Gender segregation in education and labour market holds back progress in gender equality in Europe


Europe is moving towards gender equality with ‘a snail’s pace’ as inequality and gender gaps prevail in almost all areas of life. This is the main conclusion of the Gender Equality Index 2017 launched by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) on 11 October. The Index is an indicator that measures gender gaps between women and men in various areas of life (work, money, knowledge, time, power and health). This year report covers the progress made by European countries during 10 years (2005-2015) and indicates the average score of 66.2 out of 100, which is only a 4.2-point increase since 2005.

The report shows that the gender equality in the employment progressed very little (1.5 points increase) and education, health and welfare sectors of the labour market remained highly segregated with no change since 2005. Moreover, in spite of the more complex job requirements nowadays, lifelong learning in Europe has not increased at all. The domain of knowledge demonstrates a slight rise in the index but mostly as the result of increased education attainment and participation while the gender segregation in educational choices persists (only 0.4 points increase), deepening the gender gaps in the labour market. Finally, even though the biggest results for gender equality were achieved in the area of decision-making (9.6 points increase), the Index provides an evidence that women remain under-represented in decision-making positions regarding research funding.

Susan Flocken, European Director, expresses a great concern regarding the results of the Gender Equality Index: “It is obvious that even though equal access to education for girls and boys is granted in most EU member states, girls and women are still exposed to obstacles during the educational cycle that influence their careers and positions in the labour market. In order to challenge this reality, it is of utmost importance to provide sufficient and sustainable initial and continuous professional development for educational personnel and to better support teachers in promoting gender equality in schools”.

Gender Equality Index 2017