World Facts

12 Countries With The Most Highly Educated Female Workers

In Canada as well as several European countries, a significant portion of female workers have attained post-secondary education.

Access to and attaining education, particularly post-secondary levels, has not always provided an equal playing field for men and women. In fact, only two decades ago, men held the clear majority in the post- secondary graduation rates. Today, however, those numbers are changing. In many countries around the world, women now surpass men as holders of post-secondary diplomas and degrees. This shift in data is important because employability is directly tied to education attainment. With increasing numbers and higher educational levels, women become increasingly employable. The following information looks at several different countries and what percentage of women in the workforce hold a higher level of education.

A Look at Countries With The Highest Educated Female Workforce

Having access to higher education means that women are no longer given the lowest paid jobs and can enjoy more comfortable, less physically demanding professional or office jobs. These types of jobs are important as they allow for more job security and often provide more benefits to the employees than their labor-heavy counterparts. To determine where women hold these more specialized and highly skilled jobs, an analysis of educational levels is necessary. An interesting place to start is the country where having a post-secondary education seems to have provided the highest return on employment opportunity. This country is Canada, where 58% of working women have a higher degree. Such a high percentage of educated individuals is indicative of a high level of professional jobs available both on the market and to women. Canada, however, seems to be the only country where the majority of its female workforce is highly educated. Cyprus and Estonia each report that 50% of it working women have a post-secondary education. After these countries, the numbers begin to lower. In Ireland, slightly less than half of the female workforce are highly educated at 49%. Other European countries report 48%, these are Belgium and Luxembourg. Three additional nations have reported 47% of its female workforce as holding a post-secondary degree, these are, Lithuania, Finland, and Norway. Finally, the numbers reflect only 44% in Sweden, 43% in the United Kingdom, and 42% in Spain. The difference among the reported percentages can tell researchers quite a bit about women’s working conditions. While they do not show how equal (or unequal as the case may be) the workforce has become between the sexes, they do provide a window into available employment opportunities. Where there is a larger ratio of highly educated, employed women, one can assume that the jobs available are in the formal, highly skilled sector.

The Importance of an Educated Female Workforce

Why are these numbers significant? Women’s employment and educational attainment are extremely important and the benefits of women’s economic empowerment are many. In countries where women have increased access to education, economic growth is higher. In fact, a female population with higher educational levels is responsible for around 50% of the economic growth in OECD countries. Achieving post-secondary education and becoming a significant part of the workforce means that women are no longer dependent on men for financial resources and no longer forced to accept vulnerable low-paid positions. As the above data indicates, the countries with the most educated female workforce are located in Europe and North America. Clearly, women and girls’ access to education is lacking in other parts of the world.

12 Countries With The Most Educated Female Workforces

RankCountry % of Female Workers With Tertiary Education
1Canada 58%
2Cyprus 50%
3Estonia 50%
4Ireland 49%
5Belgium 48%
6Luxembourg 48%
7Lithuania 47%
8Finland 47%
9Norway 47%
10Sweden 44%
11United Kingdom 43%
12Spain 42%

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