Estonia Sets EU Record for Education Gender Gap
Eestlased Eestis 15 Apr 2013  EWR
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ERR News
Women with university degrees outnumber their male counterparts in most European countries, but the difference is more pronounced in Estonia, statistics show.

Though figures show Estonia is ahead of the EU curve when it comes to the portion of its 30 to 34-year-olds holding a college degree, Eurostat has found that, among all member states, it has the widest gap between men and women who meet those criteria.

A report from the EU statistics agency released last week, based on numbers from 2012, found that 50.4 percent of Estonian women in that age group had completed tertiary education, contrasted with just 28.1 percent of men. The respective averages among the 27-member bloc were 31.6 percent and 40 percent.

Latvia and Slovenia had the next highest gender gaps for the age group.

When gender was taken out of the equation, the average portion of those 30 to 34 having completed higher education in the EU27 was 35.8 percent - a number Estonia surpasses with its 39.1 percent.

Ireland had the highest portion at 51.1 percent, followed closely by Cyprus (49.9 percent), Luxembourg (49.6 percent) and Lithuania (48.7 percent). Italy came out at the bottom of the list at 21.7 percent, with Romania (21.8 percent) and Malta (22.4 percent) doing only slightly better.

The same Eurostat report found that 10.5 percent of Estonians aged 18-24 were "early leavers from education or training," meaning that they had no higher than basic school education and were not engaged in further study.

The figure comes in slightly better than the EU average of 12.5 percent and marks an improvement over the country's results from 2005 (13.4 percent) and 2010 (11.6 percent).

Again, however, a significant gender gap was evident in Estonia - for males the figure was 14 percent and for females, 7.1 percent.

The 2011 Population and Housing Census found that 34 percent of Estonian residents over the age of 20 had a higher education degree, an increase of 8 percent over the prior decade.
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