Young Irish women are best educated in European Union
Young Irish women are the best educated in Europe. New figures reveal that Ireland has the highest proportion with college degrees among all Europeans aged in their early 30s.
More than 50pc of all Irish people of that age have a third-level qualification, the highest in Europe.
But women here are increasingly juggling work, education and family demands, the figures from Eurostat reveal.
Irish women come out on top in the Eurostat survey which showed 57.9pc of Irish women aged 30 to 34 have a third-level education, compared with the EU average of 39.9pc.
And 44pc of Irish men of the same age have a third-level education, compared with the EU average for men of 31.5pc. The figures will give some encouragement to those wishing to claim Ireland, whatever about its saints, is an island of scholars.
The survey, released to mark International Women's Day, showed that Irish women and French women share the title of being the most fertile women in Europe, having an average of 2.01 children each.
The EU average is 1.58 children with the lowest figure in Portugal at 1.28 and Poland 1.30.
And as well as the high fertility rate here, Ireland had a female employment rate close to the EU average. Other key findings included:
* In Ireland, almost 80pc of health and welfare graduates are female, 76pc of graduates in the education and training field are female, and only 16.9pc of females chose engineering as their area of study.
* 8.2pc of young Irish women (aged 18 to 24) are early school leavers, compared with 11.2pc of Irish men. A total of 20.8pc of Spanish women leave school early, while only 3.2pc of Slovenian women do so.
* 55.1pc of Irish women are in employment (EU average 58.5pc), compared with 62.7pc of Irish men (EU average 69.6pc).
* 34.9pc of Irish women are in part-time employment, compared with 13.3pc of Irish men. Both of these are above the EU average with 32pc of women and 8pc of men in part-time employment in the 28 EU countries.
The study showed that females are far better at remaining in full-time education than men.
A total of 10.9pc of females in the EU leave education and training early compared with 14.4pc of males.
In the EU overall, a higher proportion of young women than men have a college degree.
The largest differences in the rates between women and men with third-level qualifications were observed in Estonia (50.4pc for women and 28.1pc for men), Latvia (48.1pc and 26.2pc), Slovenia (49.6pc and 29.5pc) and Denmark (52.6pc and 33.7pc).
However, while almost 80pc of EU graduates in their early 30s in the field of education are women, just 27pc of graduates in engineering are women.
Four out of 10 science and maths graduates are women.
Women graduates dominate certain fields.
In Romania, 95.1pc of education and training graduates are women. In Latvia, 93.7pc of graduates in health and welfare are women.