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Women under-represented in decision-making structures

A gender report Women and Men in Ireland, 2005 published by the CSO today examines key differences in the lives of men and women in Ireland.

The report shows that women are under-represented in decision-making structures at both national and regional levels. Just over 13% of TDs in Dáil Eireann are women. Around 30% of members of State Boards and under 20% of members of regional and local authorities are women.

Employment rates continue to increase for both women and men. In 2005, the employment rate for women in Ireland was 58%. This exceeded the EU Stockholm Council target of 57%. The employment rate for men was 76.2%, well above the average EU rate of 70.9%.

The education and health sectors employed the highest proportion of women, around 80% of employees in these sectors. However, women were not well represented at senior level positions. In the health service, women represented 80% of all staff in 2005 but only 29% of medical and dental consultants. In 2003, women accounted for 86% of primary school teachers but only 51% of primary school managers. Almost 80% of staff in clerical grades in the Civil Service were women in 2003, but women represented only 11% of staff at Assistant and Deputy Secretary levels.

The early school leavers rate among women aged 18-24 was 9.7% in 2004, which was much lower than the male rate of 16.1%. There were higher proportions of women taking English and European languages at Leaving Certificate higher level in 2004. However, men had higher rates of participation in technical subjects. Around 95% of Leaving Certificate students taking higher level engineering, construction studies and technical drawing examinations weremale. The pattern continued at third level with men accounting for around 80% of graduates in engineering, manufacturing and construction.

Women's income in 2003 was around two-thirds of men's income. After adjusting for differences in hours worked, women's hourly earnings were around 85% of men's.

The proportion of men at risk of poverty in 2004, after pensions and social transfers, was 18% compared to 23% of women. At risk of poverty rates were considerably lower for employed men and women at 7% and 6% respectively.

Life expectancy for men was around 5 years less than for women in 2003. Men are generally more likely to die at a younger age than women, with the difference in risk 3.4 times higher in the 15-24 years age group.


Editor's note

Women and Men in Ireland, 2005 is available on the CSO web site ( (PDF 1,153KB) )

The report may be purchased from:
The Central Statistics Office, Information Section, Skehard Road, Cork
Government Publications Sales Office, Sun Alliance House, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2
or through any bookseller
For further information: contact Gerry Brady (01 498 4201) or Gillian Roche (01 498 4202).

Central Statistics Office

16 December 2005