The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) released on Tuesday its fourth index measuring gender equality in the EU. Finland ranked fourth in the comparison among the 28 member states. Sweden holds the top place and Denmark comes second. France ranked third.
The Gender Equality Index compares the development of gender equality in the EU member states between 2005 and 2017. The index measures the state of gender equality in six domains: work, money, knowledge, time, power and health.
Finland has always been among the best countries in the index. This time, France succeeded in improving its scores, especially concerning decision-making, and passed Finland. Finland's development has been slower, although its scores increased slightly in some domains, such as money and power.
In many other EU countries, gender equality has improved in the domain of power. This is a consequence of, for example, quotas and other active measures carried out to improve gender equality in political and economic decision-making. Quotas also contributed to raising the ranking of France.
Progress towards equality
“The lesson to be learnt from the results is evident: there is no natural progress towards gender equality. The governments need to act and work continuously to achieve gender equality”, said Thomas Blomqvist, Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality, in his address at the publication event for the Gender Equality Index.
“I hope this information is widely used in decision-making in the EU, not only in gender equality policies but also in the area of employment, education and health policies, to name just a few”, said Minister Blomqvist.
Reconcile work and private life
This time, the specific theme of the Gender Equality Index was to reconcile work and private life. Women still use clearly more time than men do for housework and unpaid caring of children or other family members. This has an impact on the wage development of women and the wellbeing of women and their families.
The family leave system, care services for children and older people as well as flexible working time arrangements play an important role in balancing work and private life for both women and men in the everyday lives.
The EU still has a long way to go in achieving gender equality. In 2019, the gender equality index in the EU was 67.4, whereas 100 would mean full equality. The development has been rather slow since 2005. In that year, the score was 62.0.