Women still paid less than men in all EU; 14.6% less in Netherlands
Women in all European Union member states still earn less per hour than their male counterparts. The gender pay gap in the EU was 14.1 percent in 2019, according to figures by European statistics agency Eurostat. In the Netherlands it was 14.6 percent, NOS reports.
Estonia had the biggest gender wage gap at 21.7 percent, Luxembourg had the smallest at 1.3 percent. The gender wage gap was smallest between young men and young women just starting out on the labor market. A European woman in her early twenties earned an average of 2.3 percent less per hour than her male peers. In the age group 55 to 64, that increased to 20.4 percent.
Eurostat partly attributed the gender wage gap to women more often interrupting their career due to pregnancy and childcare. In most heterosexual couples, it is the woman who stays home to care for the child. And that results in the woman having fewer career opportunities. That is also true in the Netherlands.
"Social views in the Netherlands are quite traditional," Statistics Netherlands economist Peter Hein van Mulligen said to NOS. "One in three Dutch people think that women are more suitable to take care of children, and those percentages have not changed in the past 20 years. It is more often men than women who think so."
The type of jobs men and women tend to have also plays a role in the wage gap, Van Mulligen said. "Men are more likely to work full-time, but they often also have higher paying jobs in which it is customary to work full-time. For example, men are more likely to have managerial positions and are in the majority in sectors where high salaries are paid, such as the financial sector," he said. Women are in the majority in sectors like healthcare and education, where salaries are lower and it is more common to work part-time.
According to economics professor Henriette Prast, other factors like childcare and minimum wage also play a role in the gender wage gap. "The Netherlands has the image of being progressive, but we are not that when it comes to combining work and family. Making childcare easier and cheaper could equalize the hourly rate," she said to the broadcaster.