100th International Women’s Day - 100 Inequalities remain

8 March 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.EIGE’s list of 100 Inequalitiesillustrate that we are still a long way from achieving gender equality.

EIGE’s list of 100 Inequalities – a mere indication of today's inequalities - demonstrates that despite the achievements of the past 100 years, gender inequality remains an issue. Women are in general not paid equally for the same job as men, women are not equally represented in business and in politics, and women’s health, education, and violence against women, are all burning issues.

EIGE’s Director Virginija Langbakk, says: "Inequality is still obvious in many areas. Women represent an average of 59 percent of university graduates in the EU yet only 3 percent of company presidents are women and only 12 percent of corporate boards. On average, in the EU, women’s unemployment rate remains higher than men’s".

Removing barriers to gender equality, tackling gender-based violence, getting more women into the labour market , company boardrooms and into top level jobs, has a positive impact on the economy and on the development of each woman and man.

The Bank of Italy estimates that if female employment rose to 60 percent, gross domestic product would rise 7%. “In a country where growth is at 1%, that’s something to keep in mind” said Anna Maria Tarantola, the bank’s deputy director general (International Herald Tribune – Thursday Feb 3).

In addition to the list of 100 Inequalities, EIGE is holding an event in Budapest, Hungary (holding the Presidency of the EU Council). The event will bring together stakeholders and media to discuss how to tackle gender inequality issues (view photos from the consultation meeting). On the same day - from its headquarters in Vilnius, Lithuania – EIGE will host an array of women Ambassadors who will present a number of inequalities which still exist in their countries (view photos from the event).

By working together we can ensure that there is a lot to celebrate every International Women’s Day.

Download the Press release (.pdf, 61.1KB)

1. In 2009, the rate of employment for women in the EU was 12.1 percentage points lower than the same rate for men in employment [1]. 2. 31% of employed women in the EU only worked part time in comparison to a mere 7.4% of men in 2009 [2].
3. The rate for women at risk of poverty in 2007 stood at 17% compared to 15% for men. When it came to the elderly, the same rate stood at 22% for women compared to 17% for men (and 34% for single parents) [3]. 4. In 2008, the rate for women’s unemployment was 0.9% greater than men's [3].
5. The unemployment rate of migrant women (14%) is higher than that of migrant men (11.3 %) [4]. 6. There are consistently fewer employed women with disabilities than employed men with disabilities [5].
7. With more women working in the public sector, the impact of job losses as a result of the economic crisis and budget cuts is felt more with them than with men [3]. 8. Experiences from past crises show that men's employment generally recovers faster than women’s [6].
9. The risk of not being re-employed is higher for women [3]. 10. Having children affects the employment rates of women and men differently. Women's participation in the labour market drops by an average of 12% whereas men’s increases by 9.1% [7].
11. In 2008, women with children under 12 had a significantly lower employment rate than those without, 67% and 78.5% respectively, a negative difference of 11.5 percentage point [3]. 12. In 2008, men with children under 12 had a significantly higher employment rate than those without, 91.6% vs. 84.8%, a positive difference of 6.8 percentage point [3].
13. Around 30% of working-age women with care responsibilities are either economically inactive or work part-time due to the lack of care services for children and other dependent persons [3]. 14. Gender pay and work gaps in full and part-time employment tend to arise between the ages of 25 and 35, showing the high impact of family responsibilities on female employment [8].
15. 84% of men who either have one or more children, or their wife/partner is expecting a child - have neither considered nor taken parental leave. Almost all eligible mothers make use of their right to parental leave further aggravating the gap [9]. 16. Employed women spend 39 hours a week on average on home care activities compared to men's 26 hours [10].
17. Care responsibilities for adult dependent persons in 2005 amounted to almost double in women (12.8 million) than in men (7.6 million) [3]. 18. In 2008, the women's employment between the ages of 55-64 was 18.2 points lower than men's, partly because of their care responsibilities for adult dependent persons [3].
