Back

Women’s employment in the EU

06/03/2020

© kurhan / Shutterstock.com

Women’s employment rate increasing, but remains lower than men’s

In 2018, the employment rate for women (aged between 20-64) in the European Union (EU) stood at 67%, one percentage-point (pp) increase from the previous year and 5 pp higher than in 2008. However, the employment rate for women was still 12 pp(*) less than the corresponding rate for men of the same age.

Among EU Member States, Sweden had the highest employment rate for women (80%) in 2018, whereas Greece (49%) and Italy (53%) reported the lowest rates.

Across all Member States, the employment rate for men was higher than that of women. Nevertheless, this gender employment gap has narrowed from 15 pp in 2008 to 12 pp in 2018.

The gender employment gap varied significantly across EU Member States in 2018. The highest gaps were recorded in Malta (22 pp) and Greece (21 pp), while the lowest gap was observed in Lithuania (2 pp).

 

Employment-rate-in-the-EU

Source dataset: lfsi_emp_a

 

Female unemployment rate still higher than male unemployment rate

In 2019, the unemployment rate for women in the EU was 7.1%, higher than the rate for men which was 6.4%. Among EU Member States, the women’s unemployment rate varied; ranging from 16.0% in Spain to 2.4% in Czechia.

 

Unmployment-rate-in-the-EU

 

Source dataset: une_rt_a

 

Women are more likely to work part-time

One-third of employed women were working part time (30%) in the EU in 2018, nearly four times the rate for men (8%). A similar pattern was observed across all Member States. The highest share of employed women working part-time was recorded in the Netherlands (74%), while the lowest share was in Bulgaria (2%).

 

Part-time-employment-in-the-EU

Source dataset: lfsi_pt_a

 

Further information is provided in the Statistics Explained articles gender statistics and gender pay statistics.

 

 

(*) The actual employment rates, which are shown rounded to the nearest integer in the graph, are 66.5% for women and 78.3% for men. Therefore, their difference is rounded to 12 pp. 

 

Note: The European Union (EU) includes 27 EU Member States. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. Further information is published here.

 

To contact us, please visit our User Support page.

For press queries, please contact our Media Support.