September 27, 2017

One More Question with Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen

We asked Lilianne Ploumen why family planning was such an important foreign policy priority for her, and when she started getting involved in the issue. See what she said.

"Family planning is one of the key foreign policy issues, I would say, because if you empower women, you empower communities and you empower countries. If women can decide for themselves if they want to have children, how many, with whom, that makes a huge difference. When women can stay longer in school, they will help build the economy of their country. So, there is a moral case to it, everyone should be able to decide for themselves, but there is also a business case for it, If women would have access to the same means of production than men, then we would add trillions of dollars - not billions - trillions of dollars to national and international GDP. So, everyone would benefit, and that's what foreign policy in the end is about. That it's not only about you, and the interests of your own country, but the interests of the global community. This issue has been an important issue for me, forever. I cannot remember not caring about it because, you know, I come from a family that was not affluent, we didn't have influence, my parents had six years of education, we were not poor, but we were definitely not rich. So, my parents taught me that if you educate yourself well, if you go to school, and if you are able to make decisions that are the right decisions for you, then you can fulfill your full potential, and I think I took that not only as something that is important to me but to all girls and women in the world."

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