Women in Ireland: Better educated, living longer but paid less

Posted on March 07, 2014 by Micheál Collins

Saturday March 8th marks International Women’s Day, an opportune time to reflect on the relative socio-economic position of women in our society.

While there are a myriad of facts, figures and data that allow us to explore this topic I am going to focus on three ‘gender gaps’ in this blog which uses data for the Republic of Ireland.

First, women are better educated than men (the gender-education gap). The CSO’s latest Measuring Ireland’s Progress report (launched in January 2014) reports that 46.9% of the population aged 25-34 years had third level education – the 4th highest level in the EU where the average is 34.58%. More than half of Irish women in that age group (53%) had a third level qualification versus 40.4% of men.

Second, women live longer than men (the gender age-gap). The latest estimates from Eurostat reports average male life expectancy in Ireland of 78.6 years while average female life expectancy is 4.4 years higher at 83 years.

Finally, women are paid less than men (the gender-pay gap). The latest estimates for Ireland (2011) suggest that the average gross hourly earnings of females are 14.4% lower than that of males. While the gender pay gap is small for women under 35 years (around 5%) is ranges from between 14% and 21% for those aged over 35yrs; a phenomenon that reflects the cost of motherhood and the sustained presence of glass ceilings and career impediments. In the public sector Eurostat estimate the gender-pay gap to be 11% while it is 20% in the private sector.

Happy International Women’s Day.


The data cited above can be accessed here:


Dr Micheál Collins is Senior Research Officer at the Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI). 

Posted in: GenderInequalityWages

Digital Revolutionaries