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Irish women are more highly qualified and work fewer hours


Irish women are more likely to have a third-level qualification than men. More than half of women aged between 25 and 35 have a third-level qualification compared with just over four out of ten men, according to the report Women and Men in Ireland 2013, published by the CSO today. Men work longer hours than women in paid employment.

Irish women, along with women from France, have the joint highest fertility rate in the EU. Boys are more likely to leave school early. Men have a higher rate of employment but also a higher rate of unemployment. Men are more likely to be in the labour force and those looking after home/family are overwhelmingly female. Most workers in the Health and Education sectors are women while most workers in Agriculture, Construction and Transport are men. Most murder victims are male and the vast majority of the prison population is male. Ireland is the ninth highest among EU27 countries for gender equality.


Employment: The employment rate for men in Ireland stood at about 76% in recent years but in 2009 it dropped sharply to 66.8% and continued to decrease over the next three years to reach 62.4% by 2012. However in 2013 there was an increase in the male employment rate to 64.6% followed by another rise in 2014 to 65.7%. The female employment rate reached 60.6% in 2007 before dropping to 57.6% in 2009 and it continued to decrease over the next three years to stand at 55.2% by 2012. The last 2 years have seen a small rise in the female employment rate to 55.9% in 2014.

Men worked an average of 39.2 hours a week in paid employment in 2013 compared to 31.2 hours for women and married men worked longer hours than married women, with close to half of married men (44.1%) working for 40 hours a week or more compared to just 16.8% of married women. (Tables 2.1, 2.8 and 2.9).


Unemployment: The unemployment rate for men in Ireland was about 5% in recent years but in 2009 it increased dramatically to 15.3%, followed by further rises over the following three years to reach 18.1% by 2012. There was a drop in the male unemployment rate in 2013 to 15.9% and another decrease in 2014 to 13.8%. The female unemployment rate, which stood at about 4% in recent years, also increased strongly to 8.3% in 2009 and continued to rise over the next four years to reach 11.4% in 2013. However the female rate of unemployment decreased in 2014 to 9.9%. The younger age groups have been most affected by unemployment, with approximately three out of ten men and two out of ten women aged 20-24 unemployed in 2013. (Tables 2.11 and 2.12).


Education: The early school leavers’ rate among women aged 18-24 in 2012 was 8.2% which was lower than the rate of 11.2% for men. In 2013 more girls than boys sat higher level papers in the Leaving Certificate exams in English, French, Irish, Biology, Chemistry, Art, Home Economics and Music. More boys than girls took the higher level papers in Mathematics, Physics, Construction studies, Design and communication graphics and Engineering. The vast majority (85%) of graduates in engineering, manufacturing and construction in 2012 were male while over three-quarters of graduates in the education, health and welfare sectors were female. Women are more likely to have a third-level qualification, with over half (55.3%) of women aged 25-34 having a third-level qualification in 2013 compared to just 42.7% of men in this age group. (Tables 3.8, 4.1, 4.2 and 4.4).


Decision-making: Women are significantly under-represented in decision-making structures in Ireland at both national and regional levels. In 2013 only 15.7% of TDs in Dáil Éireann were women and they accounted for less than a fifth of members of local authorities and just over a third of the membership of Vocational Education Committees. The average female representation in national parliaments in the EU was 27.5% in 2013. (Tables 3.12 and 3.13).


Population: Ireland, along with France, had the joint highest fertility rate in the EU at 2.01 in 2012, well above the EU average of 1.58. The average age at which women gave birth to their first child rose from 24.9 years in 1980 to 29.8 years in 2011. Ireland had 98 men per 100 women in 2013. This masks differences in age groups: at younger ages, there are more boys than girls (as more boys are born), there are fewer men in the 25-44 age group as more men have emigrated in recent years and at older ages there are more women (as women live longer). For the age group aged 85 and over, there are 48 men per 100 women. (Tables 1.1, 1.5 and 1.6).


Migration: The years of high immigration into Ireland were 2005 to 2008. In 2007, immigration peaked at 80,000 for men and 71,100 for women. Since then, immigration has fallen very sharply for both sexes with 28,200 male immigrants and 27,700 female immigrants in 2013. Emigration rose steeply between 2004 and 2013, to 44,900 males and 44,000 females. Net migration, the number of people arriving in Ireland less the number leaving, was positive up to 2009 but since 2010 it has turned negative, resulting in a net outflow leaving Ireland of 16,700 males and 16,300 females in 2013. (Table 1.3, Graph 1.4).


Life and death: Life expectancy at birth for women in Ireland was 83.2 years in 2012, 4.5 years above the male life expectancy of 78.7 years. Female life expectancy in Ireland was similar to the EU average while male life expectancy was 1.2 years above the EU average. Men are more likely to die at a younger age than women, with the difference in risk particularly high in the 15-24 age group. This reflects higher deaths rates for males due to suicide and motor vehicle accidents. (Tables 1.13, 5.2, 5.3 and 5.5).


Gender Equality Index: A new index, the gender equality index, shows Ireland was ninth highest out of 27 EU member states in 2010, with a score of 55.2. This was slightly above the EU27 average score of 54, where 1 indicates total inequality and 100 indicates gender equality. (Table 1.7).


Principal Economic Status: Men were more likely to be in the labour force than women in Ireland in 2013, with just under seven out of ten men aged 15 and over at work or unemployed compared to half of women. More than 98% of those who were looking after home/family in 2013 were women, with close to half a million women looking after home/family compared to only 8,700 men. (Table 3.1).


Economic sectors: Over a third of women at work in Ireland in 2012 were working in the health and education sectors. Women accounted for four out of five employees in the health sector and three-quarters of those at work in education. The sectors with the highest proportions of men in 2012 were construction, agriculture and transport. In primary education 85% of teachers are female while 68% are female at second-level. However women are not well represented at senior levels: 44% of primary school managers, 41% of second-level school managers and 37% of medical and dental consultants are women. (Tables 2.7, 4.7, 4.8 and 5.14).


Income and poverty: Women’s income in 2011 in Ireland was about three-quarters of men’s income. After adjusting for the longer hours worked by men, women’s hourly earnings were around 94% of men’s in 2011. The proportion of men at risk of poverty in 2012, after pensions and social transfers, was 15%, the same rate as for women. At risk of poverty rates were much lower for those in employment at 7% for men and 5% for women in 2011. (Tables 3.2, 3.3, 3.5 and 3.6).


Crime: There were 13,526 persons committed to prison under sentence in 2012, of whom one in six were women. 43 men and 11 women were victims of murder or manslaughter in 2013. (Tables 1.8 and 1.10).


Editor’s note

Women and Men in Ireland, 2013 is available on the CSO web site.


For further information contact Helen Cahill (01 498 4253) or Information Section (021 453 5028).


Central Statistics Office                                                                   29 July 2014

– ENDS –