Henk Volberda, professor of Strategic Management at Rotterdam School of Management, has concluded that reducing gender inequality has come to a standstill in the Netherlands, despite the fact that the global gender gap is closing. Professor Volberda arrived at this conclusion as a result of the recently-published Global Gender Gap Index.

The Global Gender Gap Index is a barometer published annually by the World Economic Forum, which is represented in the Netherlands by Professor Volberda. Although, relatively speaking, the Netherlands is one of the world’s top countries when it comes to emancipation, the professor says that we’re increasingly lagging behind, especially when compared to Scandinavian countries.

Women are earning less

In the Netherlands, women have equal access to medical facilities, and they make up the majority of the population in higher education. However, they still earn less than men in exactly the same jobs (23% less) and they hold fewer executive posts as well: only 29% of executives in the Netherlands is female. Although women’s participation on the labour market has increased – 74% of women is currently in paid employment – 75% of the time these jobs are part-time. Only 25% of men in the Netherlands works part-time.

A whole world to be conquered

Professor Volberda argues that there’s still a whole world waiting to be conquered, because more women on the labour market means more productivity and innovation. We should draw from our ‘reservoir’ of highly-qualified women with excellent academic achievements and follow the example set by Scandinavia, where combining work and family is regulated a lot better. The professor is also in favour of a top-down approach and a quota for a minimum number of female participants. In Norway, for instance, at least 40% of executive board members at listed companies must be women. And although this is being discussed in the Netherlands, no legislation has been passed as of yet. But it looks as though a wind of change is blowing through Europe, as the European Commission is now insisting that as of 2020, 40% of executive posts at all companies must be held by women. DR