Gender Inequality in the European Union

  • Written by  Benjamin Hennig
  • Published in Mapping
Gender Inequality in the European Union Benjamin Hennig
02 Nov
2017
How are the EU member nations faring in the fight for gender equality?

It is a complex task to measure the progress that has been made in achieving equal gender rights. The UN's Sustainable Development Goals provide a framework for the global level that is targeted at the most pressing issues of gender-based discrimination. In addition to that, national governments as well as trans-national organisations such as the European Union have started concerted efforts to better understand the progress that is made in the different areas that relate to gender equality. This is often linked to developing new policies that aim to improve the situation in the different areas where gender issues matter.

The European Institute for Gender Equality has developed a Gender Equality Index that provides a measure for comparing member states over time in a range of areas relevant to European policymaking. The advantage of using an index is the possibility of using a single measure to monitor and track overall progress between the different countries. The combination of different indicators therefore does not prioritise a single issue of gender rights, but aims to support overall progress as an integrated challenge for achieving real change in thinking.

The above cartogram (click to enlarge) shows the state of progress that has been made by the 28 EU member states visualised on a population cartogram. A score of zero indicates total inequality in all areas, while an index value of 100 stands for full equality. In the most recent study, the EU-28 achieved an overall score of 52.9 with slow (but continuing) increases compared to the previous releases of the Index in 2005 and 2010. The index combines the areas of work, money, knowledge, time, power, and health, and also takes intersecting inequalities and violence into account.

The population cartogram shows that the countries with the highest progress are those with relatively small populations. Sweden currently is highest with an overall score of 74.2 (slightly down from its 74.4 score in 2010). The cartogram also shows there are distinct geographic patterns to gender equality across the EU, with the southern and eastern countries currently scoring worst. Romania is at the bottom with a score of 33.7 (down from 35.0), showing how these patterns that are emerging in the map are quite persistent and requiring considerably political efforts to change.

Benjamin Hennig (@geoviews) is Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Iceland and Honorary Research Associate in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. He is involved in the Worldmapper project and is author of viewsoftheworld.net

For more on the issue of tackling gender inequality across the world, read our in-depth Dossier in the November 2017 edition of Geographical magazine, available now in print and digital formats.

red line

NEVER MISS A STORY

Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox by signing up to our free weekly newsletter!

red line

Share this story...

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Related items

Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox every Friday.

Subscribe Today

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth UniversityUniversity of GreenwichThe University of Winchester

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

DOSSIERS

Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • The Air That We Breathe
    Cities the world over are struggling to improve air quality as scandals surrounding diesel car emissions come to light and the huge health costs of po...
    National Clean Air Day
    For National Clean Air Day, Geographical brings together stories about air pollution and the kind of solutions needed to tackle it ...
    Diabetes: The World at Risk
    Diabetes is often thought of as a ‘western’ problem, one linked to the developed world’s overindulgence in fatty foods and chronic lack of physi...
    The Nuclear Power Struggle
    The UK appears to be embracing nuclear, a huge U-turn on government policy from just two years ago. Yet this seems to be going against the grain globa...
    The true cost of meat
    As one of the world’s biggest methane emitters, the meat industry has a lot more to concern itself with than merely dietary issues ...

MORE DOSSIERS

NEVER MISS A STORY - follow Geographical

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in PLACES...

Water

Ongoing restoration projects are breathing new life into Florida’s Everglades

Cities

Despite protests, an experimental pedestrianisation system is proving to be…

Mapping

National Archives map historian, Rose Mitchell, highlights some of the…

Water

An expedition into the Jordanian desert is helping teachers and…

Mountains

Trivia fans take note, Mount Hope in the British Antarctic…

Water

An enormous hydropower development in Ethiopia is expected to put…

Mapping

From nuclear warnings to whether your favourite band will ‘make…

Mapping

New maps of global reptile distribution reveal significant gaps in…

Forests

Indigenous conservation schemes in Peru can be more effective than…

Mapping

How are the EU member nations faring in the fight…

Mapping

Violence against women violates human rights, and the lack of…

Cities

Deadly heat waves could become more frequent in cities thanks…

Mapping

These 13 poignant infographics are in the running for the…

Mapping

Sometimes referred to as the fourth dimension, time has a…

Forests

A global, citizen-led carbon sequestration scheme is aiming to combat…

Mountains

Among the Himalaya region, which along with most of the…

Cities

Beijing looks set to welcome to its streets an innovative…

Cities

The next step towards declaring London a National Park City…

Mapping

The spatial distribution of healthcare workers globally tells us a…

Forests

After an ‘unprecedented’ surge northwards into New Jersey, New York…