Women's disadvantage on labor market costs Netherlands billions: report


The disadvantaged position women have on the Dutch labor market costs the Netherlands billions of euros, according to a study done by consultancy firm McKinsey. If the Dutch labor market was as gender-equal as the best performing neighboring countries, the Dutch economy would get a 114 billion euros boost. If the labor market was totally gender-equal, that would generate 221 billion euros, Financieele Dagblad and NOS report.

"The Netherlands has a good basis for gender equality in society, but we do not see it on the labor market", the report said. "The average monthly income of Dutch women is 61 percent of that of man, on average in Western Europe it is 68 percent." Nearly half of Dutch women work, but only a third of the Dutch GDP is due to working women. This is 38 percent on average for Western Europe. 

According to the researchers, the country has a "typical system for the Netherlands" that maintains itself. Dutch women work mainly in healthcare and education - sectors with any part-time jos that contribute relatively little to the gross domestic product. Women also do a disproportionate amount of unpaid work. And the social norms about women's career choices pose an obstacle, the researchers concluded. These factors reinforce each other, the consultancy firm said.

According to McKinsey, it would help enormously if Dutch women became a little more active on the labor market. To achieve this, it must become more financially attractive for women to work more. And more should be done about prejudices and stereotypes that still hinder women in their career prospects. "Government, industry and civil society organizations can play an important role to positively influence existing ideas about, for example, working mothers and caring fathers", the report said.