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More women complete high-level education than men

Nearly half the women in the EU in the age group 25-34 have completed tertiary (high level) education in 2021. In contrast, just around 36% of men have completed this level of education provided by universities and other higher education institutions, according to the data from Eurostat.

In February 2021, the EU agreed on a target to achieve 45% by 2030. While women have already achieved this target in 2019, men have not.

Two decades ago, the gap between men and women was around 5.7 percentage points (pp). Now, this gap has doubled to 11 pp, according to an analysis by Explained based on Eurostat’s data.

Line chart showing the percentage of men and women that completed high-level education in the EU from 2001 to 2021.

In 2001, the share of men completing tertiary education was higher than women in Germany, Luxembourg and Czechia. Currently, women lead in all European countries.

Charts showing the gap between men and women that have completed tertiary education by country. Each country chart is laid out in a position that represent the position of the country on a map.

Completing tertiary education is “becoming more important due to the increased demand for highly skilled individuals in the labour market within the European Union. It plays an essential role in society by fostering innovation, increasing economic development and growth, and improving more generally the well-being of citizens”, according to Eurostat.

Method and data

The data can be found here.

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