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Finland rose to fourth place in the EU’s Gender Equality Index

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 24.10.2022 12.20 | Published in English on 25.10.2022 at 11.00
Press release 246/2022

Finland has placed fourth in the Gender Equality Index of the European Union. The Index measured gender equality in various domains, including the labour market, healthcare and power.

The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) published its seventh Gender Equality Index on 24 October 2022. The Index measures gender equality in six core domains: power, knowledge, work, health, money and time. The Index consists of 31 indicators. Each year’s report also has a special thematic focus. This year, the thematic focus was the sharing of care responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The data for the most recent index is mainly from 2020.

In the overall index, progress was fastest in the domain of power, while scores in the domain of knowledge continued to decline

The overall Gender Equality Index score for the EU is now 68.6, where 100 points would represent complete gender equality. The score has risen by 0.6 points since the previous measurement and by 5.5 points since 2010. The report calls attention to the slow pace of progress. The COVID-19 pan-demic and its negative gender equality impacts are a threat to progress. Development has been negative – for the first time since 2010 – with regard to participation in education and working life as well as access to health services, for example.

The highest score in the EU’s overall index was achieved in the domain of health (88.7), while the lowest scores were seen in the domains of power (57.2) and knowledge (62.5). The sub-domains with the lowest scores were economic decision-making and educational segregation (52.1/54.1).

The domain of power has made the most progress in terms of the overall score for the EU. The score has risen by 2.2 points since the previous measurement and by 15.3 points since 2010. Pro-gress has been seen particularly in economic decision-making, where the score has improved by 3.3 points since the previous measurement. The score has improved particularly in countries that have gender quotas in place.

The overall score for the domain of knowledge declined for the second consecutive time, and the score has risen by only 2.7 points since 2010. Gender segregation in education is a significant problem in the EU, and progress has not been made in reducing it. 

Finland’s score exceeds the EU average, but progress has been minimal

Finland’s overall score was 75.4, which is just under seven points higher than the EU average. This represents an increase of 0.1 points compared to the previous year. Finland’s index score has risen by 2.3 points since 2010. In the EIGE classification, Finland is in a group of countries where the national score is higher than the EU average, but progress is slower than the EU average.
 
Finland’s score improved only in the domain of health, where the score now stands at 92.6 points. This represents an increase of 3.1 points over the previous measurement. In the domains of money and knowledge, Finland’s scores fell by 0.4 points. In the domain of money, the lower score is attributable to a decline in gender equality in the sub-domain of economic situation. In the domain of knowledge, Finland’s score is decreased by educational segregation, where Finland now ranks 26th. In other domains and sub-domains, the changes in Finland’s scores were minimal.

According to Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality Thomas Blomqvist, the results of the Index are in line with expectations: “The positive takeaway is that progress has been made in gender equality in general, but the rate of progress should be faster. During this term of government, we have implemented many reforms that promote gender equality and established long-term objectives, but it will take some time for the impacts of these actions to be seen. It is important that we avoid regression and continue to work to improve gender equality.”

Few changes at the top – Finland rose to fourth place

The top three countries in the Index are Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, which gained third place in the previous index. Finland leapfrogged France to take fourth place. Nine countries scored more than 70 points. Sweden is the only country to score more than 80 points. 

Finland’s improved ranking is also attributable to a decrease in France’s score. In the top three, the Netherlands improved its score the most, but its ranking remained unchanged. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the unequal distribution of care responsibilities

The thematic focus of this year’s Index was the sharing of care responsibilities during the pandemic. The sharing of care responsibilities was analysed with regard to childcare, long-term care, housework and changes in flexible working arrangements. The data was collected by means of questionnaires in the EU Member States in June–July 2021. 

In the case of Finland, it was found that women were much more likely than men to have had childcare responsibilities. In 2021, some 42 per cent of women and only 13 per cent of men indicated they cared for children aged 0–11 entirely or mostly on their own. During the pandemic, 38 per cent of women and 15 per cent of men indicated they cared for children or grandchildren aged 0–11 for more than four hours per day. Participation in various social and individual activities at least three times per week was less common among women with childcare responsibilities (76%) than men (85%). In 2021, among both women and men, only less than 10 per cent decided to change their working hours in order to care for children or other relatives. These figures are among the lowest in the EU.

Women were also mostly responsible for housework. In 2021, some 61 per cent of women and 13 per cent of men indicated they did housework entirely or mostly on their own. During the pandemic, 11 per cent of women and 6 per cent of men indicated they did housework for over four hours per day.  

The proportion of informal carers who used external support in long-term care was higher than in other Member States

In Finland in 2021, most women (85%) and men (94%) relied on relatives, neighbours or friends when they needed help with responsibilities related to long-term care. However, a large proportion of women (73%) and men (75%) also relied on nurses and/or healthcare assistants to manage care responsibilities. These percentages are substantially higher than in other EU countries. Some 69 per cent of women and 74 per cent of men used domestic cleaners and helpers. The percentages of women and men using such external support are among the highest among the EU Member States. The use of external support is generally less common among women than men.

Gender Equality Index

The Gender Equality Index can be used to compare changes in gender equality between EU countries and over time. The Index provides information on challenges and positive developments related to gender equality, also to support decision-making. The Index has been published since 2013, and annually since 2019. Starting from 2019, each report has also featured a special thematic focus.

Inquiries:

Special Adviser Laura Ollila, tel. +358 2951 50186, [email protected]
Director Tanja Auvinen, tel. +358 2951 63205, [email protected] (24–25 October 2022)
Ministerial Adviser Eeva Raevaara, tel. +358 2951 63205, [email protected] (from 26 October 2022)

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