Towards Gender equality, at a snail’s pace

Virginija Langbakk is Director of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE)

It is 2018, but in Europe gender equality seems to be ‒ more than ever ‒ standing still at a crossroad.

On the positive side, women are increasingly referred to as a pool of ‘untapped potential’ that could give a new boost to jobs, digital growth and improve the social dimension of the European Union. A number of global campaigns, such as the #MeToo movement, are making gender equality challenges more visible. This is enabling more gender sensitive measures to be put in place to combat violence against women ‒ be it at home, in the workplace, in public areas or in cyber space.

A number of promising EU and national level policies dedicated to improving work-life balance and tackling the gender pay gap have also been put forward. At the same time, the Gender Equality Index developed by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), consistently reports that we are travelling at a ‘snail’s pace’ with reaching gender equality in Europe. Marginal progress, alongside worrying slips backwards in certain areas keeps the EU’s score for gender equality at 66.2 out of 100.

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