Male minister writes book about gender equality

Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, has written a book about how gender equality is good for everyone. He wants to change legislation but admits it's going to be a long process, even for his own cabinet.

Marjan Justaert
Marjan Justaert De Standaard, Belgium
Source: De Standaard
Male minister writes book about gender equality - NewsMavens
Alexander De Croo, 2017, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

Alexander De Croo was one of the first men to join the #SheDecides movement. Since then, he has been fighting for women's rights and gender equality. He even wrote a book about women's empowerment: "The Century of the Woman".

According to him, more paternity leave and cheaper childcare are two ways to achieve a more equal society.

On the one hand, it's a good thing that a (male!) minister is writing about gender equality and wants to turn other men into feminists -- the more, the better. But on the other hand, it might help if he practiced what he preached. The staff of his cabinet is mainly male and the federal government only numbers four women out of seventeen members.

The century of the woman? A long-term process, Minister.

  • Alexander De Croo's book is called 'De eeuw van de vrouw: Hoe feminisme ook mannen bevrijdt' (The Century of the Woman: How Feminism Also Frees Men). In it he looks at inequalities between men and women in Belgian society, such as the gender pay gap and the fact that many more women than men work part time.
  • He then goes on to scrutinize the policies that lock in ideas about gender roles. This includes parental leave, which amounts to 15 weeks for mothers but just 10 days for fathers.
  • "The solution is for the government to increase paternity leave and child-care subsidies for working parents", according to De Croo. This would put men and women on an equal footing, and encourage women to resume their careers, if they choose to, while raising children.
  • Such changes should not put a dent in the national budget, he argues. "More gender equality brings more prosperity, and with that you can fund more paternity leave and cheaper child care", he says.
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