While Europe is making progress towards gender equality, experts warned: “People will land on Mars before we reach full gender equality in the EU.” 

New data from EIGE shows we’re closer than ever to balance in the economic and social lives of women and men. 

But the pace of positive change, revealed at the launch of the 2023 Gender Equality Index, remains too slow. 

As EIGE’s Gender Equality Index turns 10, it put a special focus on the impact of the Green Deal for women and men in all their diversity, as part of its #3StepsForward campaign. 

Experts at the launch believe linking gender and climate issues is critical for the success of Europe’s mission to be climate-neutral by 2050. 

Listen to the evidence - Is gender equality gaining momentum? 

EIGE’s experts, Jolanta Reingarde and Marusa Gortnar present findings from the Index.  

Join the conversation – Where do the Green Deal and gender equality meet? 

“It’s hard to find a reference to gender in the Green Deal. It’s important we see a connection between gender equality and climate change,” said EIGE Director Carlien Scheele. 

Kim Leonard Smouter, Director General of the European Network Against Racism, echoed these comments while welcoming EIGE’s link between gender and climate action. 

“To make the Green Deal a reality, we need to consider a social dimension. That’s important for resilience and the ability of certain communities to react,” he said. 

Time to take action - #3StepsForward towards an inclusive green transition 

“We focus on hope-based communications: with knowledge and capacity, we can make a change. So, I’m putting EIGE’s three steps forward on the table. And you can count on them.” said EIGE Director Carlien Scheele. 

Carlien’s #3StepsForward promise from EIGE: 

  1. We will continue to provide evidence 
  2. We will build coalitions and engage in conversations 
  3. We will share our know-how in the forms of tools and good practices 

“EIGE is showing, we need 60 years to achieve full equality between women and men in the EU,” said Robert Biedron, Chair of the European Parliament’s FEMM Committee. 

“People will land on Mars before we will reach full gender equality in Europe. And we need 300 years to reach gender equality globally. This is a shame. We need to speed up.” 

The benefits of increasing the rate of positive change were set out at the launch event by Carmen Niethammer, Senior Gender Specialist at the European Investment Bank (EIB). 

“Climate investment is estimated to reach €23 trillion and there’s a huge opportunity to integrate a gender lens. Then returns on that investment can be maximised,” she said. 

“Female entrepreneurs are much more likely to start sustainable businesses than men. Ensuring these women have sufficient finance will make a difference in our climate goals.” 

“The representation of women in the banking industry is lagging behind. When you have a bank with high gender diversity at the top, these banks are less likely to lend to polluters.” 

Citing EIB research, Carmen added: “Firms that are led by women happen to be better in terms of ESG, energy efficiency, water efficiency, recycling, green transition and green jobs. 

“When companies are led by women, they are more likely to invest in human capital and more likely to attract and retain women in the workforce.” 

“We might have found a silver bullet: investing in companies that have a higher gender equality.”  

“We are going through two strategic transitions: the green transition and the feminist transition,” said Irene Montero, Spain’s Minister of Equality. 

“There is a very big link. We won’t solve one without the other… they’re interrelated. We can turn the climate emergency around. Women can be actors of change. 

“When women participate in decision-making we make more sustainable choices. We increase access to education. We promote sustainability.” 

Further reading

How did your country do? Discover the Gender Equality Index scores

Read the Gender Equality Index 2023 report

EU gender equality reaches new milestone: is progress accelerating?

Read more about EIGE’s focus on taking #3StepsForward for a green and gender-equal Europe here