Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk investigates the extent to which colonial ties between the Netherlands and the Netherlands East-Indies influenced women’s labour patterns in the colony as well as the metropolis. On the one hand, comparisons are made between quantitative and qualitative developments in women’s labour force participation in the Netherlands and the Netherlands Indies in the colonial period. On the other hand, various connections are made between developments in the metropolis and the colony. Not only did Dutch economic and colonial policies, such as the Cultivation System and the exports of Dutch textiles by the Dutch Trading Company (nhm), lead to changes in women’s work in both regions. Moreover, social policy, for instance the Social Question and Ethical Policy, also influenced legislation on and practices of women’s work in colony and metropolis. The underlying rhetorics were generally patronising, containing elements of class, ethnicity and gender to justify intervention (and the differences therein) in both parts of the empire.