Women's emancipation in the Dutch job market
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, 64 percent of Dutch women were economically independent in 2019. That’s much higher than four years earlier but lower than the percentage of financially independent men (81 percent). Not only are women more economically independent, but they also work more hours. Between 2017 and 2019, the average working hours of women increased by half an hour per week. On average, the Dutch woman works 28.5 hours; the Dutch man works an average of 39 hours.
Many Dutch women would like to work more, as long as this is under certain circumstances or conditions. "For example, if working hours can be adjusted to private life or if the family income is insufficient," says the Central Bureau of Statistics. Compared to other European countries, the Netherlands is doing relatively well. According to the Emancipation Monitor 2020 (a collaboration between the Central Bureau of Statistics and the Social and Cultural Planning Office), the Netherlands rose from place 6 to 5 in the EU ranking of gender equality. There was also an increase in women in technical professions and top positions.
"We have known since the eighties of the last century that most people believe that care and work should be shared fairly. The pursuit of economic independence of both partners is also widely endorsed. But in practice, couples often fail to do this, and the one and a half earners model are common. The Dutch society is semi-conservative in that matter. People also see fathers and mothers' roles very differently, despite the preference for an equal division of tasks. And they are hesitant about childcare, especially for small babies. Parental leave in the Netherlands is short and not or only partially paid so that babies have to go to childcare as early as three months. Many people find four days working for a mother too much. The part-time system for women and the full-time system for men are embedded everywhere in our society. People are also unconsciously influenced by this. It is, therefore, essential to monitor those views. The Emancipation Monitor also gives us ideas for new research, for example into the relationship between breadwinner and well-being, or the effects of the loss of daily contact with the children after a divorce," says Wil Portegijs, she’s a researcher and project leader Emancipation at the Social and Cultural Planning office.
Using various temporary obligations, the Dutch government aspires to increase diversity at the Dutch business top. With the so-called 'growth quota', the Dutch government wants to tackle the male-female ratio in the supervisory board of listed companies significantly in the foreseeable future. The aim is that within a few years, the supervisory board will consist of at least one-third of women. Large private companies and limited liability companies must also improve the male-female ratio in the top and second tier. The temporary obligations will be evaluated after five years. After eight years, the growth quota and the target figure will expire.
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