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Finland ranked third in gender equality index - setbacks regarding power and time use

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 11.10.2017 10.33
Press release 134

In Brussels today the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) released its third index measuring gender equality in the EU. Finland ranked third among the 28 Member States. Sweden holds the top place and Denmark comes second. Finland’s scores dropped in two domains compared with earlier years, in the domains of power and time use. Finland’s scores of the other domains increased slightly or remained at the same level as before.

The index compares the development of gender equality in EU countries during the last decade. The index measures the state of gender equality in six domains: work, money, knowledge, time, power and health.

Finland has always been among the best countries in the index. This time, however, Finland’s scores in the domains of political and economic power decreased compared with earlier years. This is due to the fact the female representation in Parliament and Government and in leading positions in the Bank of Finland has decreased since the beginning of the 2010s.

In many other EU countries gender equality has improved in the domain of power. This is a consequence of, for example, quotas and other active measures carried out to improve gender equality in political and economic decision-making.

Women continue to use more time for unpaid care work than men

Gender inequality in time use has increased in 12 countries, Finland included. Women still use clearly more time than men for housework and unpaid caring of children or other family members. This gap between the genders has not narrowed but slightly increased, which reflects how difficult it is to reconcile work and family especially in women’s lives. In addition, in almost all Member States men are more likely than women to participate in leisure activities outside the home.

This time the index also presents the satellite domains of violence and intersecting inequalities more strongly than before. The latter describes how factors like age, country of birth, educational level or disabilities are connected with gender equality. Indicators show that men and women born outside the EU and lone mothers are at a particularly high risk of poverty.

For the first time, the index now includes even the exercise of social power, for example gender equality in decision-making in media and sports federations.

The EU is still a long way off from reaching gender equality. In 2015 the gender equality index in the EU was 66.2, whereas 100 would mean full equality. The development has been rather slow since 2005. In that year the score was 62.0.


Eeva Raevaara, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 2951 63231, [email protected]
Tanja Auvinen, Director, tel. +358 2951 63715, [email protected]