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The hidden gap in Swedish and Dutch higher education

how has Sweden managed to achieve a smaller gender gap among students in the STEM field of study in higher education compared to the Netherlands?

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The hidden gap in Swedish and Dutch higher education

how has Sweden managed to achieve a smaller gender gap among students in the STEM field of study in higher education compared to the Netherlands?

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Samenvatting

The main purpose of this research is to explore in what ways the gender gap could become
smaller in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field of higher education in the Netherlands. To gain insight into this issue, research has been conducted by the Swedish approach to attempt to reduce this gap. Sweden managed to achieve a considerably smaller gender gap among students in the STEM field of study in higher education compared to the Netherlands.
To explain this difference, the research focuses on the measures that have been taken in
the STEM fields of study in higher education in Sweden and the Netherlands. In addition, the
cultural differences which affect female participation in these fields have been examined.
In this research, mainly qualitative research was conducted, mostly by utilising European
Union documents. Primary data was gathered by carrying out three interviews which aimed to help answer the sub-questions.
The main result of this research is that the disparity in the female participation rates in STEM
is caused by cultural differences. This is mainly due to the dominance of the social democrats, who are strongly in favor of equal rights for men and women, the Swedish government has been actively involved in reducing gender gaps for decades. These actions contributed to lowering the threshold for women to enter full-time jobs in the STEM sector. In this way, it became more attractive for women to opt for a degree programme in the STEM field. This was reinforced by the provision of a large number of female role models who are working in the STEM fields. In contrast, in Dutch society it is still often assumed that STEM fields belong to men. This is caused by traditional gender roles that largely arise from the prolonged dominance of religious parties in the Netherlands. Consequently, it was difficult to change the traditional gender role pattern in Dutch society, which makes it troublesome for women to participate in the STEM fields of study. Currently, women dominate the part-time jobs and few women enter the STEM sector, which leads to fewer role models available in this field.
It is recommended that the Dutch government takes tremendous efforts in changing social
norms that govern gender roles by counteracting gender stereotypes across these fields of study. More female role models in STEM should become available to realise this. Additionally, policy makers should continue to offer a wider variety of appealing study programmes in higher education that involve STEM disciplines. These actions might encourage more girls and women to participate in study programmes in these fields. The results of these actions might be beneficial for the Dutch knowledge-based economy.

Toon meer
OrganisatieDe Haagse Hogeschool
AfdelingMO Europese Studies / European Studies
Jaar2016
TypeBachelorscriptie
TaalOnbekend

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