Educational institutions and government fail to act: dropping out and discrimination of student mothers

Educational institutions and government are insufficiently combatting the dropping out and discrimination of student mothers and pregnant students. This, according to the research that was presented at the Conference Student Mothers. Pregnancy and motherhood remain to be viewed as your choice, your responsibility for the students. It appears that the ‘you’ve made your bed, and you’ll have to lie in it’-reasoning is prevalent.

Over 50% of student mothers and pregant students in the Secondary Vocational Education and over 75 % in Higher Education drops out during their studies. The research shows that the educational institutions hardly have specific rules and regulations for student mothers and pregnant students, such as maternity leave or flexibel schedules and examination dates. The national laws and regulations that do exist, are not implemented by all educational institutions.

This is troublesome, because the Minister of Education, Culture and Science mentioned in a former correspondence with the Public Interest Litigation Project (PILP), Steunpunt Studerende Moeders, proefprocessenfonds Clara Wichmann, FNV Vrouw, de Vrouwenraad en Vereniging Vrouw en Recht, that the educational facilites are responsible for student mothers and pregnant students. The institutions should tailor their services to the students’ needs.

But, as appears from the research, this would mean that student mothers and pregnant students are dependent upon the goodwil of their study councillors or professors. It is often unclear whether they can invoke which regulations. The educational institutions think that pregnancy is the students’ ‘own choice’ and thus responsibility.

The PILP finds the ‘you’ve made your bed, and you’ll have to lie in it’-reasoning disagreeable. When and where the acces to education of pregnant students and student mothers is impaired and their possibilities of completing their education and receive their diploma are limited, the right to education is violated. Moreover this is discrimination based on sex, as only women will be negatively affected.

To, once again, bring to light the problems that student mothers and pregnant students experience, the research will be send to the government and educational institutions. We will ask, how the government and educational institutions will solve the issues that were found in the research.

If solutions to these issues fail to occur, we will be considering legal action.