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The economic independence of women is crucial to achieving equality between women and men. Women’s employment rate (62.1%) is nowhere close to the EU target of 75%, and work patterns continue to reflect traditional gender roles: women are four times more likely than men to work part-time; the average hourly pay-gap in the EU stands at 16.4%; the employment rate for women falls by 12.1 percentage points when they have children under 12, while it rises by 8.7 points for men. Social protection systems continue to be based on career models which rarely reflect women’s working life patterns.

 

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