Studium Generale - Diversiteit

Gender Unlimited 2021

Date: Time: 12:30 Location: Online via Zoom

On International Women’s Day, we invite you to an interview with philosopher Ruud Welten and theater director Eline Arbo. Starting point is 'The Second Sex' by Simone de Beauvoir, a classic on feminism, existentialism, literature, myths and freedom. The central question will be what De Beauvoir's thinking means for today's pursuit of equality. (English / SG-Certificate*)

Watch the online recording:

Perspectives on gender equality

The (Dutch) book ‘Who's Afraid of Simone de Beauvoir?’ by Ruud Welten offers an up-to-date look at De Beauvoir's work from a male perspective. Quote from the text on the back of the book: "Isn't it about time that men too start reading this twentieth-century classic? After all, the systematic disadvantage of women is a problem for the whole of society, not just for women."

Eline Arbo notices that Dutch people consider themselves emancipated, but when she looks at this from her Scandinavian background, it is quite disappointing. Ruud Welten is critical on the current feel-good framing of gender equality and inclusion, for easy solutions block our understanding of deeply rooted power mechanisms and instruments. The myths by which we understand ourselves; the myths that determine what makes a man and what makes a woman, still exist and impede our freedom of thought and action. The meritocracy model reinforces this; the belief in one's own responsibility for a successful life does not sufficiently take into account the Western European masculine norm, which favors groups that fall within this norm, and disadvantages groups that fall outside it.

Journalist and moderator Hasna El Maroudi will have a conversation with Ruud Welten and Eline Arbo about the dilemmas and opportunities for contemporary feminism for men and women. What can we do to contribute to fundamental change?


  • Eline Arbo (Gender Unlimited 2021)

    Eline Arbo

    theater director

    Eline Arbo is a theater director. Among other things, she directed ‘Three Sisters’ by Chekhov and ‘The Revolutionaries’ about the ideas of Albert Camus. She won several awards including the Mary Dresselhuys Prize 2021. In her plays, she incorporates issues of idealism and emancipation. Like Ruud Welten, she looks at texts from the past with the eyes of today. Eline Arbo grew up in Norway, a society where the difference between men and women is smaller than in the Netherlands.

    Picture © Steef Fleur 

  • Hasna El Maroudi (Gender Unlimited 2021)

    Hasna El Maroudi


    Hasna El Maroudi is a journalist, program maker and co-founder of the feminist platform Lilith Magazine. She is committed to more fully realizing the formal equal rights of women and under represented groups into daily practice. Hasna El Maroudi contributed to the (Dutch) book 'Why I love Simone de Beauvoir'.

  • Ruud Welten (Gender Unlimited 2021)

    Ruud Welten

    professor of Philosophy

    Ruud Welten specializes in modern French philosophy. Recently he published ‘Who's Afraid of Simone de Beauvoir?’ about the work of the famous existentialist philosopher, writer and feminist. He is professor of Philosophy at Erasmus University Rotterdam and associate professor at Tilburg University.

More information

Studium Generale and TIDE, Tilburg University Network for Inclusion, Diversity & Equality.

Contact: Annelieke Koster (Studium Generale).

* For students, this event may count towards the SG-Certificate. Check the SG-Certificate website for all the terms and conditions.

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