New EIGE index shows progress on gender equality in the UK has regressed

Labour Party

The European Institute for Gender Equality has this week released the latest Gender Equality Index for the EU. It shows that we are still only half way to achieving equality across all relevant domains and that progress on gender equality in the UK has actually gone backwards.

The overall score for the EU rose slightly from 51.3 out of a possible 100 in 2005, to 52.9. Progress has not been uniform however – some Member States have improved while some have regressed. Important gaps remain across key areas: work; money; knowledge; violence against women; decision-making; and health.

The UK’s score has dropped slightly from 58.9 to 58.0 out of 100. In particular, in the area of work – which measures levels participation, segregation and quality of work – the data shows that the UK is falling behind. Women have been hit hardest by failed Tory policies.

Interestingly, the composite index reveals that the unequal division of unpaid work (such as childcare and housework) is still only at 37.6 out of 100. Women still undertake the vast majority of housework across the EU and this is a major barrier to equality.

The data on violence against women highlights the importance of changing attitudes in society and in institutions and that further data collection must be carried out. To address this, I have called for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention on preventing violence against women and supported the creation of a new EU framework directive on violence against women.

The EIGE Gender Equality Index is a unique and valuable instrument for measuring overall progress and demonstrates the scale of the task required to achieve gender equality within and across the EU.