Table of Contents
There has been public commitment to gender equality reflected in the Netherland’s over 25-year old Emancipation policy which strives to achieve equality in employment, salaries, education and private life. The Netherlands was, however, criticised by CEDAW for the ongoing discrimination faced by immigrant, refugees and minority women, in respect to access to education, employment and health and prevention of violence against them. Domestic violence, trafficking of women and prostitution remain additional issues of concern.
The Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) measures gender-based discrimination in social norms, practices and laws across 160 countries. The SIGI comprises country profiles, a classification of countries and a database; it serves as a research, policy and advocacy tool for the development community and policy makers.
The SIGI covers five dimensions of discriminatory social institutions, spanning major socio-economic areas that affect women’s lives: discriminatory family code, restricted physical integrity, son bias, restricted resources and assets, and restricted civil liberties. The SIGI’s variables quantify discriminatory social institutions such as unequal inheritance rights, early marriage, violence against women, and unequal land and property rights.
In the Social Institutions and Gender Index 2014 Edition , Netherlands was not classified in the SIGI due to lack of full dataset. It has lower discrimination in restricted access to resources and assets and higher discrimination in restricted civil liberties. Read the full country profile and access the data here: http://www.genderindex.org/country/netherlands
Article 1 of the Constitution forbids discrimination on the basis of gender. Gender equality is overseen by the Ministry for Social Affairs and Emancipation. Since 1978, the Netherlands has enacted an ’emancipation policy’ (emancipatiebeleid) which strives to achieve equality and reform in issues such as parental leave; work, care and income; power and decision-making; human rights. In the Emancipation Plan for 2006-2010, the government’s goal is to “have more women work more hours, and to bring about better utilization of their talents and qualities.”
The female labour market participation rate was 55% in 2003. The proportion of women who resign after the birth of their first child dropped sharply from 25% in 1997 to 10% in 2003. About two-thirds (66%) of Dutch working women opt for part-time jobs, bringing the country’s average working time to one of the lowest levels in the OECD. Women who work part time are mainly mothers with young children. As such, growth in labour market participation among women is achieved mainly in the part-time job category. While individual preferences may play a role, international evidence strongly links the incidence of part-time work to taxation and childcare. In the Netherlands, full-time female participation is hampered by a high marginal effective tax burden on second earners, reflecting the withdrawal of social benefits conditioned on family income.
According to the findings of a 2004 study from the Labour Inspectorate, women earned 22% less than men in the business sector than men in the business sector – even after adjustment, an unexplained pay discrepancy of 7% remains. In the public sector, women earn an average of 14% less than their male counterparts. This can also be partly attributed to working hours and job level, but a pay discrepancy of 3% remains after adjustment. With a wage gap of 5%, part-time employees in the business sector also experience pay discrimination.
Among ethnic minority groups, Surinamese women have the same level of labour market participation as indigenous women, at 57% in 2003, but the rates among Turkish and Moroccan women are 29% and 28% respectively
Women were granted the right to vote in 1919. In 1992, the government introduced measures to try to increase the number of women in politics, influenced by EU policies on the number of women in political decision-making. This policy consisted of recommendations to political parties to increase the proportion of women candidates and MPs. There are no laws or penalties to force the political parties to increase their number of women. Despite this, the number of women in political decision-making has risen at every election. One political party in Parliarment, the SGP, excludes women.
The level of education among working women is slightly higher than that of men: most employees; 39% of women and 37% of men in the workforce have completed secondary education as their highest qualification; while 30% and 28% of women and men respectively have higher-level qualifications.
The Women, Business and the Law
Where are laws equal for men and women?
The Women, Business and the Law, 2012 presents indicators based on laws and regulations affecting women’s prospects as entrepreneurs and employees. Several of these indicators draw on the Gender Law Library, a collection of over 2,000 legal provisions impacting women’s economic status. This report does not seek to judge or rank countries, but to provide information to inform discussions about women’s economic rights. Women, Business and the Law provides data covering 6 areas: accessing institutions,using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, building credit, and going to court. Read more about the methodology.