Lack of women in govt pushes Lithuania down EU gender equality rankings

  • 2019-10-15
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuania has dropped from 19th to 23rd position in the European Institute for Gender Equality's Gender Equality Index over the past two years

Having presented the survey results in Brussels on Monday, EIGE director Virginija Langbakk told BNS Lithuania that Lithuania scored the 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 government 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.

Currently in Lithuania only one ministry out of 14 is lead by a woman, with the EIGE director saying that it fails to show any major progress in ensuring gender equality in the country.

In an UN report in March on the number of female ministers in governments, Lithuania and another ten countries found themselves in the bottom of the list as Lithuania had an only-men government at the time.

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

With 55.5 out of 100 points, Lithuania ranks 23rd in the EU on the Gender Equality Index. Its score is 11.9 points lower than the EU 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). Lithuania is progressing towards gender equality at a slower pace than other Member States. Lithuania’s ranking is seven positions lower than in 2005.

Lithuania’s scores are lower than the EU’s scores in all domains, except for the domain of 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 regressed 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 tendency that a pay gap between men and women is shrinking.

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).