New employment figures have raised questions over equality between men and women in Turkey, Malta and Italy.
The trio have the biggest gaps when it comes to the percentage of males and females in work, according to latest data from Eurostat.
Turkey had the biggest disparity in the 2015 figures, with 75.3 percent of men aged 20-64 in employment, compared with just 32.5 percent of women.
Malta had the next largest gap of the countries studied, which were mainly in the European Union. Eurostat says the Mediterranean island had 81.4 percent of men aged 20-64 in employment, compared to 53.6 percent women.
Italy had a low proportion of women in work, just over half, 50.6 percent, against 70.6 percent of men.
Italian women have long complained of workplace discrimination, linked to a society that views a female’s place as being in the home, according to Reuters.
Finland had a gender employment gap of just 2.1 percent, the smallest of the countries studied. Lithuania, Latvia, Sweden and Norway all had gaps of less than five percent.
Over the last ten years the vast majority of countries have closed the gap between the proportion of men and women in employment.
But Romania, Austria, Poland and Estonia were among those to see a widening gap between 2005 and 2015.
While Malta still has one of the biggest gaps, it has made significant progress over the last decade. Just 34.8 percent of women aged 20-64 were in work in 2005, compared with 53.6 percent last year.
A report on the Maltese labour market in 2012 commented: “The increase in female employment rates is often attributed to the increasing share of women in the 25-34 year old age group, who have a different attitude towards paid work and their role in the family, compared to earlier generations.”
Germany also saw an increase in the share of women in work, leaping from 63.1 percent in 2005 to 73.6 ten years later.
Slovenia, Denmark and Greece are the minority who have seen the share of women aged 20-65 in employment reduce, if you compare 2005 and 2015.