Equality between women and men is a fundamental value of the European Union and is recognised as vital to economic growth, prosperity and competitiveness. The effectiveness of the policies developed to achieve this needs to be evaluated. The development and dissemination of EU-wide, comparable and reliable gender statistics and indicators have greatly contributed to this better monitoring and assessment of progress in the EU.

To supplement these, the creation of a composite indicator, to provide a synthetic measure of gender equality as a multi-dimensional concept, was initially introduced by the European Commission in its policy document “The Roadmap for Equality between Women and Men 2006-2010” and in the Action Plan of the Commission Strategy for Equality between Women and Men 2010-2015 that followed. To implement these, the construction of the European Gender Equality Index became one of the major assignments attributed to the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) in its Mid-Term Programme 2010-2012.

The European Gender Equality Index is a sophisticated tool that synthesises the complexity of gender equality into a user-friendly and easily interpretable measure. It is formed by combining gender indicators together, according to a conceptual framework, into a single summary measure. The domains of the Index consist of six core domains (work, health, money, knowledge, time, power) that are aggregated into a single measure and complemented by two satellites domains (intersecting inequalities and violence).

It has been developed to provide a measure of how much the EU overall and each Member State has come towards achieving gender equality. By focusing on gender gaps, the Index distances itself from the national context, focusing instead on where gender equality meets the smallest gaps. In the future, it will become an important tool to assess the progress made by the EU and Member States towards closing gender gaps and achieving greater gender equality.

Updated on 15/02/2013