The gender employment gap - challenges and solutions

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Over the last two decades, women’s labour market performance has substantially improved. The female labour force participation rate in Europe, which was around 55% in the early 1990s, has increased considerably since then, reaching more than 66% in 2008. Despite recent advances, the gender employment gap (defined as the difference between male and female employment rates) across the EU-28 was 10.7 p.p. in 2013. Against this background, fostering higher participation of women in the labour market is one of the prerequisites for a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe.

In the context of the call of the Social Investment Package of the importance of closing the gender gaps in the labour market, Eurofound has carried out a research project entitled 'The gender employment gap: challenges and solutions'.

This project aims to:

  • provide an overview of women’s labour market participation in Europe and analyse the determinants and institutional set-ups affecting women’s decision to work, by using multilevel econometric modelling
  • estimate the economic loss due to gender gap in employment participation in Europe, in terms of foregone earnings and welfare transfer, and
  • investigate the future effect of reducing gender gap in labour market participation on economic growth of selected Member States – in this regard, female labour market participation projections are obtained using a dynamic microsimulation model
  • provide an overview of the recent most successful approaches that facilitate female labour market participation in selected Member States (namely Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, UK) – on-desk research and interviews are being carried out for 34 policy measures covering the six countries.

Download the report and the executive summary (published October 2016).

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