Although, on average, women in the EU have better education than men, they spend less time earning money and more time doing domestic work, according to a study published by Eurostat on the occasion of the International Women’s Day.
Women in some EU countries spend more than three times longer than men doing domestic work like cleaning, cooking and childcare. In contrast, men in many countries spend more than twice as much time earning money or learning as women do. The discrepancy is worst in mediterranean countries like Italy and Spain, but the example of Germany shows that even countries considering themselves well advanced in gender equality suffer from structural deficits: Insufficient childcare in Germany accounts for the lowest level of women’s professional activity throughout the EU.
Time use structure of women and men aged 20 to 74 Source: Eurostat
Women’s level of education is not the reason for their lacking presence in the labour market. In almost all EU countries, more women than men have finished at least secondary education and represent the majority of university students. The proportion of women is almost twice as high, however, in study courses less likely to lead to immediate employment, like the arts and humanities, than in technological courses.
In view of the European Spring Council of 23-24 March 2006, Sweden, France, Spain, Finland, the Czech Republic and Denmark have proposed a new European Pact for Gender Equality to the Austrian Presidency of the EU.