The project addressed both gender representation (namely female) and ethnic and cultural representation within the Dutch elections. Both academics and (ex-)politicians were invited to speak from their experience and their research on this topic. The episodes were based on three main questions, namely: diversity “versus” quality (“we choose nominees based on quality and not diversity”); diversity and inclusion is (positive) discrimination (“and that is bad”); and diversity “versus” serving interests (parliamentarians should serve all people and not select groups).
This project addressed biases people may have against calls for more diversity and inclusion in political candidacy lists and more representation of various minority groups in parliament. By starting with three basic arguments or doubts people have when it comes to representation in politics, listeners were invited to indeed interact with their honest question/doubt but to also take it to the next level with the help of seasoned experts.
News regarding the 2021 Dutch elections heralded these elections as featuring the most inclusive and progressive party candidacy lists to date. This was because 10 out of 37 eligible political parties had a woman as their leader. This fact brought up many of the basic arguments or questions for and against more inclusive political nominations. Though it is positive that there were 10 women leading political parties, the fact that it took until 2021 to get to this place and to see many of the same questions and arguments brought up again showed that the public debate lacked experts and knowledge, which could be made more accessible in podcast form.
Maria then decided to pursue the podcast team at ProDemos, a public organization that provides education and insights on Dutch democracy, rule of law and politics. After brainstorming on the correct basic arguments to focus on, she approached relevant academics and (ex-)politicians who would feel comfortable to speak from experience and knowledge on the topic. Then, she made outlines for the episodes and recorded them.