Still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in all EU countries

Press Statement by EP Vice-President Dimitrios Papadimoulis and Women’s Rights Committee Chair Evelyn Regner after the publication of the 2020 Gender Equality Index.

In the context of the first European Gender Equality Week, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) released its 2020 Gender Equality Index this morning. This tool monitors the progress made every year towards gender equality in the EU and in each member state. For 2020, the EU scores 67.9 points out of 100, which shows that progress is slow and that it would take 60 years to reach full gender equality at this current rate.

Evelyn Regner (S&D, AT), Chair of the Committee for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, reacted: “Thanks to EIGE’s work, we know where we stand and what remains to be done to achieve gender equality. It is quite clear that COVID-19 will exacerbate inequalities and put the achievements of the past decades at risk. At this snail’s pace, it will take at least 60 more years to get to 100 points in all fields. All our recovery efforts have to be gender mainstreamed so as not to push the heroes of the pandemic into a long-lasting crisis afterwards. The burden of unpaid care work, the segregation of work sectors, the alarming numbers of violent acts against women, and the lack of women in leadership roles will not solve themselves. We need action by all EU countries, and we need binding measures. Quotas for company boards have had the biggest impact on advancing gender equality. Building bridges over the care, pay and pension gaps is the way forward.”

Dimitrios Papadimoulis (GUE/NGL, EL), Vice-President of the Parliament in charge of gender equality and diversity, added: “One aspect is especially striking: having women in power is crucial to promote equality in other fields. Within the European Parliament, we are taking this very seriously and we were able to make significant steps towards closing existing gender gaps. About 40% of the members are women at the moment and we have gender balance among the Vice-Presidents. The EP Bureau has also unanimously approved ambitious new objectives for the Parliament: 50% heads of unit, 50% directors, and 40% directors-general should be women by the end of the legislative period in 2024. Moreover, with the adoption of the Gender Action Plan, we are preparing to take further measures to achieve gender equality across all fields in the Parliament. EIGE has been a very supportive partner in this and its general data, and especially the yearly Gender Equality Index, are key to reaching our goal of equality.”