Women better educated, but still earn less than men

WOMEN are more likely to have a third-level qualification but still earn less than men, latest data from the Central Statistics Office shows.

Annual income for women in Ireland is around 70% of that earned by men, even though women are less likely to leave school early and more likely to have gone to college.

The CSO’s Women and Men in Ireland 2010 points out that more than half of women aged 25-34 have a third-level qualification, compared with 39% of men in the same age group.

In 2009 the early school leavers rate among women aged 18-24 was 8.2%, much lower than the rate among men at 14.4%.

The report shows that women’s income in 2008 was around 70% of men’s income but, after adjusting for the longer hours worked by men, women’s hourly earnings were around 90% of men’s.

There were 863,000 women and 996,100 men employed in Ireland last year with the education and health sectors employing the highest proportion of women.

Just over one fifth of the women employed in clerical and secretarial occupations, compared with only 6% of men.

Craft and related occupations were the least gender-balanced with men representing 95% of workers in this category while professional occupations were the most gender balanced, where 51% of those at work were women.

In the health sector 80% of employees are women while in primary education, 83% are women and at second-level 64% are women.

But women are not well represented at senior level positions in the education and health sectors — only 34% of medical and dental consultants are women; 54% are primary school managers and 39% are second-level school managers.

While men have a high rate of employment, they also have a higher rate of unemployment but the proportion of men and women at risk of poverty in 2009 was the same for both sexes at 14%.

The employment rate for men in Ireland stood at about 75% over recent years but in 2009 it plummeted to 67.3% and dropped again in 2010 to 64%.

The EU target rate for women was 60% by 2010, a target that was met by Ireland in 2007 and 2008 but not in 2009 or 2010, when the rate had fallen to 56.4%.

Last year 46% of those in employment were women. Men worked an average of 39.4 hours a week last year, compared with 30.9 for women. The annual unemployment rate for men in Ireland was about 5% when the economy was buoyant. In 2009 it increased sharply to 15.1% and rose again in 2010 to 16.7%.

The unemployment rate for women, that stood at about 4% before the economic downturn increased in 2009 to 8.1% and rose again in 2020 to 9.8%.

For the 20-24 age group, 32.9% of men and 18.7% of women were unemployed in 2010.

The report also shows that women are under-represented in decision making at both national and regional levels. Last year just 14% of Dáil members were women, while the average female representation in national parliaments in the EU was nearly a quarter.

Women account for just over a third of members of state boards, less than a fifth of members of local authorities and just over a third of the membership of vocational education committees.

Life expectancy for women in Ireland was 81.6 years in 2006, nearly five years more than men at 76.8 years , however, is just over half a year more than the 2007 EU average, while for women it was a half year less.

Across the industrialised world women live between five and 10 years longer than men and one reason is that women develop cardiovascular disease about 10 years later than men, usually in their 70s and 80s. It is also thought that the reason is genetic.

Other reasons why men die at an earlier age than women is they smoke more, although that gender gap is shrinking, and eat more food that leads to high cholesterol. Also men tend not to deal with stress as well as women and stress plays a very important role in cardiovascular disease.

Girls outnumber the boys as emigration on the up


IRELAND had 98 men per 100 women in the population in 2010.

Emigration has risen steeply in the last four years, especially for men, with 25,100 men and 9,400 women leaving the country last year.

The labour force participation rate for men was highest for the 35-44 age group, at 92% last year.

Almost three-quarters of men in employment worked for 30 or more hours a week in 2010, compared with 58% of women.

Nearly 41% of married men worked for 40 or more hours in paid employment per week, compared with 13% of married women.

70% of persons describing themselves as retired in 2010 were men.

Men had an average income of €35,966 in 2008, while the average income for women was €25,077.

Men outnumbered women in all national and regional decision-making structures in Ireland last year. The mortality rate due to accidents for men was more than twice that of women in 2009, with the rate of male deaths due to suicide nearly four times the female rate. Male rate for admission to psychiatric units for schizophrenia was nearly two-thirds higher than the female rate.


AVERAGE age of birth of first child increased from 25 years in 1980 to 29 in 2009.

Women more likely have a stay in hospital, with one-sixth of hospital stays pregnancy and childbirth-related.

Over half a million women were looking after their home and family last year, compared with only 7,500 men. Over 10% of the 10,865 persons jailed in 2009 were women.

Between 2000 and 2010 the employment rate for women aged 55-64 increased from 27% to 43%, but still below the 50% Stockholm Council 2010 target.

Only 10% of women employed in agriculture, forestry and fishing are women, compared to over 38% in the EU.

Women represented four-fifths of persons who worked up to 29 hours per week in paid employment in 2005 and three-quarters in 2010.

The number of women living as lone parents increased by 46%, from 93,800 to 137,100 over the period 2000-2010.

Almost 98% of the 90,485 persons in receipt of one-parent family payments in 2009 were women.

Female rate of admission for depressive disorders was over one-third higher than the male rate.

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