Young women better educated than young men

08/03/2007 14:00

Women in the age group 25–34 years now have a higher level of education than their male peers. The level of education of young women is increasing rapidly. Indeed there are more women than men students in higher education. 

Women and men in higher education

Women and men in higher education

Majority of graduates are women

Among graduates from university and higher professional education (hbo), women are now in the majority. In study year 2005/’06, 56 percent of graduates from higher professional education and 53 percent of university graduates were women.

Women study faster

Women also complete their studies faster than men. Three-quarters of women who started higher professional education in 1996 had graduated nine years later. For men starting in the same year this was 10 percent less. At university, 71 percent of women had graduated nine years later, compared with 60 percent of men. 

As a result, women who graduate from higher education are nearly one year younger than men. In study year 2005/’06 the average age of female university graduates was 24.8 years, for male university graduates it was 25.8 years. Women completing higher professional education were 0.8 of a year younger than men.

University graduation rates, cohort 1996

University graduation rates, cohort 1996

Young women much better educated than in the past

More women aged 25–34 years now have a higher level education than their male peers. The education level of women has shot up in recent decades. Seventeen percent of women aged 55–64 years have completed higher education, compared with 29 percent of men in this age group. For women aged 25–34 years, 36 percent have completed higher education, compared with 32 percent of men. The share of women graduating from higher education has more than doubled in the space of one generation, while for men the share has risen only slightly. 

Education level of the population, 2005

University graduation rates, cohort 1996

Jan Latten and Wieteke van Dijk