Women teachers over-represented at early stages of education in the EU

Women teachers over-represented at early stages of education in the EU

Women teachers over-represented at early stages of education in the EU

The FINANCIAL -- In 2013, 8.3 million persons worked as teaching staff (from pre-primary to tertiary level) in the European Union (EU), of which 5.8 million (70%) were women. Women were largely predominant in the early stages of education, representing 95% of all teachers at pre-primary education level and 85% at primary level. In contrast, the majority of teaching staff at tertiary education level were men (59%).

Of the whole teaching staff working in the EU, 820 000 persons (nearly 10% of the total) were under 30 years old and 2.9 million (around 36%) were aged 50 or older. The share of teachers aged 50 or older was highest in secondary schools (39.2%) and at tertiary education level (36.1%).

On the occasion of the World Teachers' Day, celebrated each year on 5 October, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, publishes data on the gender and age structure of the teaching staff in the EU.

Highest shares of women teachers in the Baltic states, lowest in Greece and Spain

In all EU Member States, the teaching staff was in 2013 predominantly female, with shares ranging from more than 80% in Estonia (88.2%), Latvia (83.2%) and Lithuania (81.2%) to less than 65% in Greece (62.9%) and Spain (63.9%). At EU level, 7 persons out of 10 working as teaching staff were women.

Female teachers were largely over-represented in the early education stages. Of all EU pre-primary level teachers, 95.1% were women. Across Member States, this share stood at below 95% only in France (83.0%) the Netherlands (86.6%) and the United Kingdom (90.0%). In ten Member States, the share of female teachers at pre-primary level exceeded 99%: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Romania and Slovakia.

A similar situation can be observed for primary education, although less distinctly. The largest shares of female teachers at this level were registered in Lithuania and Slovenia (both 97.1%), followed by the Czech Republic (96.8%), Italy (95.9%) and Hungary (95.6%). In contrast, Greece (69.9%), Spain (75.9%), Luxembourg (76.0%) and Sweden (77.0%) had the lowest shares. At EU level, 85.2% of primary school teachers were women in 2013.

Men only predominant among tertiary level teaching staff

The situation is more balanced in secondary education, where the share of female teachers stands at 64.0% on average in the EU. Only in tertiary education were men predominant: overall in the EU, women accounted for 41% of the teaching staff. At this level, women were under-represented in every EU Member State, except Latvia (56.3%), Lithuania (55.5%) and Finland (50.7%).

More than 60% of all teaching staff in Italy had reached the age of 50 in 2013

In 2013, the largest proportion of teaching staff aged 50 or above was registered in Italy (61.9%), followed at a distance by Bulgaria (47.7%), Estonia (43.1%), Lithuania (42.1%), Sweden (41.7%), Latvia (41.2%) and Greece (40.1%).

By education level, the largest shares of teaching staff aged 50 or older were to be found in the secondary or tertiary education level in all Member States, except Greece, Malta, Romania and Sweden. More than half of the teaching staff had reached the age of 50 in all education levels in Italy, in both pre-primary and tertiary education in Bulgaria, and in tertiary education in Slovenia.