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Women in the EU are paid less than men despite staying in education longer, says report

Women in the EU are paid less than men despite staying in education longer, says report
By Emma Beswick
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There are five percent more women than men in the EU and, on average, they stay in education longer but are still paid 16.3 percent less, according to a new report


There were 105 women per 100 men in the European Union in 2016 (5 percent more) and the two genders showed significant differences in the way they live their lives and how they were treated in society, according to data published this week.

Here’s how the lives of the average men and women in Europe differed.


Across the EU in 2015, women earned 16.3 percent less than their male counterparts when comparing their average gross hourly earnings.

On average, women earned less than men in all Member States, but the pay gap varied in size from country to country.

Life milestones

In all EU Member States, women both left their parental home and get married earlier than men.

On average in 2016, women left home at the age of 25 and men at 27 and both genders started their first job aged 19.

In every Member State women lived longer than men, with the average EU woman living to age 83.3 and men to age 77.9 in 2015.

Latvia and Lithuania saw the biggest difference between the lifespans of men and women at 10-11 years and the lowest could be found in Denmark, Ireland, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom at 4 years.

More women than men

The 5 percent more women than men in the EU’s population can be attributed to the longer life expectancy of females; among those aged 65 and over, there were 33 percent more women than men.

This trend does not, however, continue in those aged under 18. In fact, the opposite pattern applies with 5 percent more young men than young women of this age.


In terms of lower secondary education, there was very little difference between men and women.

However, when it came to tertiary education, 33 percent of women in the EU had completed this level, compared to 29 percent of men.

The most marked differences were seen in the Baltic Member States as well as Finland, Sweden and Slovenia.

Nutrition and alcohol consumption


A larger share of men than women in the EU drink alcohol on a weekly basis and smoke on a daily basis.

From results collected in 2014, 38 percent of men aged 18 and over consumed alcohol at least once a week, compared with 23 percent of women.

The UK saw the highest number of both male (52 percent) and female (40 percent) drinkers, whereas only 21 percent of Latvian men drank weekly and Romanian and Lithuanian women drank the least at 5 percent.

Concerning obesity, 57 percent of men were considered to be overweight (having a body mass index of 25 or over) in 2014, compared with 44 percent of women.



In all Member States, a much greater share of women said they looked after child care, housework and cooking than men.

In the EU in 2016, 92 percent of women aged 25 to 49 (with children under 18) took care of their children on a daily basis, compared to 68 percent of men.


On the subject of housework and cooking, the differences were even more marked.

In the EU in 2016, 79 percent of women cooked and/or did housework on a daily basis, compared with 34 percent of men.


The largest differences between women and men were found in Greece (69 percent difference) and Italy (61 percent), and the smallest in Sweden (18 percent) and Latvia (25 percent).

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