Women for Women program – Initiative to make expat spouses feel at home

Women for women
Women for Women Picture credit: Image by Werner Heiber from Pixabay

The Women for Women program of the Expat Spouses Initiative helps expatriate partners find work. This is important to ensure that the talents brought to the Netherlands, stay here.

Partners of ex-pats find it difficult to adjust

“The accompanying partners are mostly women who move with their husbands when they come here to work. What then often happens is that the woman does not find work on her own and the couple or family goes back to their home country. That is just a shame,” says Eva Wisse. She is an ambassador in the program, a kind of buddy of Andreia Verdade who has just come to live here.

To feel at home

Eva says that the most important thing is for women is to start to feel at home here and build their own network. Andreia underlines that: “I have been living here for 9 months now. Before I participated in the Women for Women program, I felt lonely and hopeless because I was not accepted anywhere.” She often heard a no, but more often she received no response at all to her applications.

Language barrier

According to Eva Wisse, this is because she has no work experience in the Netherlands. “Once you have taken the first step here, there is a Dutch company on your CV. That’s how you can get in here.” But also the language is often a problem. Wisse: “Many women are highly educated, but not in the tech sector where English is the working language. In other jobs, it is often an advantage that you can speak and write Dutch, but Dutch is just a very difficult language to learn.”

Taking the first step

Andreia has since found work. A fellow ambassador of Eva, Mirela Dobre, works at DLL and saw potential in Andreia. “I recognised myself in her. I also had to make a career switch to be able to work here. Andreia faced the same choice.” When a position became available in her department, she immediately put Andreia forward and it was a success.

An initiative by Expat Center

The Holland Expat Center South works together with the Expat Spouses Initiative and sets up these kinds of projects to keep talent in the Netherlands. Not only of the ex-pat but also of their partner.

Expat Spouses Initiative: Women for Women Program

Kavitha Varathan, founder of Expat Spouses Initiative explains: “Having your own job and your own network is so important to be able to feel at home somewhere. In addition, the demand for this type of talent is very high. Noord-Brabant is the pre-eminent region, even in Europe, that is leading in innovation and start-up projects in the tech sector.” Thursday marks the conclusion of the sixth edition of the Women for Women program.

Source: Studio040

Translated by: Anitha Sevugan

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