Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Equality between women and men in the EU should be achieved in ... 60 years from now

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Friday, October 30th 2020 à 16:46 | Read 497 times

Gender equality, an equation that is hard to achieve (photo: F.Dubessy)
Gender equality, an equation that is hard to achieve (photo: F.Dubessy)
EU. The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) annually reviews progress towards gender equality in the EU and in all Member States. The figures published on Thursday, October 29, 2020, for the year 2020 show progress, but very slow. "It would take at the current rate sixty years to achieve full equality between men and women," an EIGE press release points out.

For 2020 (although most of the data is from 2018), the Institute's gender equality index reaches an average score of 67.9 out of 100 for the twenty-eight European countries (the United Kingdom is still included in this study). It has increased by only 4.1 points since 2010 and 0.5 points since 2017.
The Southern Member States* show very mixed levels of progress in this area. Thus, France (index of 75.1) and Spain (72) remain among the most virtuous and outperform the European average.
While Slovenia (67.7), Italy (63.5), Malta (63.4), Portugal (61.3) and Croatia (57.9) are below. Cyprus and Greece are even in the Flop 10 of countries with an index below 60, with scores of 56.9 and 52.2 respectively.


It is in the field of health that women and men are the most equal (illustration: EIGE).
It is in the field of health that women and men are the most equal (illustration: EIGE).

Only 26.6% of women in corporate governance

EIGE has defined seven indicators, including one that does not enter into the calculation of the index (violence), to measure the gap between women and men: work (employability, segregation and quality of work), health, money (income, economic situation), power (politics or position of responsibility within the company or in an association), knowledge and time (the time spent doing housework and educating children or grandchildren and caring for the elderly or disabled).
Gender equality is most evident in the area of health, with a score of 88.0, followed by money (80.6). On the other hand, the indicator on power records the worst European index (53.5). 70.5% of the ministers of European countries are men and only 26.6% of women are in high-level positions in companies and 15.4% in national Olympic sports governing bodies.

Progress is being made, but Evelyn Regner, chair of the European Parliament's Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality, speaks of "a snail's pace." She is also alarmed that "Covid-19 has exacerbated inequalities and jeopardized the gains made in recent decades (...) All our recovery efforts must integrate the gender dimension so that the heroes and heroines of the pandemic do not sink into a long-lasting crisis. The burden of unpaid care work, the segregation of labour sectors, the alarming number of acts of violence against women and the lack of women in leadership positions will not resolve themselves. We need action from all EU countries, as well as binding measures".


With a score of 67.9, the European Union still has a long way to go to achieve perfect equality between women and men (infographics: EIGE)
With a score of 67.9, the European Union still has a long way to go to achieve perfect equality between women and men (infographics: EIGE)

40% of MEPs are women

Evelyn Regner encourages companies to pursue their quota policy within their boards of directors. They "have demonstrated their enormous impact on the gender issue," she stresses. While specifying, "it is necessary to advance by building bridges to bridge the gaps in care, remuneration, pensions".

Vice-President of the European Parliament in charge of gender equality and diversity, Dimitrios Papadimoulis wants his institution to set an example. "In the European Parliament we take this very seriously and we have been able to make significant progress in closing the existing gender gaps. Currently, around 40% of MEPs are women and we have a gender balance among the Vice-Presidents. The EP Bureau has also unanimously approved ambitious new targets for the Parliament: 50% of heads of unit, 50% of directors and 40% of directors-general should be women by the end of the legislature in 2024", he said.

* It should be noted in parallel that the member states of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) approved, in early October 2020, an intergovernmental monitoring and a set of twenty indicators to track progress on gender equality in the Euro-Mediterranean region. It may well help to raise these figures in southern Europe.


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