22nd Mar 2018

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

EU takes step closer to 'posted workers' deal

Negotiators from the member states, EU Parliament and Commission reached a 'common understanding' to guarantee equal pay for equal work in the EU. They hope to reach a final agreement in June.


EU court bars tests for gay asylum seekers

Authorities in EU countries can no longer impose controversial psychological tests to determine whether an aslyum seeker is telling the truth about their homosexuality.

News in Brief

  1. EU to have 'immediate' trade talks with Trump
  2. Separatist activist renounces Catalonia leadership candidacy
  3. EU puts conditions on Bayer-Monsanto merger
  4. Hard Brexit would hit poorer Irish households hardest
  5. Finland hosts secretive North Korean talks
  6. EU to unveil 3% tax on digital giants
  7. German elected S&D leader in European Parliament
  8. Germany: nearly €350m child benefit goes abroad

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit
  2. EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery
  3. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  4. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair
  5. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  6. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions
  7. EU mulls coercion to get refugee kids' fingerprints
  8. Five east European states prevent new CAP consensus