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Gender gaps in part-time / full-time work



The Gender and Diversity Hub is conducting a research project on the large gap in average work hours between women and men in the Dutch labor market (28.5 vs 39 hours per week).

The Netherlands is unique in the possibility to work part-time, which contributes to a healthy work-life balance: The Dutch are the most efficient workers in the world and Dutch children are the happiest in the world. The problem is that the majority of people who work part-time are women while most men work full-time. This gender gap in work hours is one of the reasons why only 64% of Dutch women is economically independent (compared to 81% of men). It is also a key driving force for other pervasive gender gaps in women’s careers, regarding pay, promotion, and representation in leadership and ‘hard sectors’. At the same time, the gender gap in work hours perpetuates the devaluation and exclusion of men in care domains (at home as fathers, and at work in ‘soft sectors’).

The situation in the Netherlands can be characterized as a ‘part-time-trap’ – a self-maintaining system that has proven extremely difficult to influence or change. This project addresses the gender gap in work hours as a systemic, multi-level problem that requires an interdisciplinary, multifaceted approach. Based on insights from multiple disciplines the project will reveal how social norms about men’s and women’s paid and unpaid work affect institutional arrangements, organizational cultures, work and employment practices, households, individual attitudes and ultimately the behaviors that re-confirm the gendered work hour norm. Together with stakeholders from government, industry and the non-profit sector, the project dismantles the complex system that reinforces the gender gap and develops concrete, action-oriented interventions that broaden the scope of perceived alternatives in work hour choices at all levels of society.



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Involved UU researchers

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