Women with children in Spain most likely to be unemployed in EU

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The presence of children in the household affects the employment rate of men and women differently and women with children in Spain most likely to unemployed compared to other mothers with children in the EU.

Overall, 72.2 per cent of women and 90.0 per cent of men with children aged 25-54 were employed in the EU in 2020. In that same age category, but for people with no children, women had a higher employment rate (76.8 per cent), while men had a lower employment rate (80.9 per cent).

The highest shares of employed women who have children were recorded by Slovenia (86.2 per cent), Sweden (83.5 per cent), Portugal (83.0 per cent), Lithuania (82.6 per cent), Denmark (82.2 per cent), the Netherlands (80.7 per cent) and Finland (80.3 per cent). The lowest employment rates were reported by Italy (57.3 per cent), Greece (61.3 per cent) and Spain (66.2 per cent) where less than two thirds of women who are mothers were employed.

Men with children were employed the most in Czechia (96.5 per cent), Malta (95.7 per cent), Slovenia (95 per cent), Sweden (93.9 per cent), the Netherlands (93.7 per cent) and Poland (93.5 per cent).

Italy and Greece recorded the largest gender gaps with and without children. The lowest gender gaps for people with children were found in Lithuania, Slovenia and Portugal.

More children are linked to lower employment rate for women, especially for those with low education level

In 2020, the employment rates for women with none or up to two children were similar (around 74 per cent on average), however the more children women had, the lower their employment rate. Women who have three children or more had an average employment rate of 59.1 per cent.

The educational attainment level plays an additional important role in the female employment rate, the higher the number of children, the wider the employment gap between women with low and high level of education. This ranged from 32 percentage points for women having one child to 48.4 percentage for women who have three or more children.

For men the picture is rather different. Men without children were found to have the lowest average employment rate (80.9 per cent), while the highest employment rate was found in men who had two children (92.4 per cent), before dropping to 86.7 per cent for men with three or more children.

Regardless of the number of children, the employment gap between men with a low and a high level of education was not as large as for women, according to EuroStat.


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Written by

Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.

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