Female labour force participation in Europe

Female labour force participation is much lower than that men’s in many countries. This fact is to some extent rooted in culture and social norms but it is also reflects some economic incentives. Over the past several decades women participation in labour force has increased strongly in most European countries.

This process started earlier in some countries e.g. Nordic and more recently there has been greater increase in countries that originally had a low female participation rates. So today women’s force participation is significantly higher than it was in the 1970´s, especially among women with children, more women work full time and year round than in past decades. Furthermore, women have increasingly attained higher levels of education. Proportion of women aged 25-64 who are in the labour force with a college degree roughly tripled from 1970 to 2009.

From the European Union’s countries, the highest women participation in labour force have a Danish women (73 %), next country with a little lower rate is Netherlands (71,5 %). Then Swedish and Finnish women immediately follow their Dutch counterparts. InHungary,Greece,ItalyandMaltain particular, the female labour participation rate is below 50 %. The European Union’s average is about 57 %.

Three quarters of Dutch women work on a part-time basis, making them number one inEuropein this respect. German female part-timers are in second place with 47 %.






4 thoughts on “Female labour force participation in Europe

  1. I think it has something to do with the emancipation to, woman are no longer tied down to their counters. And there has been a big shift in the domestic rolls. But in muslim countries there is still a low female labour participation rate. It is like time stood still there..

  2. I read that women are providing at least forty percent of the workforce in the world and on average work more than men. The percentages in EU is higher, however, we must give importance to this phenomenon. To gender inequalities in women labour force also contribute to the stereotypes, cultural practices and development of the EU country.

  3. As you said in your article, female labour participation is low compared to men. I am very surprised that this rate is only 57% in Europe. I think that even with the modernization and globalization, some Europe countries are still influenced by their culture and people mentality. The other problem for me is as you said the fact that women are more available for part time jobs because they have to take care of their children. For me the solution is that each European States should invest in more day-care centers. Its very alarming that 47% of German female are employed for part-time jobs. Moreover, women are also submitted to a gender gap in salary plus less valued jobs.

    Nevertheless, we can noticed some good figures regarding Female Employment in Europe. More and more women are well educated and are motivated to reach qualified positions in companies. As a woman, I think its necessary to reach a certain level of equality between gender in the Labour Market.

  4. For me it is not very surprisingly that the female labour force participation in North European countries are higher than, for example, in Germany. For instance in Sweden it is very easy to combine work and family because the government provides tax-financed daycare for children and so on. In Germany it is a kind of hard having a family and making career at the same time. Daycare facilities for children are often very expensive and therefore not affordable for a lot of people. I think this is a big problem in Germany. It is already hard enough for women in Germany to enter the labour market. Germany definitly needs to improve the support of women who wants to work and to have kids. There are a lot of women in Germany who wants to work longer and would like to make career but they often do not get a chance. Most employers don’t even consider women for jobs, even if they education is better than from men. Which I think is very sad.


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