A THIRD-level qualification pays greater dividends in Ireland for a woman than a man.
Not only are there more female graduates in Ireland, but having a degree is worth more to them than to their husbands, brothers or male colleagues.
The higher earnings premium for women with a degree is a feature of about half of the 34 countries surveyed, with Irish women ranking fourth on the list.
The figures are detailed in the latest OECD 'Education At A Glance' report, which compares more than 30 EU and other countries across a wide range of educational indicators.
The report highlights the link between education and lifetime earnings.
On average in Ireland, for every €100 earned by a 25- to 64-year-old whose formal education ended with the Leaving Certificate, a female graduate receives €190, while a male receives €169.
The earnings advantage enjoyed by degree holders in Ireland is higher than the OECD average, where the comparable figures are €164 for a woman and €162 for a man.
The report tracks the ongoing overall rise in educational standards in Ireland, which scores well ahead of the international average on many fronts. About 93pc of teenagers in Ireland go on to sit the Leaving Certificate, up from 74pc in 2000. The OECD average figure is 84pc.
Meanwhile, 46pc of young people in Ireland are now expected to graduate with a degree, up from 30pc in 2000. The OECD average is 38pc.
However, the picture is not as rosy for everyone and many others are being left behind, despite gains in education.
As well as comparatively high unemployment rates for all ages, the proportion of young people in Ireland who were neither employed nor in education or training was well above average for both the EU and the OECD. Although the percentage of Irish 15- to 29-year-olds in this group decreased slightly from 2011 to 2012, it is still far higher than the international average of 15pc.
Tanaiste Joan Burton and Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan said yesterday that initiatives such as the review of apprenticeships would create new opportunities.