Towards a fairer future

Thursday 8 Mar 2018, 19:00 - 21:30
Erasmus University College
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EUC in Action – International Women’s Day

What a time to be celebrating International Women’s Day! This is a time where women’s rights are under threat from far-right political forces that seek to roll back decades of progress, where women continue to be under-paid and under-represented in all spheres of political and economic life. Yet 2017 also marked a global awakening of women with the Women’s Marches all over the World, and the #MeToo movement that is finally holding powerful men to account for their actions. This is why we want to discuss three important topics on gender equality with you on the 8th of March at EUC: Anne Sophie Halbertsma will discuss feminism as a localised concept, Dr. Liebseth Noordegraaf-Eelens will talk about empowering women through meaningful action and policy, and Emma Bouterse will share her experience and vision for the future of women’s empowerment.


19:00 Welcome & Introduction

19:10: Anne Sophie Halbertsma – Localising Feminism

19:40: Liesbeth Noordegraaf-Eelens & Ginie Servant-Miklos – Dialogue for Diversity

20:00: Introducing FairFight

20:10: Emma Bouterse – What is Empowerment?

20:30: Tinashe: a Story of Empowerment from Zimbabwe

20:40: Drinks

21:30: Event Ends

Anne Sophie Halbertsma - Localising Feminism

Anne-Sophie Halbertsma is a former student of Erasmus University College. She completed her Bachelor at University College Utrecht, where she did a double major in Social Sciences and Humanities. Anne-Sophie continued in the Social Sciences with a double master’s programme in Urban Policy at Sciences Po, Paris, and the London School of Economics. In her research, she focuses on the physical, social, economic, and cultural (in)accessibility of public spaces for various social groups. More specifically, Anne-Sophie is interested in the (in)accessibility of public spaces that are subject to (large-scale) regeneration works in the cultural sector and how these works affect local communities.

Anne-Sophie’s appreciation for local contexts informs much of the speech she will give on feminism. In contemporary feminist debates, the place of women in society (in the house, on the street, in politics, in organisations…) is still highly contested. Not only did the #metoo debate demonstrate that the position of the female body in ‘developed’ societies is still subject to unequal treatment, it also made apparent the local discrepancies between feminist discourses and emancipatory actions. In her speech, Anne-Sophie will address this localisation of feminism, and the inclusivity of the(se) movement(s).

Dr. Liesbeth Noordegraaf-Eelens - Dialogue for Diversity

Liesbeth Noordegraaf-Eelens (PhD) is Head of the Humanities Department at Erasmus University College. During her career she initiated a large number of education innovation, ranging from setting up a skills programme to developing and contributing to the humanities and economics curriculum at Erasmus University College. Since 2015 she is a co-founder and academic board member of the Rotterdam Arts & Sciences Lab, a cooperation of Erasmus university, Willem de Kooning Academy Hogeschool Rotterdam (visual arts), and Codarts (preforming arts). Within RASL she initiates and researches transformative education in arts & sciences.

In 2017, Liesbeth Noordegraaf-Eelens and colleagues from EUR published an open letter in Erasmus Magazine demanding meaningful action on diversity. A few debates later, Erasmus University was, as one of two universities in the Netherlands not able to fill in the Westerdijk Leerstoelen. These were installed by the former minister of education to stimulate female talent. What is the matter? For International Women’s day, Liesbeth will critically revisit some of the key issues that she brought up in her letter in a dialogue with Dr. Ginie Servant-Miklos. They will tackle questions such as giving real meaning to diversity, and moving from talk and promises to action and policy changes on the gender imbalance in Dutch higher education.

Emma Bouterse - What is empowerment?

Emma Bouterse is an alumnus of Erasmus University College and has been a tutor at EUC since her graduation in 2016. She completed her double major Humanities and Social & Behavioural Sciences with a thesis on Ubuntu, a Southern African philosophy focusing on the community as the basis for the individual. Next to her studies, she has been FairFight’s Secretary since 2015 and has travelled to Zimbabwe on two occasions for their projects. She holds a 2nd Dan black belt in Tang Soo Do and is very interested in how empowerment works exactly, especially its development and how it manifests itself across cultures. For FairFight, she is working on developing a research project that focuses on how empowerment is viewed by different martial arts experts, and how this is applicable in helping young women.

Emma will speak about what it means to be empowered and how it can possibly be achieved. She will go into empowerment as a process rather than an abstract concept or a skill that some of us strive to possess. Empowerment as a process implies that there might be different types of empowerment, and Emma will discuss how the notion of empowerment differs per context, per culture and even per person. Moreover, she will talk about empowerment from the perspective of a martial artist and how it can develop and manifest itself through practicing martial arts.

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