Actions to tackle horizontal segregation

External practice




The government; employers organisations (e.g. in the labour market platform), other unions.

Reason it was developed

In the Dutch education sector, women are over-represented, especially in primary education as follows: • Primary education: 85% • Secondary Education: 55% • Secondary voc. Education: 57% • Higher education: 49 % The main reasons for this are as follows: • The current wage gap between 1) public and private sector and 2) primary education and other education sectors. The salary in the private sector rises much faster than in the public sector. There is a pay gap between the private and public sector. The Dutch Education Minister has the authority to make use of the ‘’zero line’’ (or “freeze”) in the public sector, when he/she thinks it is necessary. Salaries in education have been frozen over many years since the crisis; • The (image of) teacher training is not always attractive for men; • The lack of a concrete career perspective in primary education; • Primary education is more associated with care tasks.


The union has recently gone on strike asking for higher salaries across all education levels. Low payment drives men out of education sector and underpayment ultimately also means that highly educated women don’t choose to work in education AOb is of the opinion that having a career should not mean that the teachers have to stop teaching. To attract more men into the teaching profession, it’s necessary to think about a real teaching career perspective. Hence, the union asked for the collective labour agreement to be changed with better salary scales and activated social dialogue mechanisms to ask more money for better salary scales with growth opportunities. AOb also argues that (to attract more people, especially men, to the teaching profession) the sector must make sure that more men choose teacher training, and more men finish teacher training. At this moment many men leave teacher training before finishing it. AOb also cooperates in a platform with employers and other education unions, among others to cooperate on campaigns and to coordinate plans. They have for example a common website. The platform for the primary education sector recently organised a campaign called ‘’more heroes in the classroom’’. This is a communication campaign to enthuse prospective students, senior secondary and secondary school students, about being a teacher. The platform has also made grants available for schools that attract male teachers, hoping to stimulate schools to invest in looking for more men.


It is a political choice by the government to make insufficient money available for education. The social dialogue is ongoing and the union, often supported by the employers organisations, is maintaining pressure on the government. The key challenge is to convince the government to make enough money available for the education sector. A remaining other challenge is the discussion about salary differences. Is it logical that the director earns more than the teacher? The AOb is not convinced. The teaching profession should be far better appreciated and rewarded. It is necessary to pay a better salary if you want to attract more men and if you want to keep highly educated women in education. To get rid of the image that you can only grow in salary if you stop teaching, is another challenge.


Internal trade union's funding.


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