Sunday 20 October 2019

Workforce gender gap due to higher number of stay-at-home mums

Stock Image: PA
Stock Image: PA

Anne-Marie Walsh

Women are far more likely to take on the role of stay-at-home parent than men, new figures suggest.

The latest official data reveals a huge gap between the proportion of women and men with children who are part of the country's workforce.

A total of 88pc of men who are part of a couple with children are in the labour force, compared with just 68pc of women.

But the gap between the participation rates of men and women in the workforce who do not have children is much narrower.

Participation rates for all men and women aged 15 and over were 68pc and 56pc respectively in June this year.

Being part of the labour force means a person is employed, unemployed or looking for work.

"The gender differential in the participation rates of men and women in the workforce is a glaring statistic in this Central Statistics Office report," said chief executive of Taxback.com Joanna Murphy.

"Not only are there more men in the workforce overall, but when it comes to people with children, the gap widens significantly."

She said the figures throw light on the fact that although household roles may be changing, the pace of change is slow. "Women still very much assume the stay-at-home parent and home-maker role," she said.

Ms Murphy added that this had huge implications, and women were losing out when it came to pay and pensions.

"The gender pay gap is very much influenced by the fact that women often leave the workforce for extended periods of time while on maternity leave or to raise a family, and if they do return to work, they often find it difficult if not impossible to make up for that lost time when it comes to pay grades," she said.

The data also shows that around one in 10 people - 9.6pc - under 60 are living in jobless households, a slight fall from 10.2pc last year.

Dublin had the lowest portion living in jobless households, at 7pc, while the midlands has the highest portion at 15pc.

Meanwhile, almost half of prisoners reoffend within three years of their release, according to separate figures.

A total of 45.8pc of those released during 2012 were convicted of another crime.

However, the rate of reoffending, or recidivism, has fallen. It was 48.9pc in 2011.

The rate of reoffending by men, at almost 48pc, is higher than that by women, at 36pc. Ex-prisoners who are under 21 are three times more likely to reoffend than those over 50.

Justice and Equality Minister Charlie Flanagan welcomed the overall downward trend in recidivism rates.

Irish Independent

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