Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dutch Women Don't Want to Work

In the oh-so-progressive Netherlands, the gap between men's and women's incomes is the widest in Europe. Women aren't protesting, though. In fact, attempts by the government to get women to work more hours at higher-paying jobs have failed because of indifference on the part of the women. Jessica Oilen, ambitious American reporter, finds it all rather confusing:
I've been in the Netherlands for nearly three months now, and I've come to one overwhelming conclusion: Dutch women are not like me. I worry about my career incessantly. I take daily stock of its trajectory and make vicious mental critiques of my endeavors. And I know—based on weekly phone conversations with friends in the United States—that my masochistic drive for success is widely shared among my female friends. Meanwhile, the Dutch women around me take a lackadaisical approach to their careers. They work half days, meet their friends for coffee at 2 p.m., and pity their male colleagues who are stuck in the office all day.

Though the Netherlands is consistently ranked in the top five countries for women, less than 10 percent of women here are employed full-time. And they like it this way. Incentives to nudge women into full-time work have consistently failed. Less than 4 percent of women wish they had more working hours or increased responsibility in the workplace, and most refuse extended hours even when the opportunity for advancement arises. 
A major 2009 study concluded that the government's efforts to get more women to work full time were "doomed to failure" because nobody wants to change. There's even a Dutch book titled Dutch Women Don't Get Depressed arguing that Dutch women are happier because they have a better balance between work and the rest of their lives.

Sounds great to me. All I need is a Dutch husband. . . .

No comments: