Women in Northern Ireland 2020

Date published: 04 June 2020

The Women in Northern Ireland 2020 publication considers the different labour market experiences of women and men in Northern Ireland. A consistent feature of the labour market is higher employment and unemployment rates for males and higher inactivity rates for females. These features are explored using estimates from the Labour Force Survey quarterly and household datasets.

Key Points:

  • The employment rate for males in NI has been consistently higher than for females over the past ten years. Although the number of employees in NI was evenly split between males and females in 2019, the number of self-employed males was more than double the number of self-employed females.
  • Males were more likely to work full-time than females. Furthermore, approximately 60% of employed women with dependent children worked full-time, compared to 95% of employed males with dependent children.
  • The unemployment rate for males in NI has been consistently higher than for females over the past ten years, however, the gap is narrowing between the two. In 2019, 44% of the unemployed were female and 56% were male.
  • Over the past 10 years there have been consistently more economically inactive women than men. In 2019, just under a third of working age women were economically inactive, compared to just under a quarter of men.
  • The most common reason for inactivity among women was family and home commitments, while the most common reason for men was sickness or disability. The difference in inactivity rates between men and women can be entirely accounted for by the number inactive due to looking after family/home.
  • 76% of women with dependent children were economically active, compared with 92% of men with dependent children.
  • Economic activity rates were lowest for women with a youngest dependent child of pre-school age.

The full report can be found at Labour Market Survey - Women in Northern Ireland 2020

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