In the EU, having children in the household negatively affects the employment rate of women while it positively affects the employment rate of men, whatever the educational attainment level of the parents.
This is one of the topics that will be discussed during the Eurostat gender statistics webinar being held on Monday 7th March, on the occasion of International Women’s Day. This article is part of a series of articles published in the run-up to the international women’s day.
In 2020, 77 % of women aged 25-54 without children were employed in the EU. On the other hand, women of this age with children had a lower employment rate (72 %; -5 percentage points). Children in the household had an opposite effect on the employment rate of men in this age group: men without children had a lower employment rate (81 %) than men with children (91 %; +9 pp).
Moreover, almost one in four women with children aged 25-54 (24 %) had a part-time job in 2020 while this share reached 16% among women without children (- 8 pp). Once again, this had the opposite effect for men: men with children had a lower part-time employment rate (5 %) than men without children (7 %; +2 pp).
The higher the level of education, the smaller the employment gap between people with and without children
In 2020, the difference in the employment rate of women with or without children was smaller for women with higher levels of education. Men experienced similar effects.
Women with a low level of education showed the largest difference when comparing those with (45 %) and without children (53 %; +8 pp). For women with a medium level of education, the gap between the employment rates narrowed slightly (71 % for women with children and 77 % for women without; +6 pp), while for women with a high level of education, the rates were even closer (84 % and 86 %; +2 pp). However, part-time jobs were much less common for women without children, among those with a high level of education.
Men with a low level of education also showed the largest difference when comparing those with (79 %) and without children (67 %; -12 pp). For men with a medium level of education, the gap between the employment rates narrowed slightly (92 % for men with children and 83 % for men without; -9 pp). The gap narrowed further for men with a high level of education (96 % and 87 %; -8 pp). For each level of education, the employment gap between those having and not having children was consequently wider for men than women.
For more information:
- Educational attainment levels are classified according to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED): low level of education refers to ISCED levels 0-2 (less than primary, primary and lower secondary education), medium to ISCD levels 3 and 4 (upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education) and high to ISCED levels 5-8 (tertiary education). The level of educational attainment means the highest level of education successfully completed.
- Eurostat gender statistics webinar being held on Monday 7th March
- Eurostat Statistics Explained article on employment characteristics of households
- Eurostat overview of statistics on employment and unemployment
- Eurostat database of statistics on employment and unemployment