Working Part-Time: What's the Catch?

Cafe In Amsterdam Cathrine Kongslev

Part-time work is standard practice for most women in The Netherlands, even when you are in your late twenties and you don't have a mini me to entertain in the out-of-office hours.

It's considered quite normal for women to work three or four days, and spend the rest of the week on self-improvement (bikram yoga, photography class) and relationships (drinking coffee with girlfriends, talking about boyfriends). Guys work full-time, girls don't. Everyone here seems happy about this 1950s-style arrangement.

But lately, this seemingly great deal (man work, woman yoga) is starting to make me feel a little uncomfortable. Sure it's nice having all this time to write your first novel. To bike around the city and shop in the biological market. But shouldn't we be working harder? Like our British and American sisters? Are we lazy? Spoilt? Are we getting the best deal here? What's the catch?

While we're downing another latte at the quaint coffee place du jour, our boyfriends are battling office wars with other guys. All the way to to the top. And when they are in their mid-30s, they are downing champagne at 1pm on a work day, whilst 'networking' with other guys. Getting paid full-time.

There's the catch.