More women in work, but 'better' jobs needed too

Women are continuing to drive employment growth in Europe, but remain
disadvantaged on the labour market in relation to men, says a report adopted by
the European Commission on 23 January 2008.

Despite higher educational attainment, women continue to be employed less and
paid less than men. The 2008 report on Equality between women and men will be
transmitted to EU leaders at the Spring Summit on 8-9 March.

"Our strategy for growth and jobs has been successful in creating more jobs for
women in the EU," said Equal Opportunities Commissioner Vladimir Spidla. "But
ongoing challenges like the pay gap, labour market segregation, and work/life
balance mean we still have some way to go to make those jobs 'better' jobs too.
Overall, despite their better educational attainment, women's careers are
shorter, slower and less well-paid: it is clear that we need to do more to make
full use of the productive potential of the workforce."

The Commission report highlights that the quantitative progress of women on the
labour market has not yet been matched in qualitative terms. On the one hand,
more than 7.5 out of the 12 million new jobs created in the EU since 2000 have
been taken by women. Their employment rate now stands at 57.2%, or 3.5 points
above its 2000 level, compared with a less than one point rise in the rate of
male employment over the same period. Similarly, the rise in the rate of
employment of women over the age of 55 has been significantly faster than that
of men, and now stands at 34.8%, i.e. a 7.4 points increase on 2000.

On the other hand, several aspects of the quality of women's work remain
problematic. Despite the fact that women represent 59% of university graduates
and have a better educational attainment, their employment rate remains lower
than men's (by 14.4 points) and they continue to earn on average 15% less than
men for every hour worked[1].

Women also face greater difficulties in reaching decision-making positions. The
presence of female managers in companies is progressing very slowly and stands
at only 33%. Work/life balance is one area where major differences persist
between women and men. The employment rate of women with young children is only
62.4%, compared with 91.4% for men with children. And women have a
disproportionately high recourse to part-time work (32.9%) compared with men
(7.7%), underlining the imbalance between men and women in the use of time.

The report underlines that more efforts need to be made to create more and
better jobs. The creation of more jobs must go hand in hand with an improvement
in quality. Quality jobs attract workers and allow them to fully exploit their
productive potential and contribute to improving the quality of life in society
as a whole. Equality between women and men is an essential quality component of
work, says the report. Special attention should also be given to improving both
the supply and quality of services to help people balance professional and
private life, in order to allow men and women with dependants to (re-)enter and
stay on the labour market.

In addition, getting rid of stereotypes is essential to promoting equality
between women and men, as they continue to influence the choice of education,
training or employment, participation in domestic and family duties, and
representation in decision-making jobs.

More information

AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work