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Digitalisation and the future of work – Gender Equality Index 2020

On 29th October, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) presented the results of its Gender Equality Index (GEI) 2020 in an online conference which focuses exceptionally this year on “Digitalisation and the future of work”, and its consequences for gender equality. For EIGE’s 2020 Index, please click here.

The conference gathered key EU representatives such as Helena Dalli, EU Commissioner for Equality, and Evelyn Regner, Chair of the European Parliament’s Gender Equality Committee.
EIGE is a European Agency based in Vilnius (Lithuania) whose mission is to strengthen gender equality across the EU. The Agency was established to address the challenges of and promoting equality between women and men across the European Union, and to provide robust and sound research and data on gender inequalities in different areas of life.

EIGE’s Index offers European comparison and examples of good practices, and gives visibility to areas that need improvement. It covers a range of indicators in the domains of work, money, knowledge, time, power and health. Lastly, the GEI also integrates two additional domains: violence and intersecting inequalities.

The report underlines that the EU continues at snail’s pace when it comes to gender equality progress, showing that the EU’s score for gender equality is up just half a point since last year (67.9 points and 67.4 points respectively). At the current pace, the EU is at least 60 years away from reaching complete gender equality.

Sweden, Denmark and France remain, as last year, the top-3 EU Member States with best gender quality. Italy, Luxembourg and Malta experienced the largest improvements in gender equality since the first GEI’s edition in 2010.

Unfortunately, the GEI does not take account of the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic but the following reports will do so, especially regarding health.

In order to improve Gender Equality, EIGE recommends the following policies, which are in line with the ones COFACE Families Europe have always been promoted:

  1. Work-Life Balance policies that encourage a more even house tasks and carework
  2. More recognition and improved working conditions in the care sector
  3. Need to challenge gender stereotypes early on in the school system

The EIGE report also provides country-specific fiches of the Gender Equality Index, so one can see how their country performs in all the Gender Equality areas and in the thematic focus on digitalisation. Please click here to access to the fiches.

The GEI is not for comparing countries. As EIGE’s Director Carlien Scheele underlined in an exchange of views with MEPs, “every Member State should read its thematic fiche and focus on the parts where they are lagging behind”.

Regarding digitalisation and its impact on gender equality, the GEI underlines, on the one hand, the positive effects the former can have on the latter. Indeed, assistive technologies can have a great impact on carers, and namely closing the gender care gap:

  1. Support autonomous living
  2. Support carers in coordinating services
  3. Improve the quality of life for carers and care recipients

Furthermore, the GEI underlines that work-life balance could be boosted by the use of technology, but only under certain conditions, for instance the availability of childcare. But technology can as well carry certain risks and challenges (eg: working overtime, major control by employers, lack of flexibility) which can jeopardise work-life balance.

For more information, contact Pascual Martinez, pmartinez@coface-eu.org

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