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Gender equality

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency seeks to contribute to women's economic self-sufficiency worldwide. The agency undertakes efforts to promote female entrepreneurship and to create jobs for women. This aim relates not only to the number of jobs in general, but also to the conditions under which women work in particular. Around the world, women:

  • are more often the 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 Sustainable Development Goals, which the Netherlands has endorsed. In addition, gender equality is explicitly referenced in Goal 8, which aims to achieve decent work for men and women.

Moreover, gender equality constitutes an important aspect of the New 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 position

What can you personally do as an entrepreneur? 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 prior to 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 the management level and on the work floor;
  • realising equal pay for the same work.


Global Gender Gap report: An annual ranking of 149 countries on the progress made towards gender equality in the following areas: economic participation and opportunities, access to education, health and participation in politics. The World Economic Forum developed the ranking.

Gender Equality Index published by the European Institute for Gender Equality: A ranking of EU Member States. This index is based on Eurostat and Eurofound figures.