Women in EU earn 16% less than men on average

New Eurostat research also shows far more Irish mothers work part-time than fathers...

Women in EU earn 16% less than men on average

Picture by: PA / PA Archive/Press Association Images

To coincide with International Women’s Day, Eurostat has examined continuing gender inequality when it comes to pay and employment in the EU.

The total unadjusted gender pay gap stood at 16.1% for the EU in 2014. This key indicator in gender statistics is defined as the difference between the average gross hourly earnings of men and women expressed as a percentage of the former.  This means that, on average, women earn 84 cents for every euro a man makes per hour. 

The Irish figure was taken from 2012 and stood at 14.4%, placing us below the latest European average.

Ranking 10th, we fared better than the likes of Spain, Germany, Iceland and Switzerland, as well our nearest neighbours – Britain’s figure for 2014 was 24%. Estonia has the most pronounced disparity, at 28.3%, while Slovenia’s gender pay gap was a mere 2.9%.

Despite our mid-level placing, the figures showed the Irish gender pay gap actually widened over the course of four years.

The figure of 14.4% was up from 12.6% in 2008, suggesting more women entered the workforce in a part-time capacity during the recession. Even with this proviso, the situation does not seem to be improving at home.

A much higher percentage of Irish women also move to part-time work when they have children, when compared to fathers.

While 16.2% of women with no children are engaged in part-time employment, the figure jumps to 32.7% for those with one child.

Along with the French, Ireland has the EU’s highest fertility rate, at two children per woman. With this in mind, 37.2% of Irish women with two children work part-time. It rises to 47.3% if they have more than three children.

In stark contrast, men are actually less likely to engage in part-time work if they become fathers.

Those without children are at 12.2%, with the amount of part-time workers falling to 8.9% for those with one child. It drops to 8.6% for those with two, and is at 8.9% for those with three or more.

The data highlights the fact that it is primarily women who take the employment hit when it comes to working and raising a family, with fatherhood having only a marginal effect on a man’s career.