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Share of women amongst doctorate holders in the Netherlands

data publication
05 April 2022
Women PhD students
What percentage of Dutch doctorate holders are women? And what is the male/female distribution within the various clusters of science fields? In this data publication we share the figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

In short

  • Since 1991, the proportion of women with a doctorate degree has increased. In 2021, the proportion of women with a doctorate degree is equal to the proportion of males.
  • The percentage of women with a PhD has increased in the clusters of scientific fields alpha, beta, gamma and medical.
  • In 2021, the medical cluster will be the cluster with the largest share of female PhDs.

What does the share of female PhDs in the Netherlands look like?

Analysis
The share of women in the total number of new doctorate holders shows a steady increase over time from 19.9% in 1991 and 30.1% in 1999 to 49.1% in 2015. After years of increase, however, the share drops slightly from 2016 onwards to 47.4% in 2019. In 2020, the percentage has increased again to 49.7%. In 2021, the share of women with a doctorate degree is, for the first time, equal to the share of men with a doctorate degree.
 

In which cluster of scientific fields have women obtained their doctorate?

Analysis
The increasing trend in the share of female PhD's since 1991 is reflected in all clusters. The medical cluster is in 2021 the cluster with the largest share of female PhD's (60.1%), followed by humanities (55.6%). In 2006, the share of women already surpassed the share of men among new doctorate holders in the medical cluster. Since 2014, over half the PhD degrees in the social sciences is obtained by women. Despite substantial growth since 1991 in the share of PhD's obtained by women in the sciences cluster, the share lags behind.