Gender Equality Index 2017: Moving forward, very slowly


According to the updated Gender Equality Index, the EU’s score has only slightly improved in the past ten years and the overall picture shows that inequality prevails across all areas of life. In fact, in certain cases the situation has even got worse. Hungary scores particularly poorly. 

Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.

The Gender Equality Index (GEI) is a tool that measures the extent to which the EU and its Member States are achieving a gender-equal society. The index uses a score that ranges between 1 and 100, where 100 stands for the best situation, where there are no gender gaps combined with the highest level of achievement. It was developed by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), a EU agency for gender equality.

The newest index provides scores for four points in time: 2005, 2010, 2012 and 2015. Hungary has been in the lower reaches of the chart ever since the earliest recorded date in 2005. According to the latest standings, the country is second from last with a score of 50.8, which is somewhat better than its 2005 score of 49.5, but shows no major improvement. It should be of little comfort that all of Hungaryʼs regional peers are also well below the EU average, with scores ranging from 52 to 58. 

“We are moving forward at a snail’s pace,” says Virginija Langbakk, director of the EIGE. “We are still a long way off from reaching a gender-equal society and all countries in the European Union have room to improve. In some areas, the gaps are even bigger than ten years ago.”

Indeed, the EU’s score as a whole is just four points higher than a decade ago, at 66.2 on the scale of 100. The top-performing country is Sweden with a score of 82.6, while Greece is bottom with 50 points. The most-improved country is Italy, which made a big leap and gained 12.9 points to place 14th on the ranking.

“The new results of the Gender Equality Index show that, across all areas of life, inequality prevails,” acknowledges Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.

Only one man in three engages daily in cooking and housework, compared to the vast majority of women (79%). Men also have more time for sport, cultural and leisure activities. Migrant women have an especially high burden when it comes to caring for family members, compared to women born in the EU (46% and 38%, respectively).

The biggest boost for gender equality over the last ten years has been in the area of decision-making, especially in the private sector. That said, and despite an improvement of nearly 10 points over the past decade, at 48.5, it still has the lowest score.


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