More female CEO's in Netherlands; still a vast minority

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Last year more women occupied top positions in businesses in the Netherlands, though they are still a minority compared to the men. In 2015 a quarter of the top positions were filled by women, according to the Emancipation Monitor published by the social and cultural planning office SCP and Statistics Netherlands on Tuesday.

In the government and healthcare there are an equal number of men and women working in high management. But the number of women in high positions is low compared to the number of women working in those two sector. 

In the 100 largest companies in the Netherlands, the percentage of women at the top increased to about 20 percent. 

This increase can likely be linked to an initiative by Minister Jet Bussemaker of Education, Culture and Science and Hans de Boer, chairman of employers' organization VNO-NCW, according to These two worked with the 200  largest companies in the country to help more women reach the top.

The proportion of women working part-time is higher than the men, and the fact that few women have top positions is often blamed on this. But the Monitor also notes that women who work full time are less likely to gain a top position than their male counterparts. 

This can be attributed to a number of things. For instance, working women are on average younger than men and less ambitious to move up to higher positions. Women's ambition is also less likely to be noticed within a company, according to the Monitor. That leads to ambition decreasing when the company does not give support. Another obstacle is the so-called 'old boys network" - most of the highest functions are occupied by men, and they're also the ones to make new appointments.

If the top companies in the Netherlands don't have at least 20 percent women in their top positions by 2019, Bussemaker will impose a quota, though she is opposed to the idea. She believes the percentage of women at the top should be increased through targets, self-regulation and consultation.