Children in Lithuania still tend to choose learning subjects by traditional gender roles, which determines later disproportionate distribution of men and women on the labor market, shows the latest research by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) presented in Vilnius on Thursday.
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Experts say the tendencies cause major economic losses, suggesting that stereotypes should be broken for young children about male and female professions, thus bridging the gap in salaries of men and women.

According to the survey, which should be finalized and presented in detail at the end of this year, men dominate study fields such as computing (87.5 pct) and engineering (83.1 pct) in Lithuania, while women hold the majority of degrees in social services (81.6 pct) and health care (74.7 pct). The trend is similar in other EU countries.

The experts stated that the gender-related challenges in the education system were an obstacle for economic growth and better career opportunities, especially for women. Out of the 20 largest occupations in the EU, only five show a gender balance (40/60 ratio) between women and men.

EIGE head Virginija Langbakk says the problem could be solved by parents encouraging children to choose atypical fields, i.e., push girls into science, technology and engineering, mathematics, and boys into education or social well-being.

"Class in school should be the environment that challenges and breaks gender stereotypes. Unfortunately, things work out in the opposite way – the school upholds the traditional understanding about what girls and boys can and should do, thus limiting their potential," said Langbakk.

The survey Gender Segregation in Education and Employment was conducted by EIGE experts, using official statistical sources of EU member-states. The materials will be forwarded to EU's presidency in Estonia, which should draft the final conclusions by the end of 2017.

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