Gender Equality Index 2021 highlights

Main findings

The Gender Equality Index score for the EU is 68.0 points out of 100[1]. This is an improvement of just 0.6 points since the 2020 edition and of only 4.9 points in total since 2010. Even that minimal progress on gender equality is threatened by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall progress in gender equality between 2010 and 2019 was largely driven by advances in the domain of power, in particular improved gender balance on company boards and in politics. However, progress in other domains is much slower, and their impact on the overall progress in Index is lower. The contribution to the Index score of the domain of time is negative in the long term. An enormous increase in unpaid care during the COVID-19 crisis – particularly by women – has put a spotlight on long-standing gender inequalities in the home.

Achievements in gender equality vary considerably by country. Although EU Index score generally rose from 2010 to 2019, Index scores in some Member States fluctuated and disparities among Member States differed from one year to the next one. This was largely due to varying national responses to gender inequalities in economic and political decision-making. With COVID-19 impacting Member States to different degrees, both overall and in the extent to which women and men are relatively affected, greater divergence on gender equality progress or even regression is probable.