WHAT IS GENDER EQUALITY?
When people of both genders have equal rights, roles, and opportunities, this is referred to as gender equality. Gender disparity affects everyone: men, women, trans and gender diverse individuals, youth, and families. Societies that treat men and women fairly are safer and healthier. Gender equality is a basic human right.
VIEW OF EUROPEAN COUNTRIES ON GENDER EQUALITY
In each of the countries polled, there is absolute unanimity that women's rights should be equal to men. This is the viewpoint of virtually all in Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Greece, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Hungary. Even in the countries with the smallest share saying gender equality is important – Lithuania and Ukraine – roughly nine-in-ten (88%) believe this.
The global discussion about gender inequality is heating up, spawning new campaigns and contextualizing topics that have never been addressed before. When it comes to gender equality, however, some countries outperform others. Europe occupied the top four slots for gender equality in the 2020 Global Gender Gap Index, with Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden ranked first through fourth, respectively. Ireland, Spain, and Latvia were among the top ten countries in the ranking, with high scores.
HOW GENDER EQUALITY CAN BE MEASURED?
Gender equality can be evaluated in a number of ways, including unemployment, wage inequalities, educational achievement, access to health care, and overall equality of treatment. When it comes to unemployment, European countries vary greatly. A contrast between two Nordic countries and Italy, for example, may demonstrate this distinction. In Sweden, the unemployment rate is the same for men and women, while in Finland, males outnumber females. In Italy, women have a two-percentage point higher unemployment rate than men. In Italy, however, women have a 20% higher rate of economic inactivity than men.
This suggests that a substantial proportion of women are not in the labour force and are neither working nor unemployed. The causes of such inequalities are numerous. In addition to a difficult labour market, Italian society remains deeply patriarchal. In contrast to other European countries, many women, for example, chose to give up their jobs in order to care for their families in greater numbers. Overall, men are working full-time to a greater extent than women in the European Union, regardless of age group. Males aged 25 to 49 were employed at a rate of 84 percent, while females were employed at a rate of 65 percent.
Gender pay gap are another example of gender equality. In many industries, men earn more than women. In general, this difference has been decreasing in recent years. As previously mentioned, the unemployment rate in Finland is higher for men than for women. Nonetheless, Finland has one of the largest genders pay gaps in the OECD. Finland has the fourth highest income inequality between men and women in the world, behind only Korea, Japan, and Israel. Italy, on the other hand, has one of the lowest wage inequalities between men and women in the European Union and among OECD countries. Data based on equality in economic participation, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment place Italy near the bottom of the list, while Finland outperforms any other EU nation. In Europe as a whole, the average gender wage gap has shrunk to 15%.
GENDER EQUALITY SINCE THE FALL OF COMMUNISM
In former Eastern Bloc countries, at least four out of ten women believe they have more social and legal rights now than they did under communism.
Women's rights, according to many, improved after a regime transition. Despite this, major minorities in many of the countries polled believe women's rights have not improved in nearly 30 years. In Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine, Poland, and Bulgaria, roughly a quarter or more assume women today have the same rights as they did under communism. In every country where trend data is available, the proportion of people who believe women's rights have improved since the regime c hange has increased significantly since 1991. However, few people saw any improvement in women’s social and legal rights immediately following the fall of communism.
GENDER EQUALITY: MEN'S AND WOMEN'S PERSPECTIVES
Overall, men and women have similar views on gender equality in their culture, but there are some gender differences. Women are more likely than men to consider gender equality to be extremely significant.
In most of the Central and Eastern European countries polled, women are more likely than men to believe that equal rights for women are crucial in their country. The greatest gender inequality is seen in Slovakia, where approximately three-quarters (76%) of women consider gender equality to be very significant, compared to 57 percent of men.
Notably, men and women usually accept that they prefer a marriage in which both the husband-and-wife work and care for the house and children. There are only a few countries, mainly in Western Europe, where women favour an egalitarian marriage to men. In the Netherlands, for example, 82 percent of women believe an egalitarian marriage is a more rewarding way of life, compared to 74 percent of Dutch men. Similar disparities exist in France (94 percent of women vs. 88 percent of men) and Germany (82 percent vs. 77 percent).
In each of the countries polled, there is absolute unanimity that women's rights should be equal to men. Europe occupied the top four slots for gender equality in the 2020 Global Gender Gap Index, with Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden ranked first through fourth, respectively. Ireland, Spain, and Latvia were among the top ten countries in the ranking, with high scores. Women's rights, according to many, improved after a regime transition. Despite this, major minorities in many of the countries polled believe women's rights have not improved in nearly 30 years. Gender equality can be evaluated in a number of ways, including unemployment, wage inequalities, educational achievement, access to health care, and overall equality of treatment. With 67.9 out of 100 points, the EU has a long way to go before reaching gender equality. The Gender Equality Index score has increased by only 4.1 points since 2010 and 0.5 points since 2017. At this pace of progress – 1 point every 2 years – it will take more than 60 years to achieve gender equality in the EU.
1. Wike, R., Poushter, J., Silver, L., Devlin, K., Fetterolf, J., Castillo, A., & Huang, C. (2020, December 10). Views on gender equality across Europe. Retrieved March 30, 2021, from https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2019/10/14/gender-equality-2/
2. Gender equality Index: 2020. (n.d.). Retrieved March 30, 2021, from https://eige.europa.eu/gender-equality-index/2020