No Room for “Blondies” at the Nuclear Security Summit

Apparently there is a strict gender policy also to serve lunch nowadays. Being sexy and ‘provocative’ can lead you to dangerous and unconformable situations, such as sexual harassment and rape, as it has been pointed out many times by men and political leaders, but also ,ironically, by courageous women (the latest ‘ironic’ campaign was carried out by young Indian ladies, click here if you didn’t see it). But somehow this is not degrading enough! Now, women are not good at serving lunch either, because their beauty or just their curves, could distract the world leaders currently at the Nuclear Security Summit 2014, in The Hague (NL).

Photo Credits: The Independent.  World leaders at Nuclear Security Summit.
Photo Credits: The Independent.
World leaders at Nuclear Security Summit.

This choice has been described as ‘un-Dutch’, due to the fact that the country hosting the summit is well-known for its open-minded mentality and gender equality (beside the exception in Dutch politics by the Reformed Political Party – SGP – which lifted a ban on female membership). But the director of the catering company, Hans van der Linde, has stated that he decided to take this measure for a matter of uniformity: “If 20 gentlemen are serving and then there’s three platinum blonde ladies, then that spoils the image”.

“The personnel needs to act in as reserved a manner as possible, and you can’t achieve that by adding a couple of pretty, conspicuous ladies to the mix,”  he then added.

When the summit’s spokesperson, Daphne Kerremans (a woman,) followed his lead and reassured the press that the staff had to appear uniform, thus allowing only one gender, he certainly had to feel relieved. Furthermore, Jean-Paul Weijers, director of the Protocolbureau, later stated that the majority of male presence at the summit, among them Muslim leaders as well, had been the reason that lead to the choice of hiring only men to serve at the event, so as to not distract the leaders during their decision-making process.

“Everything is taken into consideration when organising such an important gathering. That includes things like this.” Weijers concluded.

Van der Linde even came up with the idea, at the beginning, to only employ women  personnel dressed with typical Delft Blue dresses. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs – thankfully- rejected the proposal. I think that could have been even more humiliating for the women, as well as an insurance of catching the attention of the leaders.

I thought that the old mentality of ‘the woman in the kitchen and the man at work’ was sexist enough, but now they are saying that we cannot serve politicians because we cause too much distraction.

There is another saying  that states ‘behind every great man, there is a great woman’, which is flattering, but it seems just like a pat on the back. Some women, though, did change the course of history, reaching high levels in the political hierarchy and being part of Nuclear Security Summit currently taking place. The number, however, is ridiculous..only 7 out of 58 world leaders and observing international organizations are female! That means that women are basically absent even in the decision-making process. Here is the list of the ladies present:

– Julie Bishop Australia

– Helle Thorning-Schmidt Denmark

– Angela Merkel Germany

– Dalia Grybauskaitė Lithuania

– Erna Solberg Norway

– Maite Nkoana-Mashabane  South Africa

– Park Geun-hye  South Korea

Don’t worry though, they were told to dress properly!


Laura Zuffi.


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