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Dolle Mina (Mad Mina) was a Dutch feminist group founded in December 1969 that campaigned for equal rights for women. It was named after an early Dutch feminist, Wilhelmina Drucker. It was a left-wing radical feminist activist group that aimed to improve women’s rights through playful and humorous protest demonstrations.
During World War II, ideas surrounding the role of women in society were in transition. Strong feminist values emerged in countries such as England, Germany and the United States, due partly to women being employed in factories or deployed in combat roles. During the post-war years, women who previously worked in factories were sent home and excluded from unions and other civil society organizations.
In the Netherlands, working women were fired when they got married and married women were prohibited from independently performing legal acts such as the conclusion of a contract. Dolle Mina emerged as part of the second wave of feminism, stemming from the socialistic youth group Socialistische Jeugd which wanted a new women’s movement. They were inspired by campaigning women in the United States and by the Maagdenhuisbezetting (a major university sit-in) in Amsterdam.
Dolle Mina had a Marxist outlook. It brought attention to the struggle of women to gain equality in trade unions, which typically avoided expanding the rights of women members because this was perceived as requiring concessions by male "breadwinners". The group organised activist campaigns, including protests and publications, promoting women's rights to abortion, equal pay for equal work, childcare, and even access to public toilets.
Dolle Mina drew attention to the unequal rights of men and women with playful public campaigns. In October 1968, the Man Vrouw Maatschappij (MVM, "Man Woman Society") was founded; a Labour Party sympathetic action group in parliament that aimed to exert influence to improve women's rights. However, the founders of Dolle Mina saw MVM as a conformist club that was part of the established order, so it opted for other purposes and methods. Some Dolle Mina members saw MVM as reformist, whereas they saw themselves as members of a new "grassroots" seeking more fundamental change and a democratic socialist society. Groups at the bottom of the community ("the base") had to be mobilized and this included student movements. This turned off some, including Ton Regtien.
The founders of the movement were Dunya Verwey, Michael Korzec, and Alex and Rita Korzec Hendriks. Others who joined included Anne Marie Huub and her husband Philippens, Nora Rozenbroek, Friedl Baruch, Claudette van Trikt, Selma Leydesdorff, Marjan Sax, Miklos Racz, Loes Mallée, and Henriëtte Schatz.
Media, strategy and tactics
Dolle Mina attracted media coverage, mainly for its publicity-gathering events, which helped to establish the idea that well-organised and well-documented protests could contribute to the movement and could prompt a reaction from women's emancipation movements in surrounding countries, such as Belgium and Germany.
The first such event was the January 1970 storming of Nijenrode Castle, a private business university that was only open for men at the time. This was followed by the burning of a woman's corset at Wilhelmina Drucker’s statue. A few days later the group blocked public urinals with pink ribbons to protest against the absence of public toilets for women. Within a few weeks, Dolle Mina had drawn thousands of followers, in Amsterdam, and then the whole of the Netherlands and Belgium. The group also kidnapped a movie-maker who wanted to organise a "Miss Cinema Pageant".
Most of the acts were carried out only days apart from each other, which resulted in weeks' long headlines about the Dolle Mina movement. The movement provided the media with 'ready-made' news, such as the pink ribbon demonstration. Their use of the media, combined with shock and/or materials displayed in an unconventional way, was a significant reason for the success of the movement.
From inception, Dolle Mina made use of topic-specific working groups, mostly focused on issues such as abortion rights, daycare centres, equal payment for equal work and helping single mothers, but also including a theory group focused on education.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dolle Mina.|
- Kaplan, Gisela (2012). Contemporary Western European Feminism (RLE Feminist Theory). Routledge. p. 152. ISBN 9780415636810.
- "Dolle Mina ('Mad Mina') | Feminism in the 20th century". Atria. 2015-11-10. Retrieved 2020-08-15.