26th Apr 2019

European women still earning less than men

More women are getting jobs in Europe but they tend to have lower-paid and part-time posts meaning they earn 15 percent less than men overall, a new study suggests.

According to the 2006 equality report unveiled by the European Commission on Friday (24 February), women's employment rates have risen to 55.7 percent, up 0.7 percentage points over one year, but the figure is still 15 percent lower than the job rate for men.

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The report praises the rise in women's participation in Europe's labour markets, but it points to continued segregation, both in terms of different sectors and occupations.

"More than four in ten employed women work in public administration, education, health and social activities, compared to less than two in ten men," states the study.

On the other hand, women account for only 32 percent of managerial jobs in the private sector, and represent 10 percent of company boards and 3 percent of CEOs of larger EU enterprises.

Moreover, 32.6 percent of women work part-time, compared to 7.4 percent of men, with young mothers experiencing a 14.3 point drop in employment, while young fathers represent a 5.6 point hike in job rates.

In Cyprus, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain, Greece and Malta the job gap remains high. However the same trend is evident in Scandinavian countries, which enjoy the highest female employment rates.

Less than one-tenth of women work part-time in Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Greece, while in Luxembourg, Belgium, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, up to 40 percent of part-time workers are women.

The pay gap is lowest in Malta, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Greece and Poland, and highest in Cyprus, Slovakia, Estonia, Germany, the UK and Finland.

The commission is planning to adopt a road map with concrete actions that member states should consider in order to improve gender equality.

One of the key instruments should be a push for better reconciliation of professional and private life, by creating high quality child care centres and creating equal opportunities for both mothers and fathers to take parental leave.

However, the commission argues social policy alone might not be enough.

"Some studies show that while the EU has better social policy than the US, more American women are employed and more of them work in higher positions," said social policy spokesperson Katharina von Schnurbein.

She argued that a different mindset - not biased by gender-related stereotypes – would be crucial for changing European trends in this area.

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