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Gender equality


The Netherlands Enterprise Agency seeks to contribute to women's economic empowerment worldwide. We undertake efforts to promote women entrepreneurship, create jobs for women, and improve their working conditions. Around the world, women:

  • are more often victims of violence;
  • receive less pay for the same work;
  • often work in the informal sector;
  • more often have to contend with poorer working conditions.

Sustainable Development Goals and Dutch policy

Gender equality is goal 5 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which the Netherlands has endorsed. In addition, gender equality is explicitly mentioned in goal 8, which aims to achieve decent work for men and women. Moreover, gender equality constitutes an important aspect of the Dutch policy on foreign trade and development cooperation. It is essential to promote equal opportunities as well as rights for men and women.

Strengthening women’s economic opportunities

What can you do as an entrepreneur or organisation? The approach depends on the context. Although there is no one-size-fits-all method, the following are key focus areas for strengthening women’s economic empowerment:

  • involving women and/or local women’s organisations in the stakeholder analysis performed before a project;
  • drawing up and enforcing integrity policy in the context of sexual violence in the workplace;
  • making available a confidential adviser;
  • providing separate toilets for men and women, not too far from the workplace, yet with sufficient privacy and proper lighting;
  • ensuring safe transport to and from work;
  • offering the option of flexible working hours in view of other unpaid work;
  • creating a good balance between men and women both at  management level and on the work floor;
  • realising equal pay for the same work.


Global Gender Gap report

The World Economic Forum developed the yearly ranking of 153 countries on the progress made towards gender equality in the following areas:

  • economic participation and opportunities,
  • access to education,
  • health, and
  • participation in politics.

Gender Equality Index published by the European Institute for Gender Equality

A ranking of European Union (EU) Member States. This index is based on Eurostat and Eurofound figures.

EQUILEAP report Gender Equality in the Netherlands

Assesment of 100 leading companies on workplace equality. The organisation Women Win commissioned Equileap to assess 100 public companies listed in the Netherlands on their gender equality performance. The research is part of the 'Building Bridges for Women's Economic Empowerment' programme. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs funds this programme.

Women in business!

The Dutch government is committed to gender equality, women entrepreneurship and more economic independence for women. In our magazine, we share stories from various programmes from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. Read about women entrepreneurs in the Netherlands as well as developing countries, external women experts and employees from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.

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