Massive gender imbalance revealed

DESPITE leaving school later and being more qualified, women continue to be paid less than men and are under-represented at all levels of government.

According to a study on women and men in Ireland published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), there continues to be a major gender imbalance across a wide range of areas in Irish society.

The study shows more men are unemployed and suffer from higher rates of alcoholism and schizophrenia while more women are admitted to hospital suffering from depression.

The vast majority of the prison population are male while most murder victims are also men.

Traditional stereotypes of women also continue to prevail with a fifth of all women in the workforce being employed in secretarial or clerical jobs, compared with just over 5% of men.

Women also live longer than men, work fewer hours, earn less and are under-represented in local and regional authorities as well as in the Oireachtas.

Some of the key highlights in the report include:

EDUCATION

As well as having a lower school-leavers rate, there were higher proportions of girls taking English, Irish and French at higher level in the Leaving Certificate last year.

Boys had a higher rate of participation in technical subjects.

This pattern continues at third-level with men accounting for 84% of graduates in engineering, manufacturing and construction and 60% in science, while women make up 79% of graduates in health and welfare, 76% in education and 65% in arts and humanities.

POLITICS

The report shows women are under-represented in the political sphere at both national and regional levels.

In 2009, only 14% of TDs in Dáil Éireann were women, while they accounted for 34% of state boards, 17% of members of local authorities and just 12 % of members of regional authorities.

EMPLOYMENT

There were 886,500 women and 1,052,000 men employed in Ireland in 2009.

In the health sector, 80% of employees are women. Some 84% of employees in primary education are women while in secondary education, this figure falls to 62%.

Despite, this women are poorly represented at senior level positions in these sectors.

More than one-fifth of women were employed in clerical and secretarial positions, compared with 5.6% of men.

The unemployment rate for men is also higher, standing at 15.1% for men and 8.1% for women in 2009.

HEALTH

Women were more likely to be hospitalised in 2008, with 331 hospital discharges per 1,000 women, compared with 285 discharges per 1,000 men.

The number of men admitted to hospital for alcoholic disorders and schizophrenia was over 60% higher than the female rate.

The female rate of admission for depression was over 40% higher than the male rate.

CRIME

There were 6,455 people committed to prison under sentence in 2007, just 7.4% were women. Just over 80% of murder-manslaughter victims were male in 2007.

LIFE AND DEATH

Life expectancy for women in 2006 was 81.6 years – nearly five years more than the values for men at 76.8 years. Men are more likely to die at a younger age than women, with the difference in risk particularly high in the 15-24 years age group.

According to the report, this reflects a greater tendency for young men to die by suicide and to be victims of a motor accidents.


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