Women still earning less than their male colleagues

Women in the Netherlands still earn an average of 5 percent less than their male colleagues, according to a study done by foundation Loonwijzer and job site Monsterboard. While this is an improvement, in 2014 men earned 5.8 percent more, there are some sectors where the wage gap is still significant, AD reports.

Pulien Osse of the foundation finds the decreasing wage gap a very good thing. "It shows that women are paid better per hour and are therefore economically more independent", she said to the newspaper.

The construction industry is doing the best in closing the wage gap. In fact, in this industry the gap is non-existent - men and women are paid exactly the same. Other sectors are not doing so well. In healthcare and education, for example, men earn an average of 15 percent more than their female colleagues.

According to Osse, any difference in wages between genders is undesirable, but there are a few "good" explanations for it. "If men mainly occupy managerial positions and women still mostly fill the executive and care functions, it is understandable that they in different functions also earn different salaries", she said to the newspaper, adding that she doesn't think discrimination plays a roll.

A recent study by the College of Human Rights into wage differences at colleges revealed that employers sometimes do differentiate between employees, though not necessarily with the intent to discriminate. For example, when negotiating a starting salary, employers often look at the final previous salary instead of the function, skills and work experience. This can be a disadvantage for women who were out of the labor market for years to raise children. "They're just glad they can return to work and do not really have to negotiate", Adriana van Dooijeweert of the College said to the newspaper.