19. Despite spending fewer hours on average in paid employment, women work more hours than men when combining unpaid work (e.g. household chores, childcare, care of elderly and sick family members, voluntary work) with paid work [11]. 20. Women aged 25 to 44 spend practically three times longer than men do on childcare per day (60 minutes for women to 22 minutes for men) [11].
21. Women aged 15-24 work an hour longer every day than men when preparing food, washing dishes, and cleaning the house are taken into account [11]. 22. In 2008, women on average were paid 17.5% less than men in the EU [12].
23. Women are over-represented in health care, education and public administration which are generally sectors receiving lower salaries than typical male professions [13]. 24. Within the same sector or company, the jobs done by women tend to be valued and paid less for [13].
25. Female entrepreneurs account for only 33.2 per cent of self-employed women [14]. 26. More men than women openly state that they prefer self–employment: around 50% of men state this, compared to around 40% of women [15].
27. Women account for only 36 % of graduates in science, maths, informatics and engineering [8]. 28. The proportion of female students (55%) and graduates (59%) exceeds that of male students, but is lower among PhD students (48%) and PhD graduates (45%) [8].
29. The fields of science, mathematics and computing and particularly engineering, manufacturing and construction is characterised by higher numbers of male PhD holders with women representing less than 25% [8]. 30. Only 19 % of grade A[16] academic professors in public universities are women [8].
31. The proportion of women among full professors is highest in humanities and in the social sciences (27% and 18.6%) and lowest in engineering and technology (7.2%) [8]. 32. Women represent 39% of researchers in the government sector, 37% of all researchers in higher education and a mere 19% in the business sector [8].
33. Female researchers feature in higher proportions in social sciences, agricultural sciences, medical sciences, and humanities than in engineering and technology, a key research area [8]. 34. On average 32% of scientists and engineers are women in the EU-27 [8].
35. Women account for 59% of university graduates, whereas men account for 82% of full professors [8]. 36. Only 13% of institutions in higher education are headed by women and just 9% of universities are led by a woman [8].
37. On average in the EU-27, only 22% of board members of universities and research institutes are women [8]. 38. In 2004, in primary and secondary schools, over 68% of teachers were women. In contrast to this, in universities and in other tertiary-level education, women only made-up less than 40% of teachers [17].
39. Of a total of 543 Nobel prizes and prizes in Economic Sciences awarded since 1901, only 41 have been awarded to women [8]. 40. On average women have lower pension incomes in the EU [18].
41. In 2008, the risk of poverty among elderly women stood at 22% compared to 16% for elderly men [18]. 42. In 2008, 35% of single parents (mostly single mothers) were exposed to a high poverty risk [18].
43. Women with disabilities and from minority ethnic groups experience higher poverty risks than men, have worse access to employment, education, health and social services [19]. 44. In the majority of EU countries, migrant women in employment lag behind non-migrant women by as much as 30% [20].
45. Almost two thirds of female immigrants are active in low-skilled jobs which contribute to restricted rights and instability as well as creating fewer opportunities for upward mobility [21]. 46. Highly skilled migrant women are on average twice as likely to be employed in low-skilled jobs when compared to EU nationals with the same level of education [21].
47. All over the world, women face a higher risk of poverty than men. 17 % of women in the EU (compared to 15% of men) live below the poverty line [22]. 48. Poverty risk is on the up amongst women in old age than for men over 65 (22% for women to 17% for men) [23].
49. Women only make up 35% of members of the European Parliament, and 33% of the European Commission [24]. 50. In 2010, women accounted for an average of 24% of members of national parliaments in the EU [24].
51. On average, an election featuring 50% of women candidates would result in a parliament with only 39% women members [25]. 52. In decision-making, women currently only occupy 35% of senior positions within government ministries [26].

