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Gender employment gap among the highest in Central Europe

Bratislava, Slovakia – Although the gender employment gap has been decreasing in Europe in the last several decades, significant differences between individual EU member states remain.

According to a Eurostat study, based on data from the EU Labor Force Survey, the difference between the employment rates of men and women (aged 20-64) reaches its highest level in Southern European nations and Visegrad Group countries (Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic).

On average throughout the bloc, the employment rate of women (66.5%) was 11.5 percentage points lower than their male counterparts (78%).

Among EU member states, the gender employment gap was lowest in Lithuania (1 pp), Finland (3.5 pp), Sweden (4 pp) and Latvia (4.3 pp). At the opposite end of the scale, the highest gender employment gaps were recorded in Malta (24.1 percentage point difference between men and women employment), Italy (19.8 pp), Greece (19.7 pp) and Romania (17.1 pp).

With a gap of nearly 16 percentage points, the Czech Republic records the fifth largest difference in male and female employment in the EU, even though it has sunk to its lowest level in the past fifteen years. As we reported last year, the Czech Republic also has the second highest gender pay gap (22%) among developed economies, trailing only Estonia in the OECD ranking.

The Czech Republic is followed by Hungary (15.3 pp gap, its highest level in the last decade), Poland (14.6 pp) and Slovakia (12.8 pp), that respectively report the sixth, seventh and eighth largest gender employment gaps in Europe.

While Hungary recorded the highest increase in the past five years (+4.2 pp since 2012), Slovakia witnessed one of the most significant falls (-2.7 pp over the same period).

Male employment rate in the Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) Source: Eurostat
Female employment rate in the Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) Source: Eurostat

In 2018, women accounted for 51% of the EU’s total population (around 262 million people, compared to approximately 251 million men).


Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.

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