Gender equality will be reached in over 60 years, at the current pace

The Gender Equality Index score is 67.9 points, showing the urgent need for progress in all Member States. It has grown by only 0.5 points since 2017 and by 4.1 points since 2010. At this pace – 1 point every 2 years – it will take more than 60 years to achieve gender equality in the EU.

The largest gender inequalities are observed in the domain of power, with a score of 53.5 points. The main progress in this domain stems from women’s participation in economic decision-making. The second least equal domain is knowledge (63.6 points), where progress is limited by persistent gender segregation in different fields of study in tertiary education.

The gender inequalities in time use for caring and social activities (65.7 points) have seen a drop of 0.6 points since 2010, although lack of new data prevents inclusion of the latest developments (Figure 1).

In the domain of work, the increases in shares of women in employment have continuously been counteracted by persistent gender segregation across occupations. Together with vertical segregation in the labour market, this has led to lifelong gender inequalities in earnings and income, and an overall higher risk of poverty for women, which has only fractionally improved since 2010.

The distance from reaching gender equality varies considerably between Member States (Figure 2). Ten countries are above the EU average, all scoring more than 70 points on the Gender Equality Index. Sweden (83.8 points), Denmark (77.4 points) and France (75.1 points) maintain their top status, as in 2017, with Sweden and Denmark having been the top performers since 2010, when the first Gender Equality Index was released. More than one third of Member States scored fewer than 60 points in 2018, with Greece (52.2 points) and Hungary (53.0 points) in particular need of improvement.

Since 2017, Gender Equality Index scores have seen the greatest increases in Croatia, the Netherlands and Spain (around 2 points or more), Portugal, Finland, Austria, Luxembourg and Latvia (1 to 1.4 points), and Greece, Hungary and Slovakia (around 1 point). Scores have decreased in Slovenia (– 0.6 points), Denmark and Romania (– 0.1 points).

Since 2010, the greatest progress on gender equality has been evident in Italy (10.2 points), Luxembourg (9.1 points), Malta (9 points), Estonia, Portugal, France, Austria and Cyprus (between 7.3 and 7.9 points), Bulgaria, Germany, Slovenia, Latvia, Spain, Croatia and Ireland (between 4.6 and 6.8 points).

Czechia, Hungary, Poland and the Netherlands have progressed the least since 2010 (by less than 1 point). The remaining countries have progressed at a pace of between 1.2 and 4 points during this period.

The annual progress of the Gender Equality Index in the EU is a direct consequence of the different pace of change in each Member State in the short term (2017–2018) and in the long term (2010–2018). From 2017 to 2018, for example, countries progressed faster than their average annual increase in the long term (2010–2018).

This was the case in Croatia, the Netherlands and Spain. By contrast, however, Romania, Italy and Slovenia had a low annual increase (or took a step back) in 2018 compared with their average annual progress in the long term.

Figure 1. Ranges of Gender Equality Index scores for Member States, and changes over time


Figure 2. Gender Equality Index (changes compared with 2010 and 2017)