53. At the very top level positions within government ministries, there are merely 26% of women present [26].

54. Women lead just one in seven regional assemblies in the EU (14%) and account for less than a third of their members (30%) [26].
55. Women with disabilities are under-represented in democratic processes and decision-making overall as well as in recreational activities, culture and sport [19]. 56. Amongst the largest publicly listed companies in the EU Member States, 38% have no women on the boards and only 28% have more than one [25].
57. In 2010, there were only 3% of women presidents in companies and 12% members of the board of directors [27]. 58. Only 20% of women were in the highest decision making bodies of the employee representatives in the largest companies [27].
59. In the private sector across the EU, women account for less than one third (32%) of business leaders [28]. 60. The governors of all central banks across Europe are men and the key decision-making bodies comprise 83% men and just 17% women [25].
61. 20-25 % of all women have experienced physical violence at least once during their adult lives and more than 10% have suffered sexual violence involving the use of force [29]. 62. Violence has serious immediate and long-term implications for health and psychological and social development for women and children [30]. Violence causes physical damage including incapacity, miscarriages, broken limbs, and cuts and bruises [31].
63. Sexual offences bring the risk of HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and forced/unwanted pregnancies [31]. 64. Thousands of women in Europe are killed every year by partners or ex-partners [31].
65. Between 40 and 50% of women in the European Union report some form of sexual harassment in the workplace [32]. 66. 500,000 girls and women in the EU are affected by female genital mutilation or threatened by this practice [33].
67. Many older women face neglect or abuse by carers; they are more likely to be mistreated than older men) [34]. 68. The total annual cost of domestic violence against women in the 27 member states of the EU was estimated to almost as € in 2006 [35].
69. Many women-violence survivors have limited access to support through specialist services or refuges that can meet their needs. Services provided by the state are often linked to legal status, official reporting channels and/or the criminal justice system [31]. 70. Sexual violence still carries among the lowest conviction rates for any crime, and high levels of ‘attrition’ in the course of investigations and prosecutions [36].
71. Only 26% of news subjects are occupied by women in contrast to 74% of men [37]. 72. There are four men for every woman who receive news coverage [38].
73. In Europe, women are central to a news story only 10% of the time [38]. 74. Only 32% of main TV characters are female [38].
75. Women athletes only secure between 2-9% of television airtime devoted to sports [38]. 76. Only 10% of European politicians in the news are women [39].
77. Women make up only 16% of experts and 14% of spokespersons [39]. 78. Women are twice as likely to appear as news subjects in stories on social issues than in stories on politics or government [38].
79. 31% stories on newspapers, 40% stories on radio and 42% stories on TV are reported by women [40]. 80. Women are more than twice as likely as men to be portrayed as victims [38].
81. Women represent 27% of the employees or professionals shown in adverts [38]. 82. Adverts showing boys place them outside of the house 85% of the time. Adverts featuring girls place them more than half of the time in the home [38].
83. In advertisements, women are more than twice as likely to be portrayed (semi-) naked than men [41]. 84. The fashion industry is eroticising increasingly younger girl models, and adopting the visual images of vulnerability common in pornographic media [42].
85. 38% of the female characters in video games are scantily clad, 23% baring breasts or cleavage, 31% exposing thighs, another 31% exposing stomachs or midriffs and 15% baring their behinds [43]. 86. Women are more often valued for their looks, being far more likely to be portrayed at a young age; 79% of women portrayed in media are up to the age of 34 [40].
87. In 2000, there were 9.3% women in top management positions in the telecommunication industry in the EU and European Economic Area and only 3% of women journalists were in decision making positions [44]. 88. 62% of women compared to 68% of men use the internet on average at least once a week [45].
89. A new record for women’s participation in the Olympic Winter Games was set in Vancouver in 2010 where 40% of the athletes taking part were women [46]. 90. Reported discrimination by policewomen in the area of promotion is 14% in Eastern Europe and 26% in western Europe [47].
91. 78% of part-time workers are female against 22 % of men in 2008 [48]. 92. Depression is more common in women then in men (life time prevalence: 9.4%; 12 months prevalence: 2.8%) [12].
93. It is estimated that 6 in 10,000 European women suffer from anorexia and 8.5 in 10,000 from bulimia and this number is rising [49]. 94. Smoking prevalence is lower in women than in men; however, this gap has been closing in resent years due to decreasing numbers of men smoking and increasing numbers of women smoking [11].
95. The use of tranquilisers and sedative substances is more common in school-age girls than boys [11]. 96. Women (especially very young women) are more vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases compared to men and the consequences are more serious for them [50].
97. The average hourly earnings in 24 Member States of the European Union4 are EUR 8,58 for women and EUR 10,43 for men [51]. 98. The gender gap in the armed forces is enormous: the armed forces of all Member States are almost completely dominated by men. In 2009 7.9% women were involved in the armed forces, compared to 92.1% of men[51], [52].
99. In the diplomatic service of the 22 EU Member States, the EU average is 38% of women[51], [52]. 100. The EU average of women ambassadors is 13.5%[51], [52].


