Leading the Way Toward Gender Equality

On a stormy Thursday in January I had the honor of attending a meeting at the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science on the financial position of women in the European Union (EU). Experts and policy makers from 14 EU Member States gathered in The Hague to talk about the economic independence of women in their respective countries.

In the Netherlands, but also in other EU countries, we see more and more women obtaining degrees in higher education and finishing their degrees faster than men. However, this educational outperformance is not reflected in our current labor market. The Netherlands Institute for Social Research has conducted research at the request of the Emancipation Department of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science that focuses on the early career phase of young women and men in the Netherlands. The first steps young professionals take in the labor market can be instrumental to the trajectory of their careers and possibily offer an explanation for the current position of women in the workforce.

The study conducted by the Netherlands Institute for Social Research shows that in the first 18 months after obtaining a degree, there are no significant differences between young women and men in regards to becoming employed. However, what is significant is that in the 18-26 age group, working women are less often working full-time than men. The differences are striking with just under 40 percent of women working full-time, compared to 70 percent of men.

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