Women in Northern Ireland 2020/2021

Date published: 08 March 2022

The latest Women in NI statistical publication was released today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency (NISRA). The Women in NI release coincides with International Women’s Day 2022, which is a global day celebrating the achievements of women and the theme for 2022 is ‘breaking the bias’.

The publication contains estimates from the Labour Force Survey, relating to the period July 2020 to June 2021, alongside other applicable data sources.

Key Points:

  • The employment rate for females in NI has been consistently lower than for males over the past ten years.  The difference is driven by lower self-employment rates for women compared to men. The number of self-employed males in 2021 was more than two and a half times the number of self-employed females.
  • Females were less likely to work full-time than males.  Furthermore, approximately 60% of employed women with dependent children worked full-time, compared to 94% of employed males with dependent children.
  • Around 3 in 5 female employees were in flexible work compared to 2 in 5 males. A lower proportion of females than males received earnings above the Real Living Wage (by 5 percentage points) and females also reported lower levels of opportunities for career progression (by 9pps).
  • The largest gender pay gap across all age groups occurred in the 50 to 59 age group, where men earned almost £2.50 more per hour than women (£15.33 compared to £12.87).
  • Although the female economic inactivity rate has been declining in recent years in 2021, just under a third of working age women were economically inactive, compared to just under a quarter of men. Economic inactivity rates for females have been consistently higher than males.
  • The most common reason for inactivity among women (29%) and men (36%) in 2021 was long term sickness. For women the proportion looking after family and home in 2021 was almost identical at 28%, which was the least common reason for inactivity (6%) amongst men. The second most common reason for men was being a student, at 34%. 
  • Women consistently have lower economic activity than men regardless of the age of the youngest dependent child, but rates were lowest for women with a youngest dependent child of pre-school age.

The full report and tables are available on the Women in Northern Ireland 2020/2021 page.

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