Friday, 9 April 2010

Women in Austria

Yesterday was international women's day - Internationaler Frauentag - and Statistik Austria published a press release about data that shows some interesting differences between men and women particularly in respect of changes in the educational achievement of women over the last few decades.

Bei den Maturaabschlüssen haben die 18- bis 19-jährigen Frauen beispielsweise ihre männlichen Schulkollegen bereits Mitte der 1980er Jahre überholt, 2007/08 wurden 57% der Maturaabschlüsse von Frauen abgelegt. An den Universitäten zeigt sich ein ähnliches Bild: 2007/2008 wurden 56% der Studienabschlüsse von Frauen erworben. Bei den Doktoraten sind Männer allerdings noch in der Überzahl - rund 58% der Doktoratsabschlüsse entfielen auf Männer.
Die Matura is the Austrian and Swiss equivalent of das Abitur. It has much the same meaning as the English "matriculation" - qualifying for university entrance. I wonder what lies behind the lower proportion gaining doctorates. Is there some form of discrimination operating? There are certainly some gender specific differentiation when it comes to professions and also how far up the career ladder women advance. The article also has something to say about "gender pay gap".

There is some useful material here if you want to practise vocabulary about increase and decrease and comparison. Or perhaps you might want to express some opinions about whether you feel women are still disadvantaged in society or about what might be done to reduce the risk of poverty for Alleinerziehende Frauen

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