Member in the spotlight April 2016: DUTCH MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
May 4, 2016
The Dutch Ministry of Defence has been actively promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace for years. “There are frequent diversity meetings at our Ministry”, says Major Peter Kees Hamstra, who is Chairman of the board of ‘Dutch Government Pride’ and ‘Homosexuality and the Armed Forces Foundation’. “During these meetings, all diversity issues are discussed, current practices reviewed and new plans made to contribute to more diversity and inclusion within our organization”.
Twice a year, the Defence Ministry organizes a three-day LGBT employee intimate gathering for a maximum of 20 participants ensuring privacy and safety. The event consists of seminars and group discussions with the objective to address and evaluate all LGBT related issues the participants encounter at work. The intimate and intensive conference is unique in its sort and shows a true management commitment to the well-being of its LGBT employees.
In addition to the LGBT employee conference, the Ministry organizes yearly a LGBT networking day for all employees, participates every year with a boat at Amsterdam’s Gay Pride Canal Parade and has a visible presence at Tilburg’s Roze Zaterdag festivities and National Remembrance Day at the Homomonument in the center of Amsterdam.
Currently, the Ministry is looking into the possibility of collaborating with the Workplace Pride Chair at Leiden University regarding an elaborate study on workplace inclusion at all Dutch Ministries. “An extensive study like this will give great insight into the current LGBT emancipation within the ministries, the challenges and ways for improvement”, Hamstra says.
Given all the ongoing efforts and new initiatives, it is no surprise that in a 2014 LGBT Military case study, carried out by The Hague Center of Strategic Studies, the Dutch Armed Forces ranked second out of 103 countries.