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News article20 June 2017

Are EU exports gender-blind? European Commission's analysis on women participation in EU exporting activities

image illustrating the analysis of trade sector employment's gender bias
© -- freshidea

European Commission services in charge of Trade policy together with the Joint Research Centre have just published an analysis of female jobs associated to EU exports. The note reveals that while exports provide important employment opportunities for women across the EU (amounting to a total of almost 12 million jobs in 2011) a gender gap to the disadvantage of women persists.

A gender gap that persists in the EU

In 2011 only 38% of the jobs supported by exports to the rest of the world were taken up by women. Not only was this far from gender parity it was also below the share of women in total employment (46% in 2011). Female employment tends to concentrate in the less export-oriented sectors, notably in services such as health and social work, education and other community, social and personal services. This could explain the apparent gender gap to tap into employment opportunities. The differences across Member State's reflect also differences in terms of female participation in the labour market and sector specialisation.

Men take 64% of high skilled jobs supported by exports

In addition there is also evidence that women do not yet have full equal access to the best jobs opportunities that exports offer. Indeed, only 22% of the female exports-supported employment were high-skilled (up from 13% in 1995). For men high-skilled jobs represented 25% of exports-supported jobs in 2011.

JRC's support to Trade policy

The jobs gender analysis, co-authored by the JRC and DG Trade, became June's edition of Dg Trade Chief Economist Note. It makes part of the ongoing collaboration between these European Commission services. The JRC provides scientific policy support to DG Trade by performing Input-Output analysis oriented to quantify the numbers of jobs and value added associated to the EU Exports to the world.

International Forum on Women and Trade

This new release fed the discussions of the International Forum on Women and Trade, co-hosted today by Commissioner Malmström in Brussels. Policymakers, the business community and civil society organisations gathered together to join forces and make trade a lever for women’s economic empowerment.

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DG Trade Chief Economist note: Are EU exports gender-blind?

International Forum on Women and Trade


Publication date
20 June 2017