Equality: women and men are not yet equal worldwide

Women and men are still far from equal. Equality in all social, political and economic spheres is still proceeding slowly. This is the result of the 2019 Gender Equality Index of the European Institute for Gender Equality, for one. This is made up of EU countries’ scores in six categories related to gender: Work, Money, Education, Time, Power and Health. In addition, there are factors such as violence against women.

The index score for the entire EU rose from 66.2 out of 100 points in 2015 to 67.4 points in 2019. Sweden achieves the highest index value of all countries at 83.6. Greece is in last place with 51.2 points. Germany is also below average with 66.9 points, albeit only slightly.

This is the state of gender equality in the EU

A survey by Ipsos in collaboration with International Women’s Day and the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership also revealed that there are still major hurdles on the road to greater gender equality. More than 18.000 people in 27 countries surveyed.

In Latin American countries, men still enjoy many advantages

Almost every second German (44 percent) believes that it is still an advantage to be a man in today’s world. Conversely, just one in ten (12 percent) is convinced that being a woman is more advantageous overall in Germany. Around three in ten people (28 percent) think that in this country it makes little difference which gender you belong to. In many other regions of the world, people see even more advantages in being a man. Men are considered particularly privileged in Latin American countries such as Chile (72 percent), Colombia (64 percent) or Argentina (62 percent).

Little identification with the concept of feminism

So people are well aware of the inequality that still exists between men and women. For a clear majority of all respondents, achieving more equality is therefore also an important personal concern – both in Germany and globally (65 percent each). Yet only one in three (33 percent) worldwide would describe themselves as feminists. In the Federal Republic, the term feminism has an even greater stigma attached to it: Only three out of ten German women (28 percent) define themselves as feminists. Among men in this country, not even one in five (18 percent) can identify with this term.

What moves women

Declining interest in the topic of gender equality

It is also striking that the approval ratings for equality have fallen sharply compared with previous years. While in 2018, three-quarters of Germans (74 percent) said that gender equality was important to them personally, only two-thirds of respondents (65 percent) did so a year later. The proportion of people who describe themselves as feminists has fallen by a total of five percentage points (from 28 percent to 23 percent).

At the same time, the proportion of those who are convinced that enough has already been done in Germany with regard to gender equality is increasing. More than four out of ten men (43 percent) agreed with this statement, compared with 34 percent a year earlier. German women see a much greater need for action, but even among them the proportion for whom the issue of equality is losing importance is rising (increase from 25 percent to 28 percent).

Unequal pay the biggest gender equality problem in Germany

Nonetheless, many respondents hold the view that women still face major hurdles on the road to full equality. In Germany, the unequal pay of women and men is viewed critically above all: One in three Germans (32 percent) rate this as one of the most serious problems facing women in today’s society. Sexual harassment ranks as the second most important gender equality issue in our country (17 percent), followed by sexual violence (15 percent) and the lack of women in leadership positions (12 percent).

Globally, the issues of sexual harassment (30 percent), sexual violence (27 percent) and physical violence (22 percent) are considered particularly important.

WORLDWIDE women men

© Feodora, AdobeStock

December 2019

This article is from the December 2019 issue of the journal "Living and Working Abroad.".

The journal is published monthly free of charge with many informative articles on foreign topics.

Published by the BDAE, the expert on coverage abroad.

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