News2019.10.15 14:16

Lithuania drops in EU's Gender Equality Index

BNS 2019.10.15 14:16

Lithuania has been ranked 23rd among the European Union's 28 member states in the latest European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) report. The country was in the 19th spot two years ago.

On the 2019 Gender Equality Index released on Tuesday, Lithuania only fares better than Greece, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Poland.

Lithuania scored 55.5 out of 100 points, which is almost 12 points lower than the EU's average score.

“Between 2005 and 2017, progress towards gender equality did not improve in Lithuania; its score decreased by 0.3 points (- 1.3 points since 2015),” EIGE said in the report.

“Lithuania is progressing towards gender equality at a slower pace than other member states. Lithuania's ranking is seven positions lower than in 2005,” it said.

No progress at all

Having presented the survey results in Brussels on Monday, EIGE director Virginija Langbakk told BNS that Lithuania scored worst in terms of gender equality progress this year among EU member states, citing the fact that there were no female members in the Lithuanian cabinet of ministers for more than six months earlier this year.

“It’s worth saying that Lithuania scored the worst because Lithuania is the only country where prior achievements have in fact been burnt over the past year, with progress standing at zero. It’s the only country with no progress at all, looking from 2005,” Langbakk said.

Only one of Lithuania's 14 ministries is lead by a woman. This fails to show any major progress in ensuring gender equality in the country, the EIGE director says.

A UN report in March put Lithuania and ten other countries at the bottom of a ranking by the number of female ministers in governments, as Lithuania had an all-male cabinet at the time.

“Even Hungary had more. It was a very strong argument,” Langbakk said.

Shrinking pay gap

Lithuania’s scores are lower than the EU’s scores in all domains except work. Gender inequalities are most pronounced in the domain of power (32.5 points) and time (50.6 points).

Although much lower than other member states, Lithuania’s score is highest in the domain of health (79.8 points). Lithuania’s score in the domain of money has improved the most (+ 7.7 points) since 2005. Progress has been reversed in the domain of power (- 4.8 points) and time (- 2.9 points) and stalled in the domain of knowledge (+ 0.8 points).

“Work at home, caring for sick children, old parents, doing household chores in Lithuania – there's a very large difference and women do much more. And there's no progress in here,” the EIGE director said.

Langbakk, however, pointed to the positive trend of a shrinking pay gap between men and women.

Read more: Gender pay gap narrows in Lithuania but remains significant

In general, the European Union has been moving towards gender equality at a snail’s pace, the survey shows. With a Gender Equality Index score of 67.4 out of 100, the EU still has a lot of room for improvement.

Sweden (83.6 points) and Denmark (77.5 points) are consistently the most gender-equal societies. Greece (51.2 points) and Hungary (51.9 points) have the longest way to go. Italy and Cyprus have improved the most (+ 13.8 points and + 10.4 points).

LRT has been certified according to the Journalism Trust Initiative Programme