time) that younger women seem no longer interested in emancipation and this is worrying. The emancipation process in The Netherlands stagnates.We briefly discuss a project we are likely to submit for subsidization together with a very active organisation of Surinamese older women as well as some issues concerning AGE, the European Older People’s Platform and the Dutch Platform which brings together the Dutch AGE members.

What is exciting is that there is a European organisation of older women (more or less our mother organisation) in which several of us are active, which is going to have a meeting in Amsterdam in May. Other than a business meeting there will be a conference for which our members are invited. This will deal with CEDAW ( the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women).

The two members of our group who have dealt with this issue in the past will brief the other before the May meeting. It is tried to find for some of the foreign guests accommodation in the home of Amsterdam older women. Women at work, keeping expenses low!

Talking about expenses, having come home from Utrecht I go grocery shopping at the supermarket in my neighbourhood. I check on the price of cucumbers. Esther told me she is annoyed because AH, our largest supermarket chain has a sign over the cucumbers saying: “always cheap”. In that particular case cheap is € 1.39. I have noticed that in the open air food market they are € 1. 75. My local green grocer charged even more, € 1.89 a few days ago and now AH charges € 1,69 but the “always cheap”sign is still there. Is that cheap? I don’t think so.

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