In Europe, 60 per cent of university students are women yet fewer women go to work than men. Only a tenth of board members and a mere 24 per cent of parliamentarians are women. The pay gap between the sexes is still 18 per cent. Europe is squandering the intelligence of women – yet research shows that if as many women worked as men, the EU’s wealth could climb by 27 per cent.

Birgitta Ohlsson, Sweden’s Minister for EU Affairs, thinks Europe cannot afford to have the world’s best-educated housewives.

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