Significant regional and provincial differences in EU gender employment gap

In 2019, the EU set a target of halving the gender employment gap by 2030, aiming for a 5.8 percentage point difference between men and women in employment. But the latest figures from Eurostat show there is still a long way to go, the Brussels Times reports on Monday.

While the gender employment gap - defined as the difference between the employment rates of men and women aged 20-64 - has narrowed slightly in the EU over the past decade, from 12.2 percentage points in 2012 to 10.7 percentage points in 2022, it remains well above the level the EU hopes to achieve by 2030.

Only one in five regions in the EU has reached this target, including some provinces in Belgium: West Flanders (5.7 pp), Walloon Brabant (5.8 pp) and Namur (3.8 pp).

Several reasons contribute to the gap, such as women's unpaid caring responsibilities, discrimination in hiring and a lack of women in managerial positions, Eurostat said. In addition, factors such as inadequate childcare, tax disincentives and occupational segregation perpetuate the issue.

In Belgium, the gap has decreased from 11 pp in 2012 to 7.6 pp in 2022. Flanders and Wallonia have made the most progress, with their gaps decreasing from 10.5 and 11.4 pp a decade ago to 7 and 7.7 pp, respectively. In Brussels, although the gap fell from 12 points in 2012 to 10.2 last year, it is still almost double the EU target.

Other regions that have reduced the gap to meet the EU target are mainly concentrated in France, Germany and Finland, where all five regions met the target.

The highest gender employment gaps were recorded in central Greece and southern Italy, at more than 30 percentage points.



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