Almost 60% of Irish women aged 30 to 34 have attained a third-level education compared with 44% of Irish men of the same age.

Figures released today by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, show 57.9% of Irish women have a qualification beyond secondary school.

More men (11.2%) in Ireland left education and training early than women (8.2%).

However, only 16.9% of engineering graduates in Ireland were women. 

Almost 80% of those qualified in health and welfare were women and women made up 76.2% of those who attained a qualification in education and training.

The data shows that while more Irish women have a third-level qualification than their male counterparts, they still lag behind men in relation to pay - with women being paid on average 14.4% less.

Ireland also has one of the highest fertility rates in the EU with data for 2012 showing Irish women have 2.01 children, equalled only by France.

The lowest fertility rates were in Portugal (1.30), Poland (1.30) and Spain (1.32).

More than half of Irish women (55.1%) are in employment, 34.9% in part-time work, compared to 62.7% of  Irish men (13.3% working part-time).

The figures were released today to mark International Women's Day.