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Economy

Female CEOs v. Peter CEOs? Dutch Women Protest Stunning Gender Disparity

A campaign in the Netherlands is pushing for more gender parity in the business world by asking women to change their name on LinkedIn to "Peter." The name was chosen for this singularly shocking fact...

Female CEOs v. Peter CEOs? Dutch Women Protest Stunning Gender Disparity

Yeliz Çiçek, editor-in-chief of the Dutch edition of Vogue, was one of the first women to join the campaign

Meike Eijsberg

Logging onto Dutch LinkedIn earlier this week, you may have blinked twice. “Why are there so many people named ‘Peter’ on my timeline?”And why are they all women?”


Hundreds of Dutch women have changed their LinkedIn name to Peter since Monday to denounce the unequal gender representation in the workplace — especially in senior leadership roles.

The initiative was launched by Women Inc. and BrandedU, two organizations campaigning for more inclusion of women in the business world, — and zeroed in on the name Peter for good reason: with 93 listed companies in the Netherlands (and a total of 94 CEOs), five of those CEOs are named Peter, and four are women. Yes, more Peter CEOs than women CEOs...

Burden of proof

On January 1, a Dutch law came into force with the goal of ensuring a better ratio of men to women in the top ranks of the business world. At least one-third of the supervisory boards of listed companies (with more than 250 employees) must consist of women. “But we must do more!” the organizations stated.

Yeliz Çiçek, editor-in-chief of the Dutch edition of Vogue, was one of the first women to join the campaign and changed her name. “I think it’s brilliant. Everyone immediately understands what this is about!”, NOS reports.

Although they support the cause, others are less enthusiastic about this campaign and argue that changing one’s name erases one’s identity, according to RTL nieuws. “Once again, the burden of proof and effort for the campaign lies with women and not men,” one woman said.

Men change to Petra

At the same time, some men have changed their name to Petra in solidarity.

“We think this spontaneous action is really great,” another spokesperson of Women INC said according to Het Parool. “This shows that it’s not just a women’s problem, but that we have to do it together.”

The Peter (and Petra) campaign runs until January 28.

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Society

To Tackle Hunger, Brazil Needs To Tackle Racism First

The fight against hunger should be a top priority in Brazil — provided it's addressed as a whole. And to do that, the country needs to face its structural racism issues, an issue newly-reelected President Lula da Silva vowed to tackle.

Photo of a man carrying food packages as residents of a favela in Santa Cruz, Brazil, receive aid.

Residents of a favela in Santa Cruz, Brazil, receive food packages.

Jones Manoel and Tiago Paraíba

It’s 2023, and over half of Brazil’s population is impacted by a hunger crisis. That is the shocking news from the Brazilian Research Network on Sovereignty and Food and Nutritional Security (PENSSAN).

After making strides in the first part of the 21st century, by 2020, hunger in Brazil had returned to 2004 levels. But now the problem is even worse. According to PENSSAN, 125 million Brazilians, or 58% of the country, face food insecurity, defined in various stages of severity by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, with technical “hunger” being the most severe. The number of Brazilians facing hunger has jumped from 9% to 15%, a return to 1994 levels, which corresponds to 33 million Brazilians.

This stunning step backwards has occurred in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic is not solely to blame. An economic crisis, lack of agrarian reform, inflationary effects on the cost of food, and a systematic dismantling of public policy to assist poor families have combined to make a bad situation worse. In Brazil, already one of the most unequal countries in the world, that has meant that in the past two years an additional 14 million people have found themselves dealing with hunger on a daily basis.

In the 1940s, the doctor and anti-hunger activist Josué de Castro called Brazil “a country of the geography of hunger.” In Brazilian history — from the colonial period to the development of capitalism and the formation of the Republic — high prices, deprivation, a lack of access to basic rights, and hunger have been present in the daily lives of working people. Concentration of land-ownership and wealth in the hands of a few have marked Brazil’s history.

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