The European Union (EU) has been moving towards gender equality at a snail’s pace.
The Gender Equality Index built by the European Institute for Gender Equality is a composite indicator that measures levels of gender equality across the EU over time. The Index is characterised by the monitoring of the advancement of gender equality through six core domains: work, money, knowledge, time, power and health. The EU’s gender inequalities are most prevalent in the domain of ‘power’, with 51.9 points. However, this is also the domain showing the largest improvement EU-wide since 2005, with an increase of 13 points.
The Gender Equality Index shows that the EU “has been moving towards gender equality at a snail’s pace” with an overall score of 67.4 out of 100 in 2019, having increased by only 5.4 points since 2005, and 1.2 points since 2015. Almost half of all EU member states scored under 60 points. Evidently, all 28 EU member states still have room for improvement with index scores ranging from 51.2 (Greece) to 83.6 (Sweden).
The European Institute for Gender Equality also monitors levels of violence against women (VAW) and scores each country in the EU on this indicator. However, VAW is not included in the calculation fo the Gender Equality Index score on the basis that VAW only applies to a selected group of the population and the overall objective in relation to VAW is not to reduce the gaps of violence between women and men, but to eradicate VAW altogether.
Each country has a VAW score between 1 and 100 where 1 represents a situation in which violence is non-existent and 100 represents a situation in which VAW is extremely common, highly severe and not disclosed. In 2017, the EU overall scored 27.5 points. Bulgaria scored the highest with 44.2 points and Poland scored the lowest with 22.1 points. The UK score was slightly higher than the EU average at 29 points. Until the completion of the next EU-wide VAW survey (led by Eurostat), scores for this domain cannot be updated. Due to a lack of comparable and sex disaggregated data on VAW in all 28 EU member states, only data on femicide, female genital mutilation and trafficking in humans was sufficiently recent to be examined.