Young women are more likely than men to work part time shortly after they have completed their studies, particularly if they move in with a partner, national statistics agency CBS said on Wednesday.
The difference is even more marked once they have children, but as a whole young Dutch women are more likely to work fewer than 35 hours a week, whether or not they have a family, the CBS figures show.
The agency looked at the working patterns of men and women who completed their education in the period 2007 to 2009. They found that both men and women were equally likely to have a job but 30% of young women were working part time a year later, compared with 14% of young men.
The gap continues to widen as the years progress and after nine years, 40% of women with a university degree worked part time, as did 67% of those with vocational training.
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Some of the difference can be explained by career choices, the CBS said. Many women work in sectors in which part-time jobs are the norm, such as healthcare, and education. But even taking this into account, young women are still working fewer hours than young men.
Last month the Dutch government launched a new campaign to encourage women between the ages of 30 and 60 to work more hours a week.
The Netherlands has the highest percentage of part-time workers in Europe, with women working an average of 29 hours a week, 10 hours fewer than men.
‘I think it’s important that everyone can make a personal choice,’ social affairs minister Karien van Gennip said at the time. ‘If a mother wants to work seven days a week, it is fine by me. And if mothers want to be a full time mum, that is also okay. As long as we realise what it means for your pension and financial position.’
Both men and women are more likely to reduce their hours after having children, the CBS study found.
However, the CBS said earlier this year that while four in 10 couples with young children say they want to share parenting, only one in 10 couples actually manage it.
At the same time, 35% of men think women are more suited to raising small children than men, a belief shared by just 16% of young mothers themselves. And some 80% of the population in general think mothers with children under the age of four should work no more than 28 hours a week.
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