Income gap between economically independent men and women unchanged

15/06/2010 15:00

The number of women, who have attained economic independence is growing. In 2000, 39 percent of women had reached at least the social security income level for singles versus 46 percent in 2008. The discrepancy in the average income levels of both genders has remained stable over the period 2000-2008.

Growing number of women economically independent

The proportion of economically independent individuals in the male population varied around 70 percent in the period 2000-2008, but the gap has narrowed due to the growing number of women, who have gained economic independence.

The difference in the degree of economic independence is partly due to the fact that women on average work shorter hours or stop working altogether after the arrival of their first baby, unlike men, who appear to be less prepared to adjust their working patterns. But the situation is gradually changing. In the period 2006–2008, when economic conditions were favourable, the female labour participation rate started to grow. The number of women, who start to work shorter hours after the birth of their first child is also diminishing.

Proportion of economically independent men and women aged 15–65

Proportion of economically independent men and women aged 15–65

Difference in income level between the genders unchanged

As many economically independent women work on a part-time basis, their incomes from labour or from running their own business tends to be lower than the average income of men. The social security benefit for people living alone was 834 euro a month in 2008. Economically independent women’s and men’s incomes are on average 2.4 times and 4 times as high respectively. The income gap between both genders remained intact over the entire period 2000-2008.

Income from labour of economically independent men and women aged 15–65

Income from labour of economically independent men and women aged 15–65

Marion van den Brakel