The Netherlands drops significantly in global gender equality ranking

The Netherlands drops significantly in global gender equality ranking

According to The Global Gender Gap Report 2017, researched and published by the World Economic Forum, the gender gap in the Netherlands is not improving; in fact it is worsening and getting bigger. The Netherlands dropped 16 places in this year’s annual report.

The Global Gender Gap Report

The ranking, first published in 2006, benchmarks 144 countries based on their progress towards gender equality in Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, Political Empowerment and Economic Participation and Opportunity.

This year, the study also looked at the dynamics of gender gaps across occupations. Apart from this addition and the increase from 115 to 144 of the countries benchmarked, the methodology of ranking has stayed the same since the first edition.

This year, the Netherlands ranked 32, with a score of 0.737. A score of 1.00 is equal to parity and 0.00 to imparity. In 2006, the Netherlands scored 12th place, however, it has continued to drop since then. In 2016, the Netherlands went from 13th place to 16th.

Taking the top spot for the ninth year in a row is Iceland with a score of 0.878. Norway, Finland, Rwanda and Sweden follow Iceland in respective second, third, fourth and fifth place. Iceland scores particularly well on Political Empowerment, taking first place. The Netherlands does not do too poorly on this factor, ranking 25th.

Norway managed to overtake Finland this year and regained second place. Rwanda scores surprisingly high at 4th place, having the highest percentage of female parliamentarians in the world. Sweden drops to 5th place, after scoring the 4th place for eight consecutive years.

Educational Attainment

This index examines a country’s ability to educate men and women. It does so by reviewing the literacy rate amongst men and women and the access to primary, secondary and tertiary education that both genders have.

The Netherlands performed well on this index, ranking number 1. This place was, however, shared with 26 other countries. This category shows considerable improvement from the Netherlands, who ranked 73rd when the first edition of this ranking was published.

Health and Survival

In this category, two indicators are used to assess the differences in women’s and men’s health. The study first looked at the sex ratio at birth, this is especially relevant in countries with a son preference, where women go missing. The second indicator analysed the life expectancy of men and women.

In this category, the Netherlands ranked 108th. Looking at the data historically, the Netherlands has dropped considerably in the category, ranking 67th place in 2006.

Although a number 1 ranking was obtained for the sex ratio at birth indicator, the Netherlands ranked 116th for Health life expectancy, in regards to the gap between men and women.

Political Empowerment

In this category, indicators looked specifically at the ratio of women to men in ministerial and parliamentary positions. This year’s report also included the ratio of women to men in executive office for the last 50 years.

The Netherlands ranked 25th for this category, with the sub-category, women in ministerial positions, ranking 15th. However, the Netherlands has not had a single female head of state in the past 50 years and ranked 69th on this indicator.

Economic Participation and Opportunity

This category focuses on participation, remuneration and advancement. As such, indicators measure labour force participation rates in men and women, wage equality, estimated male and female earned income, the ratio of female to male legislators, managers and senior officials and the ratio of female to male technical and professional workers.

For this section, the Netherlands ranked 82nd. This is due, for a great deal, to the sub-index, the gap in earned income of women and men, which ranked low at 115th place. This is a great fall from 51st place for this category in 2006.


Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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Aletta Filippidou 16:16 | 5 November 2017

Not surprising, given that even the PM recently said that his male dominated cabinet is such because "it's about the best people". Apparently, the PM can't find qualified women; well, can introduce him to some.