Women Rule Tertiary Education in Europe

July 17, 2023 - Around 2.6 million university students were studying in cultural disciplines in 2021, accounting for 14% of all tertiary students in the EU, according to a Eurostat report.

By Creatives Unite Newsroom
July 18, 2023

Italy had the highest proportion of tertiary students studying cultural subjects (20%), followed by Sweden (17%) and Estonia (16%). Humanities and languages attracted the greatest number of students (50%), followed by arts (27%), journalism and information (10%), and architecture and urban planning (9%).

Women were much more prevalent in journalism and information studies (68%), humanities and languages (67%), and arts (61%). Meanwhile, the gender disparity was less noticeable among students studying architecture and town planning, where 55% were female.

Not a new pattern for European men and women

This pattern has persisted for decades. Women accounted for 54% of tertiary enrollment in the EU in 2000 and they made up more than 55% of tertiary students in the EU in 2020. According to an OECD report, girls receive higher marks on average across Europe. This encourages more women to pursue higher education. But while more women are enrolling in colleges, significant gender disparities in fields of study persist. Female students continue to be underrepresented in fields such as engineering, manufacturing, construction, and computers. Since May, the European Year of Skills has aimed to address skills shortages in the European Union and enhance the EU skills policy, with an emphasis on digital and green technology skills.

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