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Welcome to the 2019 edition and eleventh publication of Women and Men in Ireland. 

The progress indicators used in this report were chosen because they help to:

  • Identify important gender differences in the activities of men and women;
  • Assist users to identify the underlying reasons that explain these differences;
  • Present the situation in Ireland in an international context.


This web-based edition of Women and Men in Ireland is organised so that the 73 indicators are presented categorised under 6 themes from the Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Sustainability
  • Health
  • Education
  • Gender Equality
  • Work
  • Poverty, Peace and Justice

Most indicators are presented in both a national and international context, the national context generally in a time series format while the international context compares Ireland with other EU countries, and where available with three EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland), and five official candidate countries (Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania and Turkey).

The appendices describe the indicator definitions and data sources in greater detail. Where a graph and/or map is available for an indicator this will be indicated below the text for that indicator.

Ten key facts

1) Women are more likely to have a third level education.

While more women than men (59.9% of women vs 52.5% of men) aged 25-34 have a third level qualification, this gap has narrowed from 15.1 percentage points to 7.4 points between 2008 and 2018.

2) Men work longer hours than women in paid employment.

More than two in four men (52.8%) work for 40 hours or more each week, compared to less than one in four women (24.7%). The average hours worked per week is 40.1 hours for men and 32.3 hours for women.

3) Men have a higher employment rate than women.

The employment rate for men in Ireland in 2019 of 74.6% was the slightly higher than the rate in the EU in 2019, while the female rate in Ireland of 63.7% was just below the EU figure of 64.2%.

4) Unemployment rates for men and women have fallen since 2012.

Unemployment rates fell in Ireland between 2012 and 2018 and but are still higher for men. The rate of unemployment for men dropped from 15.6% to 5.6% over this time period, compared with a drop from 9.6% to 5.2% for women. Thus the gap in male and female unemployment rates narrowed from 5.5 to just 0.4 percentage points between 2012 and 2018.

By 2018 the unemployment rates for both men and women were below the average EU unemployment rates.

5) Net Migration has increased for both men and women.

The number of males emigrating from Ireland fell from 41,900 in 2009 to 28,100 in 2019 while the number of female emigrants fell from 30,100 to 26,800 over the same time period.

The number of male immigrants climbed from 36,800 in 2009 to 45,000 in 2019 while the number of female immigrants rose from 36,800 to 43,600 over the same time period.

In 2019 net migration had climbed to 33,700 people, with 88,600 people arriving to live in Ireland (immigrants) and 54,900 leaving the country to live abroad (emigrants).

6) Men are more likely than women to be in a road accident.

Only one in four (25.6%) of the 162 people who died on Irish roads in 2017 were female. Of car drivers killed on killed on the roads in Ireland, 27.8% were female while 48.0% of car passengers who died were female. Four out of five of the 14 pedal cyclists killed were male.

7) Women are at a higher risk of poverty than men.

In Ireland, 43.9% of women were at risk of poverty in 2017, before income from pensions and social transfers was taken into account, compared to 41.2% of men. The at risk of poverty rate, after social transfers and pensions, was 16.5% for women and 14.7% for men. All of these rates are lower than the EU average.

8) Just over one in ten of the prison population are women.

Only 11.3% of sentenced committals to prison in 2018 were women. Less than 1% of sexual offences were committed by women.

9) Female representation in the Dáil is lower than EU average.

After the 2016 General Election, the percentage of female representation in the Dáil increased from 16.3% to 22.2%. This has not significantly changed after the 2020 General Election.

The EU average of female representation increased from 27.7% to 31.2% between 2014 and 2018, with Ireland being the tenth lowest representation in the EU.

10) Over half of unpaid carers are women.

More than six out of ten (61%) of the 195,263 carers providing unpaid help in 2016 were female. Of female carers, 30.5% provided 29 hours or more of unpaid help each week in 2016, compared to 25.9% of male carers who provided 29 hours or more of unpaid help each week in 2016.

 Technical notes 

While many of the national data are compiled by the CSO, we have also used survey and administrative data holdings held by Government departments and agencies wherever appropriate and possible. The data in the tables and graphs reflect the national and international data availability position during the December 2019 to February 2020.

Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) results for all years are presented for Q2 (quarter two) for years up to 2016. The Labour Force Survey (LFS) replaced the QNHS in 2016, and the results for all years are presented for Q2 for years after 2016. Where comparison was not possible, the QNHS data was left out.

The following symbols are used:

: data not available.

*data not reliable.

Some tables which use QNHS/LFS data as their data source have parentheses ( i.e., [ ] ), around data in cells which are based on samples of between 30 to 49 persons as they are considered to have a wider margin of error and thus they should be treated with caution.

Why you can Trust the CSO

Learn about our data and confidentiality safeguards, and the steps we take to produce statistics that can be trusted by all.