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Statistical information on the situation of women in Europe

On 8 March, International Women's Day, Eurostat published several tables of statistics on the situation of women in the EU, shedding light on the differences and similarities with the situation of men.

The main findings are that in the EU of 25:

General findings
On average, women live six years longer than men. In 2004, the difference in longevity was around six years (81.2 years for women, as against 75.1 years for men). The greatest difference was registered in Lithuania (77.7 years compared to 66.3 years) and the lowest in Malta (80.7 years compared to 76.7 years). One of the consequences of this longer life expectancy is that in 2004, women represented 59% of people aged 65 years or more in the EU 25. The percentage of women in this age category was highest in Latvia, and lowest in Greece and Cyprus (55% each).

Fertility rates
Still in the EU of 25, in 2004, the average age of women when their first child was born with higher in all the Member States than in 1994. The youngest mothers at the time of the birth of their first child were observed in Estonia (24.6 years), Latvia (24.7) and Lithuania (24.8), with the oldest in the United Kingdom (29.7) and in Spain (29.2) as against an average of 28.2 years in the EU as a whole.

55% of students in higher education are women. In 2005, 80% of women and 75% of men in the age bracket 20-24 years had completed at least the higher cycle of secondary education. This was the case in all Member States with the exception of the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. The highest percentage of women who had completed at least this cycle of secondary education was observed in Slovenia (94%) and the lowest in Malta (48%).

In January 2006, employment rates for women stood at 9.6%, compared to 7.6% for men. The unemployment rates for women varied between 3.8% in Ireland and 19.1% in Poland. Only in Estonia, Latvia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Ireland was the proportion of unemployed women equal to or below rates for men. In the second half of 2005, the employment rate was 56% for women and 71% for men. The employment rate for women varied from 34% in Malta to 71% in Denmark and Sweden. On average, one-third of working women were employed on a part-time basis, compared to an average of 7% for men. The proportion of women working part-time varied from below 5% in Slovakia to over 75% in the Netherlands. Eurostat also observed that at present, 32% of executive jobs are held by women. The highest percentages can be observed in Latvia (44%), Lithuania (43%) and Estonia (38%), and the lowest in Cyprus (14%), Malta (15%) and Denmark (23%). Eurostat further notes that on average, women in the EU work more hours than men: there is over an hour difference in Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania, Spain and Hungary. On the other hand, women work fewer hours per day than men in Germany and Belgium (six and a half hours), and only in the United Kingdom and in Sweden is the number of hours worked by men and women practically the same. The main household tasks performed by women are meal preparation, housework and other maintenance jobs. In general, men do the garden, the shopping and take care of services such as construction and repair work.

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