Women, LGBT fighting for acceptance in Dutch military; Complaints detailed
Women, LGBT's and ethnic minorities often have negative experiences in the Dutch military because they differ from the white, heterosexual male norm, according to a report social and cultural planning office SCP published on Friday, NU.nl reports.
Defense employees prevalently feel involved and connected to one another, according to the report. But the downside is that employees who do not conform to the dominant culture have to deal with bullying, gossiping and exclusion in their unit or department. The dominant mostly white heterosexual male norm has a downside in particular for women, ethnic minorities and lesbians, homosexuals, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT).
At least one in eight female Defense employees dealt with unwanted sexual attention over the past year. Employees with a non-western background are often confronted with stereotypes. If they have a Muslim background, supposed or actual, their loyalty is also sometimes doubted.
Despite the fact that these groups often deal with negative experiences, they still feel strongly connected to the organization and are satisfied with their work. But on the other hand, Defense employees have a positive attitude towards women, ethnic minorities and LGBT's, yet they are still against expanding diversity among the staff. Any affirmative action policy can not count on support, according to the report. Defense personnel faced with social sanctions often try to downplay or adapt them.
Dutch military employees who do not fit the norm don't often report negative experiences to their commanding officers. According to the SCP, that is because they fear reprisals, such as loss of reputation or being labeled as "weak" or "snitch".
The SCP did its study among 2,600 Defense employees on behalf of the Ministry of Defense. Half of the respondents reported negative experiences.