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08. Are female students less likely to participate in IVET?

Indicator 1070: female IVET students as a share of all female upper secondary students
Figure 8 Female IVET students as % of all female upper secondary students, including comparison with a similar indicator for males

Of particular interest is the extent to which different groups are more or less likely to participate in VET.

Data considered here focus on participation in IVET for female students, whose levels of participation are traditionally lower than for male students.

The indicator below considers the number of female upper secondary students (ISCED 3) enrolled in IVET programmes and expresses it as a percentage of the total number of female upper secondary students. The same indicator specified for males is presented as a basis for comparison. EU averages are estimated from available country data.

Figure 8: Female IVET students as % of all female upper secondary students, including comparison with a similar indicator for males

Source: Cedefop calculations based on Eurostat data/UOE data collection on education.

Key points

In 2015, nearly half (47.3%, indicator 1010) of all upper secondary students in the EU were enrolled in vocational programmes. The proportion among male students (52.4%) was significantly higher than among female students (42.0%). Enrolment of female students in the vocational stream was more than 50% in nine EU Member States. The highest shares (more than 60%) were in Finland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Austria, Croatia and Slovakia. Estonia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, and Cyprus had the lowest shares (at less than 30%).

In nearly all EU Member States, enrolments in upper secondary VET were lower among women than among men. In some countries this gender gap was considerable. The difference was largest, in absolute terms, in Italy (at 67.1% versus 43.7%, a gap of 23.4 percentage points). In relative terms, the gap appeared largest in Cyprus (a difference of 17.2 percentages points between enrolments 6.9% and 24.1%).

Between 2013 and 2015, female participation in upper secondary IVET went down 1.9 percentage points in the EU as whole. Sweden (-7.4%), Greece (-7.1%), Italy (-5.1%), and the United Kingdom (-4.2%) reported a decrease of more than four percentage points. In the non-EU countries for which data are available, the share of female upper secondary students enrolled in the vocational stream in 2015 was between 25% and 60%.

Table 8: Female IVET students as % of all female upper secondary students, including comparison with a similar indicator for males


Arrows ↗ or ↘ signal a positive or negative trend based on more than two data points and of magnitude 0.1 per year or more. Trends based on more than two data points but of smaller magnitude are indicated by →; trends based on two points only are marked ▪. Trends are estimated by means of regression models.
The UOE back reconstruction of the 2010 values based on ISCED 2011 is not yet available.
The EU28 values are based on 28 countries, with partial information for NL.
(F) Based on partial information (public sector). (b) Break after 2010. Therefore baseline data not included. (u) Eurostat: "low reliability". (z) Eurostat: "not applicable". (e) Eurostat: "estimated".

Source: Cedefop calculations based on Eurostat data/UOE data collection on education.

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01/02/2018