Few women educated in technical fields

Each year, vocational training at the secondary level has some 120 thousand graduates qualified to enter the job market. In comparison with other countries, Dutch students opt more often for health care and services and less often for technical fields. Women form only 8 percent of the technical graduates in the Netherlands.

Many graduates in health care and services

Compared to other European countries education in health care and services is remarkably popular in Dutch vocational training at the secondary level (mbo). In 2002/'03 no less than 42 percent of all mbo graduates graduated in these areas.  Only Belgium had a slightly higher share. In Germany and Poland it was much lower, at 22 and 16 percent respectively.

Mbo graduates by subject 2002/’03

Technical subjects less popular

Some 32 percent of the Dutch graduates took technical subjects and trades in 2002/'03. Belgium had comparable figures. In other countries these fields were more important. In Germany and Spain four in ten graduates took technical subjects or trade. In Poland this was 56 percent and in Sweden 61 percent.

Equal division man-woman

In the Netherlands about half of the mbo graduates were women. The same is true for other European countries. The share of women varied from 42 percent in Poland to 55 percent in Finland.

Share of female graduates, mbo 2002/’03

Only 8 percent women in mbo do technical subjects

It turns out that a breakdown in mbo subjects shows up great differences in the share of women. Women are much underrepresented everywhere in technical subjects and trades. The lowest score is in the Netherlands, with only 8 percent of female graduates. In Denmark and Germany this was 14 and 15 percent respectively. Sweden scored best with 30 percent of female graduates in technical subjects and trades.

Female graduates per subject, 2002/’03

Almost everywhere women form the majority in the mbo training in health care and services and in trade and administration. In 2002/'03 six to eight graduates in ten in these fields were women. In trade and administration the share of women in the Netherlands was still fairly low with 54 percent. In Poland, the Czech republic and Spain the share of female graduates was over 70 percent. 

Dick Takkenberg