Europe offers women a raw deal at work

2006

Women across Europe earn 15 per cent less than men, work longer hours and are more likely to be unemployed, but British women are better off than most, according to European research.

The Eurostat statistics were published by the European Commission to mark International Women's Day yesterday.

The 25 states of the EU reported a 9.6 unemployment rate for women in January, against 7.6 per cent for men.

This ranged from 3.8 per cent in Ireland to 19.1 per cent in Poland.

But there is some good news for UK women. Only in Britain, Estonia, Ireland, Latvia and Sweden were the same or a lower proportion of women unemployed than men, said Eurostat.

Almost a third of women were now managers, with the highest proportion found in the former Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

The poorest performers were Cyprus, Malta and - surprisingly - Denmark.

Europe's gender pay gap ranged from 5 per cent in Malta, Portugal and Belgium to 25 per cent in Cyprus, Estonia and Slovakia, it found.

Around a third of women in Europe were working in part-time jobs, compared with 7 per cent of men.

The lowest proportion of part-timers were in Slovakia and the highest – 75 per cent – in the Netherlands.

When it came to hours, women in Italy, Slovenia, Estonuia, Lithuania, Spain and Hungary generally worked for an hour longer than their male counterparts, said Eurostat.

Again, only in the UK and Sweden were the hours worked almost equal between the genders.

Women worked the longest hours in Lithuania and Slovenia (eight hours) and the least in Germany and Belgium (six and a half hours), with women spending more time than men on domestic work.

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