Most women earn less than their partners

20/11/2007 15:00

In 2004, 2.7 million women in the 25-54 age category were living in couples. On average, employed women earned half as much as their male partners. Only one fifth earned more than their partners.

Women earn half as much as their partners

In 2004 less than one fifth of Dutch women earned more than the average annual income of 29 thousand euro. Three quarters of their male partners, on the other hand, had above-average incomes.
On average, women’s annual incomes are only half that of their male counterparts. The main reason for the gender income gap is the fact that women usually work shorter hours.

Incomes of women and their partners, 2004

Incomes of women and their partners, 2004

One fifth of women earn more than their partners

Nearly three quarters of couples had dual incomes. In one third of cases, women contributed less than one quarter to the collective income. Only one fifth of women earned more than their male partners.

If women earned more than their partners, the differences were small. Nearly 60 percent of these women earned between one and one-and-a-half times as much as their partners. In these cases, the male partner often had a low income. In one quarter of cases, the partner had no income at all from labour.

Incomes of partners, 2004

Incomes of partners, 2004

Highly educated women contribute more to collective income

The female contribution to a couple’s income is related to the woman’s level of education. Highly educated women contribute more to the collective income than low-educated women.
Young children in the household also play a part. In 2004, women with children contributed less to the collective income than childless women. This applies to all women, irrespective of their education level.

Female share in couple’s income by level of education, 2004

Female share in couple’s income by level of education, 2004

Karin Hagoort and Maaike Hersevoort