Women do better in higher education than men, but not in the Bible Belt


Across the Netherlands, women do better in higher education than men, but not in the Bible Belt. This follows from research by researchers of Erasmus School of Economics led by Bastian Ravesteijn, Associate Professor of Applied economics. In the Bible Belt, expectations of the role of women could explain the research outcome.

A small difference? 

Rhenen is the only place in our country where fewer women than men end up with a college or university degree. Only 32% of women who grew up there in the 1980s obtained a college or university degree, compared to 33% of men. According to Ravesteijn, this seems like a small difference, but is striking when you compare it to how women are performing nationally. Across the country, Dutch women have, on average, a higher education than men in recent years. The data show that on average, 46% of women around the age of 30 have a higher education degree, compared to 38% of men.

Happy people, happy society 

Women in other religious congregations also have a lower education than the average woman in the Netherlands. 'In other words, in rural conservative-Christian areas, young women are less likely to go to college or university,' Ravesteijn notes. Ravesteijn conducts research on differences in opportunities in the Netherlands, comparing children from families with the same income in different neighborhoods. The results of the research can be seen on the Kansenkaart. According to Ravesteijn, it is very important that both men and women can obtain a degree in higher education. 'In general, we think it's positive when people are able to develop themselves,' says Ravesteijn. 'Not only does it make people happier, it also contributes to the society.'

More information

The full article from Trouw, 20 March 2021, can be found here (in Dutch).