University gender gap emerges in Netherlands

Over the past decade, women have opened up a significant lead over men in graduation rates

November 9, 2017
Group of students
Source: iStock

Dutch women are now significantly more likely to be graduates than men, new statistics reveal – a gender gap that mirrors similar trends in the UK and US.

Forty-five per cent of women aged 25-45 have at least a bachelor’s degree, a proportion six percentage points higher than for men, according to data from Statistics Netherlands for 2016.

A decade earlier, there was virtually no university gender gap in the country.

In the UK, a similar gap has emerged: by the age of 30, 55 per cent of women enter higher education, compared with 43 per cent of men, the BBC has reported, with several potential causes: girls get better A-level results, gain more financially from a degree, and predominantly female nursing has been made a graduate profession.

The US has also witnessed a similar trend over the past decade, with women catching up with and overtaking the male participation rate. In 2014, for the first time, a greater proportion of women (30.2 per cent) than men (29.9 per cent) had a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Among women aged 25-34, women had an eight percentage point lead over men, according to the US Census Bureau.

This appears to be a worldwide trend: since the 1970s, the proportion of women on campus has steadily increased and they now outnumber men in every region except South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, according to figures from the Economist.

david.matthews@timeshighereducation.com

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