Studying mother gets to continue studying thanks to intervention PILP

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December 6, 2015
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A student’s mother had been deregistered from her secondary vocational education program because she had been absent too often. Caring for her two young children was not considered permissible absence by the institution, even when the children were sick. This is a problem faced by many student mothers. Here, then, seems to be gender-specific discrimination.

Moreover, this unilateral deregistration by the mbo institution had major consequences. The mother’s student loan would be converted into debt. As a result, she would have to leave her home and be out on the street with her children.

Fortunately, she did not leave it at that. She contacted the Women and Law Association and ended up at PILP and the coalition Student Mothers. They held discussions with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the associations of educational institutions since 2015 under the guidance of PILP about the problems student mothers experience and the rights they have.

PILP put the student mother in touch with attorney Elsa van de Loo of Law Office Roos. Thanks to her efforts, the studying mother was re-enrolled in college. On this, Elsa van de Loo says: “Discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy or young motherhood happens to almost 50% of working women. That this also affects students is much less known. Students often do not know that as a young mother they are also entitled to leave and adjustments. Fortunately, this mother went looking for her rights. Now she is enrolled in college again. It is also nice to see that in consultation with the school quick steps can be made and not always lengthy legal proceedings are necessary.”

Positive steps emerged from discussions with the ministry and associations of educational institutions. Thus, there will be a formal maternity leave in the mbo. Nevertheless, it still happens too often that there is insufficient support from educational institutions for student mothers. The fact that this student mother was unilaterally deregistered by the educational institution shows that there are still many problems of equal treatment in the right to education.

The story of the student mother also shows that it really does help to stand up for your rights. PILP therefore hopes that student mothers will continue to fight hard for their right to education and equal treatment. To this end, PILP is developing a handout to be used by student mothers and pregnant students.

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