Gender equality: where are we in 2019? – EIGE Gender Equality Index


EIGE Gender Equality Index – cover image

Gender Equality in Europe is still advancing, but at a snail’s pace. This is the conclusion of the 2019 Gender Equality Index released by the European Institute for Gender Equality last October. AGE participated in the launch of the index, discussing flexible working arrangements as a means to increase gender equality.

The index covers different areas such as work, money, power, time or health. Compared to previous versions of the index, the domains of violence and intersecting inequalities, including age, have been added to the index. AGE participated in the launch of the index, last October in Brussels, discussing flexible working arrangements as a means to increase gender equality.

Improving gender equality through flexible working arrangements

GenderEqualityIndex2019-figure_38.1 In a discussion on the topic of Work-Life Balance during the launch event in Brussels, Philippe Seidel, AGE Policy Officer, presented AGE’s view on the matter: work-life balance is increasingly important as the workforce is ageing, given that one in five older workers is caring for a family member. Most informal carers are women and many more are not in the labour market because they cannot reconcile work and care.

In this context, flexible working arrangements controlled and chosen by the employee and carers’ leave are important to increase chances for older women to continue working and increase their pension incomes. These are currently 37% lower than men’s. Both carers’ leave and the right to request flexible working arrangements have recently been introduced in a European directive. AGE highlighted that even with this directive, carers’ leave cannot be deemed sufficient, as the directive only provides for five days per year and does not provide for adequate compensation for workers taking this form of leave.

GenderEqualityIndex2019-figure_43.1 Need for investment into quality care services

However, working time arrangements are not a panacea for gender equality, as the Gender Equality Index confirms that participation in the labour market of older women is lower in member states where there are gaps in the provision of care services for older persons and persons with disabilities.

More information:

For any further information on AGE work on gender equality, please contact Philippe Seidel,

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