Female minister resigns... and is replaced by a man

Flemish minister Joke Schauvliege, who resigned this week, is being replaced by a male party colleague. Why don't the Christian Democrats bring more women into the government? 

Marjan Justaert
Marjan Justaert De Standaard, Belgium
Source: De Standaard
Female minister resigns... and is replaced by a man - NewsMavens
Koen Van den Heuvel , Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

The main reason why CD&V (the Belgian Christian Democrats), chose Koen Van den Heuvel to be their new minister is an electoral one -- he determines the Antwerp electoral list and can generate good publicity for the party.

This is yet another missed opportunity to empower one of the party's many capable women. CD&V's track record on gender equality is not great.

In his turn, Van den Heuvel will be replaced by another man as the group leader of CD&V in the Flemish Parliament. This is not an unusual choice by party President Wouter Beke -- he has been previously criticized his track record of nominating mainly men. The party now has seven ministers -- only two of them are women.

Details from the story:

  • On Tuesday, Joke Schauvliege, the minister in the Flemish government for agriculture, nature and the environment, resigned. 
  • Her resignation followed her claim that she knew the "real organizers" of the wave of climate protests happening in Belgium right now. In a speech to an association of farmers, she claimed that she had been informed of the existence of the plot by someone from the state security intelligence service. State security rushed to issue a denial.
  • Her announcement caused an uproar and her party had no choice but to demand her resignation, which she announced in a tearful press conference.
  • On Wednesday, the Christian Democrats announced Schauvliege's successor: Koen Van den Heuvel.
  • It's quite clear that the party's focus is on the upcoming elections, and gender equality is not a priority. 
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