Gender equality in Europe - Statistics & Facts

Gender inequality is the idea that women and men are not equal and refers to the unequal treatment or perceptions of individuals due to their gender. For many European societies equality between genders is a core value. In the 2016 Global Gender Gap Report, Europe held the top 4 spots for gender equality, with Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden ranking 1st through 4th respectively. It also contained two European nations that ranked in the bottom 30 countries: Albania at 108 and Turkey at 120.

Unemployment rate, pay gap and inequalities in the working position are among the major indicators of gender equality in the economic sector. For example, women’s unemployment rate in Italy as of October 2016 stood at 12.4 percent against 11 percent for men. In Spain on the other hand, the youth unemployment rate of females aged between 20 and 24 years in the third quarter of 2016 amounted at 39.18 percent, almost equal to that of males.

Male figures concerning the gender pay gap, which is the average difference between a man's and a woman's wages or salaries, are consistently higher than those of females, though they generally show a decrease over the last years. For example, in 2006, females in the U.K. earned on average 1.5 British pounds per hour less, while in 2016 the difference was 1.34 British pounds. Over time, Belgian women have been able to narrow the gap, so that in 2013 the average earnings of a Belgian woman were seven percent less than the salary of a Belgian man.

In the workplace there are still too few women in leadership positions. A clear example of inequality in working position comes from Italy, where in 2016 women accounted for only 22 percent of total manager positions.

It is however interesting to notice that in 2016 Iceland ranked fourth for female political participation in national parliaments, with its Parliament consisting of 47.6 percent women. In 2015, 29.4 percent of British MPs were women (191 out of 650). Women's presence in parliament in Italy gives a different example, where the President of the Chamber of Deputies is a woman, Laura Boldrini, but there are no women occupying positions as Presidents of any Parliamentary Group.

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