Sunday, March 1, 2009

Aukje de Vries' Diary Day 42

In the morning the weather looks okay, but there are two TV programs I like to watch, so I do not (yet) go out. After lunch it already looks darker, but I decide to go out before it starts to rain. I deliver the papers I have received from the municipality for the meeting on Thursday about wellbeing in our neighbourhood to the members of our informal group. Having come home I start to take care of my plants. Some of them need bigger pots, others look sick, so I should not keep them. I take cuttings of some plants that are getting too big, but before I have finished this it begins to rain. The entire month of February has been sombre, I hardly have seen the sun and again the weather forecast for the coming week is poor. Will the bright days of early spring never come?

Fairly late in the evening I call Geraldine. I know it risks to be a long phone call.

Geraldine has taken an initiative that has been taken over by the local library to set up a group of older women to talk about women’s emancipation and their experiences with it. In the late sixties and early seventies women really changed the scene in The Netherlands and Geraldine thinks that there are quite a few women in our neighbourhood who have been active in this movement. It would be interesting for them to record their experiences. A group of about 12 women will get together, start to discuss and after a few meetings will write their personal history re emancipation. It is interesting that the same idea came up in the older women’s network, but there the idea was dropped for lack of (wo)manpower. It seems a timely initiative. Unfortunately I discover that I have already other obligations on half of the dates on which the group is supposed to meet, so it makes no sense for me to sign up. Geraldine hopes that out of this group a network will develop, of women who like to continue meeting each other after the project has been finished. I’d like to take part in the networking. We both agree that it is important, as we get older, to have friendly relations with people in the same neighbourhood. As expected a long discussion between us develops, which goes on for almost an hour and a half. Geraldine is concerned about the actions of the present government with two religious parties in it: the Christian Democrats (CDA) and the Christian Union (CU). They are rather unfriendly towards women’s emancipation (although they do not say so). As the long-term care insurance is gradually being dismantled, more women are forced to provide informal care. This does not help their emancipation, but there is no protest movement like in the sixties. Women are supposed to care and work, but the Christian parties don’t seem to mind that the burden of care falls mostly on women, who therefore cannot work full time and become economically dependent on their husband. A totally undesirable situation. Equal opportunities? Forget it!

It is already quite late when Tigger jumps on the table. He tells me it is time to stop. Thanks, Tigger!

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