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Gender differences: Women live longer but remain under-represented in top roles in business and politics


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Women are under-represented in the Dáil and when it comes to filling the most senior roles in companies.

This is despite the fact younger women are more likely than men to have a third-level education, although the gap between the sexes is narrowing on that front.

A new report from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has laid bare some key differences between how women and men are faring by looking at a number of key areas including health, education and gender equality.

Ireland has the 10th-lowest representation of women in parliament in Europe, and they are under-represented in the Dáil, according to the 'Women and Men in Ireland 2019' report.

Statistician Emma Hogan said: "Between 2014 and 2018, the percentage of female representation in the Dáil increased from 16pc to 22pc. The 22pc representation did not change in the 2020 election."

She said more women aged 25 to 35 had a third-level education, but the gap had reduced from 15.1 percentage points in 2008 to 7.2 percentage points in 2018.

However, the report revealed that Irish men work longer hours than women in paid employment.

The average hours worked per week is 40.1 hours for men and 32.3 hours for women.

More than half of men (53pc) work for 40 hours or more each week, compared to nearly 25pc of women.

Married men worked longer hours in paid employment than married women in 2018.

More than half of married men (56pc) worked for 40 or more hours per week compared with nearly 22pc of married women.

The report also showed that men had a higher employment rate than women.

The employment rate for men in Ireland last year of nearly 75pc was slightly higher than the average rate in the EU, while the female rate in Ireland of nearly 64pc was slightly below the EU figure.

However, the figures show that when it comes to having a seat at the top table there are still some major differences between the sexes.

Just over one in four (26pc) of all senior roles in large enterprises was held by a woman last year.

Women occupied only 11pc of chief executive officer (CEO) positions and 28pc of senior executive roles.

Meanwhile, women held just one in five positions on boards of directors, at nearly 20pc.

The report, the 13th edition of it to be published, confirmed women are giving birth later, and living longer.

The average age women in Ireland gave birth to their first child has risen to 31.1 years in 2018.

Life expectancy at birth in 2017 for Irish men was 80 years, while women born that year could expect to live for 84 years.

However, men are more likely than women to be involved in a road accident, the report added.

For instance, only one in four, or nearly 26pc, of the 162 people who died on Irish roads in 2017 were women.

The report also revealed that just over one in 10 of the prison population are women. Only 11pc of sentenced committals to prison in 2018 were women.

Less than 1pc of sexual offences were committed by women.

Meanwhile, when it came to the risk of poverty, women were found to be at a slightly higher risk than men, and they were are also more likely to be working as unpaid carers.

Irish Independent