Thursday

16th Sep 2021

Gender equality best in Sweden, worst in Greece

  • Jourova says she will propose new measures later this year to address gender pay gaps (Photo: European Commission)

Sweden and Denmark top the EU in terms of gender equality in society, while Greece and Hungary rank at the bottom.

A report out on Wednesday (11 October) from the European Institute for Gender Equality, an EU agency in Lithuania, noted an overall "snail's pace" in progress towards gender equality in the EU when comparing 2015 to 2005.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"We are still a long way off from reaching a gender-equal society and all countries in the European Union have room to improve," said the institute's director, Virginija Langbakk, in a statement.

The report ranked EU states on an index score from one to 100 in terms of work, money, knowledge, time, power and health between 2005 and 2015. It also probed issues of violence.

The EU average was 66.2, only a slight improvement of 4.2 points when compared to 2005.

With 100 seen as full equality, Sweden posted the best index score at 82.6, followed by Denmark (76.8). Finland and the Netherlands placed a close third best.

Greece ranked at the bottom with 50, followed by Hungary (50.8) and Slovakia (52.4).

Scores had increased in most other member states, except for the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Finland, Slovakia, and the UK where no progress had been made in 10 years.

The report also noted that Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Spain, and the UK were each ranked two positions lower in the index in 2015 than in 2005.

The biggest improvements were seen in Italy (+ 12.9), followed by Cyprus (+ 9.2). Ireland and Slovenia had also improved their scores by 7.6 points each.

Many of those increases were due, in part, to a better balance in decision-making.

But Langbakk said in some areas, gaps between the two genders is now worse than 10 years ago.

The report noted that 12 EU states have slipped backward on housework, for instance. Overall, some 79 percent of women engaged in daily cooking and housework, compared to only one third of men.

Time is also an issue given that by 2015 only nine EU states (Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Estonia, France, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden) offered child care for at least 90 percent of children aged between 3 years old and the mandatory school age.

The EU's commissioner for justice, Vera Jourova, noted she intends to propose further measures later this year to address the gender pay gap.

"Equality is not about making women more like men, but about creating an environment where both sexes can have equal choices," she said.

Earlier this month, she pointed out in a tweet how a marathon in Brussels awarded €1,000 to men who placed first, while giving women only €300.

Stakeholder

We must renew Europe for all Europeans

A call for socialist values and rights at a time when Europe is facing a number of existential threats, says a group of progressive European affairs ministers.

Opinion

Why EU diplomacy needs more women

Greek woman who recently became EU foreign service's gender equality officer could change male-dominated club of international diplomacy.

Opinion

Fighting for young people's social future

Young people in the gig economy in big cities need 'one-stop shops', as pioneered in Rotterdam, to help them access all their rights - but that requires funding.

Feature

Resetting the gender balance through football

Many sports, like football, have been so heavily male-dominated at every level that women and girls have battled against poor odds to be treated as equals in the game. FIFA aims to change that.

Opinion

EU needs comprehensive 'sexuality education'

The subject is mandatory by law in some form in nearly all EU countries - but it is mostly reproduction- and biology-centred, covering topics such as unwanted pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections.

Opinion

Istanbul Convention: clearing away the fog of misconceptions

On International Womens' Day, it is time to dispel some misconceptions, deliberate or otherwise, about the Istanbul Convention, which protects women from domestic violence - but has not yet been signed by every member state of the Council of Europe.

News in Brief

  1. Bulgaria's president appoints interim government
  2. Navalny poised to win EU human rights prize
  3. Poland will not leave EU, says Kaczyński
  4. Eurozone wages fall for first time in a decade
  5. Israel joins EU digital Covid-certificate programme
  6. Johnson reshuffles UK cabinet: new foreign minister
  7. Macron says French forces killed Islamic State leader in Sahara
  8. Finance minister tipped to become Sweden's first female PM

Opinion

Sweden's non-lockdown didn't work - why not?

The Swedish king would have been better advised to use his annual Christmas interview to call for unity of purpose and shed light on the political roots of the country's response.

Column

BioNTech: Stop talking about their 'migration background'

I understand that the German-Turkish community - often subjected to condescension in Germany - celebrated the story. Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türecki represent scientific excellence and business success at the highest level.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed

Latest News

  1. Von der Leyen issues rallying cry for more EU sovereignty
  2. Von der Leyen doubles up on vaccine-donation pledge
  3. Why won't EU forces fight together, von der Leyen asks?
  4. EU pitches infrastructure investment plan to rival China
  5. EU diplomats oppose common forest-monitoring rules
  6. EU 'stands by Afghans' but wants most kept away
  7. Russia's biggest enemy? Its own economy
  8. Textbook hypocrisy: EU's new low point on Palestine

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us