This graphic measures unemployment in France from the year 1997 onwards, seen as a percentage of the workforce who are work-ready. The levels of male and female unemployment are marked individually and the total figure is also included.
The graph shows three things. First, over this period female unemployment is always higher, sometimes significantly so, than the male level. Second is that the differences begin to converge as the years go on: whereas in 1997 female unemployment stood at 14.4 per cent, the male unemployment rate was 11 per cent, a 3.4 per cent difference. However by the time that we get to 2009, the gap had been reduced to 0.4 per cent.
Third, over the period identified there is an overall trend towards fuller employment for both sexes. However from 2008 to 2009 the unemployment rate for both sexes increases sharply, with the total unemployment rate rising from 7.4 per cent in 2008 to 9.1 per cent in 2009, a 1.7 per cent increase over the course of the year, signalling the influence of the 2008 financial crisis on unemployment.