February 1, 2012

EOIN BURKE-KENNEDY

MEN IN Ireland are four times more likely to die by suicide than women – and they account for three times as many road deaths.

The Central Statistics Office’s Women and Men in Ireland 2011 study also showed that emigration rates for women were now on a par with men for the first time in the recession.

The report, which looked at differences between men and women across a range of categories from health and education to employment and income, showed 386 men took their own lives in 2010 compared to 100 women.

While death rates for men were higher in all age categories, they were most pronounced in the 15-24 age group, where the rate was four times that of women, primarily because of higher suicide and road incident rates.

More than three-quarters of the 238 people killed in road incidents in 2009, the latest year covered by the report, were men.

The study found women were more likely to be hospitalised than men, with 343 hospital discharges per 1,000 women compared with 305 discharges per 1,000 men recorded in 2010. There were only marginal differences between the sexes in terms of the two biggest causes of death in the country – circulatory disease and cancer.

When it came to mental health, however, the study showed women were more likely to be admitted to psychiatric hospitals for depression, while men were more likely to be treated for schizophrenia and alcoholic disorders.

Despite suggestions that Ireland is moving away from traditional parenting arrangements, more than 500,000 women still looked after home and family last year compared to only 9,600 men.

The report also showed women in Ireland had a higher fertility rate than women from any other European Union country.

For the first time in the recession, roughly the same number of men and women emigrated from Ireland last year, 38,700 and 37,800 respectively.

At the start of the downturn, men emigrated in much greater numbers, principally because of the rapid contraction in construction, a traditionally male sector.

The recent upsurge in women leaving can also partly be attributed to the public sector recruitment embargo, which has made it difficult for nursing and teaching graduates to find jobs.

The report showed the unemployment rate for men last year stood at 17.4 per cent compared to 10.4 per cent for women.

It also revealed women’s average income in 2009 was €25,103 – 73 per cent of men’s average take-home pay of €34,317.

After adjusting for the longer hours worked by men, however, women’s hourly earnings were about 94 per cent of men’s.

The study showed men were significantly more likely to be in the labour force, with just under 70 per cent over 15 either at work or unemployed compared to just over half of women.

On education, the study indicated women were more likely to have a third-level qualification, with over half (53 per cent) aged 25-34 having one compared to 39 per cent of men.

There were 10,865 people committed to prison in Ireland in 2009, of whom 10.7 per cent were women. The study showed 13 per cent convicted of a crime in 2008 were female.

Men outnumbered women in all national and regional decision-making structures in 2011.

Employers urged to recognise signs as suicide awareness guide launched: page 6

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