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Women in STEM catching up step by step new EU data shows

Although the EU is making strides towards gender equality, only 2 % of its population is
close. The new EU Gender Equality Index shows the biggest annual jump in the overall
score in the history of the Index ever: 70.2 points out of 100. Women are step by step
catching up with science technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) job demands,
the report by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) says.
The report was published the same day as women in Iceland, including Prime Minister Katrín
Jakobsdóttir, refused to work in protest at the gender pay gap and gender-based violence
and the EU Parliament committees and delegations has a series of discussions and public
hearings on the theme of ‘Gender Equality: What’s next?’.
“The Gender Equality Index has increased by 1.6 points since the previous release, scoring
70.2 points in 2023. Sweden is the only country to exceed 80 points, indicating that only 2 %
of the EU population is close to achieving gender equality.”

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“The latest progress captures the resilience in the pursuit of gender equality following the
COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the outcomes of longer lasting trends.”
“Since 2010, the Index score has increased by 7.1 points overall, at a rate of 0.6 points per
year. The longer-term progress is mainly driven by the positive developments in the domain
of power, which has increased by 17.2 points in the last decade.”
Carlien Scheele, EIGE’s Director, says that over the years, the EU has made progress
towards gender equality. “But we are also aware that it is not enough, and gains are fragile.
”Top performing countries such as Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark continue to lead
the way in the Index – as they have done over a decade”, the report says.
“On the other end, we see countries like Italy, Portugal, Luxembourg and Malta who despite
scoring below the EU average, have made vast improvements in gender equality in the last
10 years. So, when countries put in place measures, the pace in progress picks up.”
The report says that the gender care gap is shrinking. But not because men are shouldering
more of the care work.
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“Women are doing less. Assisting technologies, home delivery services or increased
women’s employment could have contributed to this change. But technology can only
support some change by outsourcing a portion of care duties. Structural change will be
needed to go the last mile – as Claudia Goldin, professor of economics and 2023 Nobel
Prize winner, puts it “We’re never going to have gender equality until we also have couple
equity”.
“For the first time in 10 years, the number of women in parliaments and women on boards
has converged at 33%.”
“Legislation leads the way for significant change. Legislated quotas in eight EU Member
States helped to break the glass ceiling in companies, seeing more women at the top –
bringing more innovation, creativity and productivity to the boardrooms. The Gender Balance
on Corporate Boards Directive – approved last year –will hopefully keep the momentum up
and have a spillover effect on other EU Member States”, The EIGE says.
“Now, we need more targeted action in parliaments to speed up progress in the political
sphere – especially with the European Parliamentary elections in 2024.”
“There has been progress in the area of work, particularly regarding flexible working
opportunities. But it is striking that the labour market remains as gender segregated today as
it was 10 years ago.”
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“As the digital and green transition takes shape, more and more new jobs are created –
requiring reskilling and upskilling to meet new and evolving demands in the labour market.
Women are not as involved as they could be. They are step by step catching up with science
technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) job demands, but the share of men in
education, health and welfare (EHW) occupations is frozen.”
“The green transition will not just create the demand for STEM skills, but it will also create
new demands in the care sector where there is a shortage of people.”
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