5 Things We Should be Talking About on this International Women’s Day

Techsense Team I 8:00 am, 8th March

International Women’s Day is celebrated on the 8th of March. It is a day that celebrates women. Women are no longer confined to their houses and are making their mark on the world as leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, and more. Although there is a lot to celebrate this International Women’s Day, there are also some things that must be talked about.

The pay gap

The gender pay gap in the EU stands at 14.1% and has only changed minimally over the last decade. It means that women earn 14.1% on average less per hour than men, says the European Commission.

The gender overall earnings gap, that measures the combined impact of the average hourly earnings, the monthly average of the number of hours paid (before any adjustment for part-time work) and the employment rate, stood at 36.7% in 2018.  

The gender employment gap stood at 11.7% in 2019, with 67.3 % of women across the EU being employed compared to 79% of men (EU27 data).

There are considerable differences between EU countries. The gender pay gap ranges from less than 5% in Luxembourg, Italy and Romania to more than 19% in Austria, Germany, Latvia and Estonia. In most countries, the gender pay gap is decreasing, whereas it is even growing in a few.

Representation in STEM: Luxembourg must do better 

According to Eurostat, there were more than 6.3 million female scientists and engineers in the EU in 2019, accounting for 41% of total employment in science and engineering. By sector, women were underrepresented in manufacturing - where only 21% of scientists and engineers were female - while there was more of a gender balance in the services sector (46%).

Among EU Member States, the proportion of female scientists and engineers varied widely in 2019, ranging from 55% in Lithuania to 28% in Luxembourg.

At regional level, female scientists and engineers were in the majority in 13 EU regions:

5 regions of Spain: the North-East (53%), North-West, Canary Islands and East (all 52%) and Centre (51%),

2 regions of Poland: Eastern (54%) and Central (51%),

North and South-East Bulgaria (57%), Madeira in Portugal (57%), Northern Sweden (56%), as well as Lithuania (55%), Latvia (53%) and Denmark (52%): all three single regions at this level of detail.

Power is still for men

In several EU Member States, a century has now passed since women won the right to vote in national elections, were elected to national parliaments or first held a ministerial position. Nevertheless, one hundred years on, Europe-wide data show that women are still under represented in political decision-making at local, national and European levels. The Gender Equality Index developed by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) to measure gender gaps over time shows that although "power" is the area where most progress has been made in the past 10 years, it is also the area where the gender gap remains widest. With a score of 100 equaling gender balance, Sweden is currently the only EU country to score over 90 on the 'political power' indicator, which is based on the share of women ministers, members of parliament and women in regional assemblies. Some Member States, such as Slovenia and France, have made major strides, but the fact that other countries' scores have declined, some from an already low base, illustrates that increases in women's political representation are not necessarily linear or self-evident. 

Women doctoral graduates still under-represented in ICT

According to the She Figures 2021 publication, the EU has almost achieved gender parity among doctoral graduates. In 2018, women represented 48.1% of doctoral graduates at the European level and the proportion of women among doctoral graduates was gender-balanced (i.e. ranged between 40% and 60%) in the majority of EU-27 and Associated Countries. Despite this progress, important gender gaps persist in specific broad fields of study. At both the European and country levels, women doctoral graduates were over-represented in the field of Education and under-represented in the broad fields of Information and Communication Technologies and Engineering, Manufacturing & Construction.

Household chores

Big strides have been made in recent years to improve gender equality in our society, but according to the latest figures from Eurostat and the Federal Statistical Office of Germany there is at least one area where we still have a lot of work to do: housework.

On average in the EU, 79 percent of women cook and/or do housework each day, compared to only 34 percent of men. The gap is the smallest in Sweden, where 74 percent of women perform these tasks on a regular basis with an encouraging 56 percent of men chipping in, too. The gap in the UK is still significant, where the figures are 85 percent and 49 percent. At the other end of the scale, women in Greece take care of the lion's share of the house work. Here, the 85 percent of women that cook and do housework daily only get assistance from 16 percent of the country's men.

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