This month, Charlene introduces us to one of our newest members, Garcia Stans. Garcia is a financial business coach and also serves as the treasurer of the NVR (Dutch Women’s Council). She tells us why there is still a need for this organization that advocates for women in the Netherlands.

WBII’s new inside connection to the Dutch Women’s Council

For the past 5 years, WBII has been honoured to be a member of the NVR (Nederlandse Vrouwen Raad / Dutch Women’s Council). An umbrella organisation founded in 1898 by the Dutch Suffragettes, the NVR currently represents more than 50 member organisations and an estimated one million women. NVR members include a wide variety of women’s organisations, with the common purpose of enhancing the position of women in the Netherlands by advocating on our behalf at the national, international and European government levels. The WBII wanted to reach out to be more in touch with the Dutch community, and I personally travelled to Zwolle, where the NVR annual meeting was being held, to introduce the WBII so that a vote could take place to accept our membership application.

Over the years, we have followed with great interest the work of the NVR, and we were particularly pleased when in 2017, Nenita La Rose was elected chairwoman and accepted our invitation to speak at the WBII December 2017 Festive Lunch. As internationals, we connected easily with Nenita when she told us about growing up in Surinam, moving back and forth between there and the Netherlands before finally settling in the Netherlands, and her struggles to fit in, both in Surinam and in Holland. On top of Nenita’s election as chairwoman of the NVR, she has also been elected to the Amsterdam City Council and is currently serving as alderman responsible for Diversity and Anti-discrimination Policy, Health Care, Youth, and Seniors.

Even better connections

All of this is the short introduction as to how we got in touch with Garcia Stans, who is the NVR’s new treasurer (to be officially nominated at the NVR board meeting on May 15), as well as a new member of WBII! Born and raised in Rotterdam, and currently living in the old city centre of Dordrecht, Garcia took the step in February 2019 and started Sparkle Your Business. Through her company, she helps women entrepreneurs develop their financial mindsets. Her slogan is: ‘Finance is Fun’, even though she realises that finance is not an entrepreneur’s most favourite thing, and many think it’s probably enough just to have an accountant. But Garcia believes that finance is so much more. It’s about reading the numbers you get from your accountant, setting realistic financial goals, ensuring that you have a good salary every month. You must make sure your company works for you, instead of you working for your company.

Every year, the NVR selects one woman as the Dutch UN Women’s Representative. Garcia read about the announcement and decided to apply for the position. She explained to me: “It was so interesting to see what the NVR is doing in support of the equal rights of women in all areas, and especially their connection with the government and politics. To get into a dialogue with politicians is usually the best way to make changes. The NVR’s many projects, including the results, are also so inspiring.”

Although she was considered for the position, Garcia was not selected. Still, the NVR selection committee was sufficiently impressed that they decided to offer her the position of NVR treasurer, a position that was also becoming available. The requirement is that NVR employees must also be a member of an NVR member association. After reviewing all of the NVR member organisations, Garcia chose to join the WBII, and Nenita passed on our contact details. Garcia chose WBII based on her entrepreneurial experience and her international background and spirit (she has lived in Baltimore, Maryland, Dublin and London and ‘loves to travel around the world’). So even though the WBII always had good connections with the NVR, with Garcia as a new member, they immediately got even better! And as a financial consultant, Garcia can also be of support to the WBII community.

What about the future?

One could ask the question, after over 120 years, does the NVR still really need to exist to speak out on behalf of women’s rights? And likewise, does the WBII still need to be a member? Sadly, the NVR is still extremely important, and organisations such as the WBII still need to be members. Garcia aptly stated: “So many women are connected through member organisations with the NVR. To be united is much more powerful. We, as women, should connect and support each other and be part of this together, which is so wonderful.”

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021, there is an important gender gap worldwide. “Another generation of women will have to wait for gender parity. As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be felt, closing the global gender gap has increased by a generation, from 99.5 years to 135.6 years.” With the Netherlands ranked at #31 worldwide, countries such as Albania, Barbados, Burundi, Costa Rica, Moldova, Nicaragua, Namibia, the Philippines, Serbia and South Africa all rank higher. Something is surely wrong with this picture when the Netherlands is ranked #11 in terms of per capita GDP countries.

Garcia is also looking forward to collaborating with WBII. As an entrepreneur, she supports our mission. Being a woman entrepreneur has its highs and lows for Garcia, and she maintains that it’s always good to have a community for two-way guidance. She believes that she has a lot to offer WBII members, and she also loves to help, share and learn from others. “Maybe I can give a workshop about financial goals or about pricing. I see so many possibilities”, mused Garcia. And so do we!

Cover Photo credit: Gabrielle Henderson