People who do not venture into the labor market because they take care of their duties: in the Netherlands it is still the majority of women, according to new CBS figures. How is it that this distribution is so skewed with us?
How are things doing with us?
Between 2008 and 2018, the proportion of women who do not enter the labor market due to care duties decreased from 97 to 94 percent women, according to the CBS Labor Force Survey on Tuesday.
Yet that is only part of the balance: there are also people who work, but do so part-time because of their care duties. And yes, those are mostly women.
More than 74 percent of women who work do so, according to the Emancipation Monitor of the SCP and CBS from 2018, part-time. No fewer than 97 percent of women with young children cite care for them as a reason for not being able or willing to work full-time.
Among men, only 22.6 percent are part-time workers, of which it is not known how much they are because of the combination with care. However, it appears that for men who do not work at all, 'care duties' are only 1.9 percent a reason. For women that is 22.5 percent.
See also: CBS: The number of people who do not work due to care duties is decreasing
All fine, you would say. But, it turns out, there are, for example, people among the non-working who actually would like to work. For example, according to the CBS there is a group of twenty thousand non-working parents who actually would like to get started. 86 percent of them are women.
In a broad sense, it appears that the desire to change things is alive. "Women want to change their working hours more often than men: they want more often to work more hours," reports the Emancipation Monitor .
71 percent of working women do that part-time. Among them, the desire for more hours is well represented: 12.5 percent would like to work more. On average they work 27.8 hours, while the average desired working time is 29.2 hours.
The Netherlands also has a relatively large number of men with a part-time job: with 22.6 percent the highest share in Europe. Denmark follows in second place with only 12.4 percent.
So, traditionally, still a good deal, that distribution in the Netherlands. How come?
"Asking the question is answering it," says Esther de Jong, head of policy advice at Atria, the knowledge institute for emancipation and women's history. The standards are still very traditional in the Netherlands, she says.
"The man is the breadwinner, the woman is the one who takes care of the tasks: that idea is still very much in Dutch DNA. The new figures from Statistics Netherlands are therefore no surprise to us."
“With those five days of partner leave, we now say: worry is a woman's job” Esther de Jong, Atria
One cause for the skewed distribution is the so-called 'part-time clamp', says De Jong. "Many women work part-time because they want to combine care and work. If you were to work more, your children would have to go to daycare more often. But therein lies the problem: the quality of childcare is not that high here, and that is precisely because we are such a part-time country. " As a result, the idea is that there is insufficient investment in daycare.
"That is why you prefer to keep your children at home a little more often. But as a result, you have to keep working part-time," says the policy adviser. "Our society is geared towards one and a half earners. That is why the government has a role to play here: ensure that work and care can be better combined. Also for men."
Yes, we almost forget those men. What about that?
"Only focusing on women is indeed of no use," says De Jong. "You can tackle stereotypes about who should look after, among other things, by adjusting care leave."
"When we have a child, with those five days we say that partners get off as opposed to the sixteen weeks that women get: worry is a woman's job. If you change that, it is also felt more as an option for a man: it's okay if I'm going to worry. "
All in all, men need to get rid of their stereotypical role of breadwinner and at the same time have more opportunity to take on more care tasks, both from the government and from employers. "Instead of the one and a half earner model that is now common, each can also take on 75 percent of the work," says De Jong.
"What we do better in the Netherlands is that more women work here" Esther de Jong, Atria
Can we take an example from other countries?
Partly yes, partly not. "The reception is often better arranged. But women often work full-time or not - there is no option in between. What we do better in the Netherlands is that more women work here, even though that is often part-time."
According to De Jong, what we need to do in particular is to address the role patterns, stereotypes and norms here. To this end, its knowledge institute collaborates with, among others, Emancipator, VHTO and the Dutch Women's Council on the Werk.en.de program, which focuses on changing government policy into education and the labor market. "A complex problem requires a broad approach."