[1] Eurostat, Labor Force Survey, 2010. Female in employment in age groups 15-64 as a proportion of total population in the same age group. Male in employment in age groups 15-64 as a proportion of total population in the same age group. The employment rate is calculated by dividing the number of persons aged 15-64 in employment by the total population of the same age group
[2] Eurostat, Labor Force Survey, presented in the Commission Staff Working Document accompanying the European Commission’s Communication ‘Strategy for Equality between Women and Men 2010-2015, (COM (2010) 491, SEC (2010) 1079), Brussels 21.9.2010.
[3] Report on Equality between women and men 2010, European Commission Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Unit G.1. Manuscript completed in December 2009.
[4] The European Network Against Racism ENAR Fact Sheet 42, Gender and Migration 2010
[5] Study on the situation of women with disabilities in light of the UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (VC/2007/317). A Final Report for the DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission.
[6] Smith, M. ‘Analysis Note: Gender equality and recession’, EGGE, 2009.
[7] Commission Staff Working Document accompanying the European Commission’s Communication ‘Strategy for Equality between Women and Men 2010-2015, (COM (2010) 491, SEC (2010) 1079), Brussels 21.9.2010
[8] She Figures 2009. Statistics and Indicators on Gender Equality in Science. European Commission Directorate-General for Research Communication Unit. EUR 23856 EN.
[9] Roadmap: Reconciliation between work, family and private life (2011), EMPL G2, Type of initiative CWP. [10] European Quality of Life Survey 2007, European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions
[11] Data and Information on Women’s Health in the European Union. European Communities, 2009, Faculty of Medicine Carl Gustav Carus, Research Association Public Health Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany
[12] Provisional figure, sourced from Eurostat, 10.02.11. Table reference: Gender pay gap in unadjusted form in % [tsiem040].
[13] Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015. European Commission. Brussels, 21.9.2010, COM(2010)
[14]Eurostat EU-25, referenced in Commission Staff Working Document accompanying the European Commission’s Communication ‘Strategy for Equality between Women and Men 2010-2015, (COM (2010) 491, SEC (2010) 1079), Brussels 21.9.2010.
[15] Flash Eurobarometer on Entrepreneurship 283 (2009).
[16] A academic staff (the highest grade/post at which research is normally conducted
[17] The life of women and men in Europe. A statistical portrait. 2008 edition, Eurostat statistical books.
[18] Bettio, F. and Verashchagina A (2009) Fiscal systems and female employment in Europe, EGGE – European Network of Experts on Employment and Gender Equality issues, Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini.
[19] Study on the situation of women with disabilities in light of the UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (VC/2007/317). A Final Report for the DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission; Bettio, F. and Verashchagina A (2009) Fiscal systems and female employment in Europe, EGGE – European Network of Experts on Employment and Gender Equality issues, Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini
[20] Labor Force Survey, quarterly data on employment rates by sex, age groups and nationality – comparison of employment rates for nationals and citizens of countries outside the EU-27
[21] Study on ‘Migrant women in the European labor force’ commissioned by the European Commission and completed in 2008
[22] Women’s poverty and social exclusion in the European Union at a time of recession . An Invisible Crisis? Oxfam International/European Women’s Lobby, March 2010 A Gender Works paper
[23] European Commission Consultation On Possible New EU Measures In The Area Of Paternity Leave
[24] Data base on women and men in decision-making.
[25] Women in European politics – time for action. European Commission, 2009.
[26] Database: Women and men in decision-making: highlights (Fourth quarter 2010)
[27] Business and finance - Largest quoted companies.
[28] Database: women and men in decision making. Background data: women in businesses.
[29] EWL, Unveiling the hidden data on domestic violence in the EU, 1999; Combating violence against women: Stocktaking study on the measures and actions taken in Council of Europe Member States, 2006
[30] Forty Ninth World Health Assembly Geneva, 20-15 May 2006 WHA49.25
Advisory Committee on equal opportunities for women and men Prevention of violence: a public health priority.
[31] Advisory Committee on equal opportunities for women and men. Opinion on an EU Strategy on Violence Against Women and Girls, 7 December 2010
[32] European Commission: Sexual harassment at the workplace in the European Union (Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1999)
[33] Dirie, Waris, Onze verborgen tranen, Amsterdam, Sirene, 2005. European Parliament resolution of 24 March 2009 on combating female genital mutilation in the EU (2008/2071(INI)).
[34] Penhale, B. (1999) Bruises on the soul: older women, domestic violence and elder abuse. Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect, 11, 1-22. Advisory committee on equal opportunities for women and menA. Opinion on an EU Strategy on Violence Against Women and Girls, 7 December 2010
[35] Psytel, 2006 Daphne Project on the cost of domestic violence in Europe
[36] Recent study funded by the EU DAPHNE programme ‘Different Systems, similar outcomes? Tracking attrition in reported rape cases in eleven countries,’ European Briefing, Kelly, L & Lovett, J, April 2009, CWASU
[37] Global Media Monitoring project 2010. Who makes the news?, 2010
[38] Global Media Monitoring Project 2005, Who makes the news?, 2005
[39] Wierstra, R., Breasts, Butts, Balkenende, Hilversum, Bureau Beeldvorming en Diversiteit, 2003
[40] European Commission Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men. Opinion on “Breaking gender stereotypes in the media” January 2011
[41] Van Hellemont & Van Den Bulk, L’image des femmes et des hommes dans la publicité en Belgique, 2009, p. 16
[42] Media Awareness Network, Media and Girls
[43] Children Now, From Sidekick to Superwoman: TV’s Feminine Mystique, Report on the 1995 conference on Children and the Media, 1995,
[44] Media Awareness Network; International Federation of Journalists, Getting the balance right: gender equality in journalism, 2009
[45] Eurostat, 2010, Factsheet 50.
[46] Women make their way in Vancouver, 13 February 2010
[47] Policing in Central and Eastern Europe: Comparing Firsthand Knowledge with Experience from the West, © 1996 College of Police and Security Studies, Slovenia.
[48] European survey on income and living conditions, EUSILC 2008
[49] European Medical Association, 2009
[50] Access to healthcare and long-term care Equal for women and men? European Commission, 2009
[51] Structure of Earning Survey, 2006
[52] Eurostat 2009