Photo: DUB's archive

For the first time ever, more women than men get a PhD in the Netherlands

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In the past academic year, more women got a PhD than men — an unprecedented event in the Netherlands. In addition, never before have Dutch universities awarded so many PhDs. The record follows a dip during the peak of the pandemic. 

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It may be a small difference, but it is worth noting nonetheless: in the academic year 2020/21, a total of 2,612 women were awarded a PhD, against 2,607 men. 

Men had the upper hand in the previous years, by a margin of 24 people. In all the years before that, the difference was considerably greater.

phds2021.pngSource: Statistics Netherlands and OCWincijfers. Image courtesy of HOP.

During the peak of the pandemic, some PhD students had to delay their research. The increase we now see corresponds to those that were supposed to finish their PhDs back then. More than 5,200 PhD graduation ceremonies took place last year.

Since the year 2000, the number of PhDs awarded each year has more than doubled. Almost 40 percent of all the PhDs awarded were in the field of health and wellbeing, which attracts a considerable number of women.

phds20212.pngSource: Statistics Netherlands. Image courtesy of HOP.

Men still form a substantial majority in the natural sciences and engineering. But there are fewer PhD students in those fields.

phds20213.pngSource: Statistics Netherlands. Image courtesy of HOP.

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