Women in the Netherlands more financially independent in 2019

Women in the Netherlands more financially independent in 2019

According to a report published by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and the Social and Cultural Planning Office (SCP), the economic position of women in the Netherlands has improved: woman work more hours and are more financially independent in 2019 compared to 2018. As a result, the Netherlands has risen from sixth place to fifth place in the EU rankings for gender equality. 

CBS SCP Emancipation Monitor 2020

The Emancipation Monitor is published every two years and is a collaboration between CBS and SCP. The 2020 publication is the 11th edition of the report and shows that the difference between the economic independence of women and men in the Netherlands narrowed in 2019. Last year, almost 64 percent of women were financially independent compared to 81 percent of men. In 2017, only 61 percent of women were financially independent - this marks the largest increase seen in the Netherlands in 12 years.

The report also shows that between 2017 and 2019 more women started working in the Netherlands (73 percent versus 76 percent) and that the average working hours of women increased by over half an hour to 28,5 hours per week. Men work an average of almost 39 hours a week. 

The figures released by CBS / SCP also prove that, in the years since the last economic crisis, women in the Netherlands have rapidly become more financially independent as they close the gap between men and women in the labour market. In spite of this, however, the gap between the two sexes when it comes to carrying out domestic tasks remains large. 

Different career goals and priorities for men and women

The research found that most women who work part-time stated they wanted to work more hours, as long as their hours could be adjusted to adapt and fit their lifestyle / commitments (e.g. childcare). The research also found that, while on the whole women and men find paid work equally important, women are generally less focused on career advancement. 

Furthermore, women said that they prefer not to work full-time, in order to ensure that they have time to focus on other aspects of their lives. 68 percent of women preferred working part-time to full time, whereas less than half of men feel the same way. 

Impact of the coronavirus crisis on the Dutch labour market

The Emancipation Monitor notes the unprecedented circumstances of 2020 and the impact of coronavirus in the Netherlands on the job market and employment levels. 2020 has seen unemployment rise throughout the year, and women were hit more hardly than men. In Q3 of this year, 3,5 percent of women were unemployed compared to 3,1 percent of men (in 2019, these figures were 2,7 and 2,8 percent respectively). 

The unemployment figures from 2020 show the disparity between employment for the two sexes, which had virtually disappeared between 2017 and 2019, has increased because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. 

The gender pay gap in the Netherlands

In spite of the progress made, the report also shows that the difference in hourly wages for women and men has remained unchanged since 2017. Furthermore, figures published by CBS in November revealed that the gender pay gap in the Netherlands barely changed between 2016 and 2018. 

Since 2008, the CBS has noted a trend-based decline in the wage gap, but that progress has been extremely slow. According to chief economist Peter Hein van Mulligen: “If you continued this trend, it would take another 25 years for the difference to disappear.”

The Netherlands vs other EU countries

The progress made by the Netherlands in this area has seen the country rise from sixth place to fifth place in the Gender Equality Index 2020 published by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE). The Netherlands achieved an above-average score of 74,1, with Finland (74,7), France (75,1), Denmark (77,4), and Sweden (83,8) achieving the best scores. 

In comparison to other EU countries, women in the Netherlands tend to work part-time, and there are relatively few women in managerial positions. But the difference between the number of hours dedicated domestic tasks by women and men in the Netherlands is relatively low compared to other EU countries. 

In the 2020 Gender Gap Index published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2019, the Netherlands came in 38th place - 11 positions lower than in 2018. The WEF is yet to publish their 2021 index.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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