New Index shows positive progress, but need for more work on women’s equal participation in decision-making and power, says Minister of State David Stanton


Minister of State for Equality, Mr. David Stanton T.D., welcomed the launch today in Brussels of the 3rd edition of the Gender Equality Index developed by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE).  Ireland is in 8th position, reflecting the positive developments which have taken place in this area.  It is a composite indicator that measures gender gaps, to the detriment of either women or men, across six core thematic areas – work, money, knowledge, time, power and health, and two further satellite domains – violence, and intersecting inequalities. The full report is available on the EIGE web site ( Congratulating EIGE on its publication of the Index, Minister Stanton said,

“The latest edition of the Gender Equality Index, published today, is an invaluable tool for policy makers. The Index provides an indication of where Member States stand in absolute and relative terms in progress towards gender equal societies and gives us a further incentive to press ahead with that work.

Ireland has been steadily progressing in this area as is apparent from the Index.  We lie in 8th position of the 28 Member States with a score of 69.5 points, some 3.3 points ahead of the EU average.  And, of course, these are results from 2015.  Since then, we have continued to progress and the Programme for a Partnership Government contains significant commitments in the area of gender equality.” 

In relation to the core domains, Ireland’s performance is variable, but with scores above the EU average on all domains -

Minister Stanton remarked that the new Index highlights the steady progress made in Ireland since 2005, with increased scores in four of the six domains. Highlighting the improvements in the domain of Power, he noted that:

Improved gender balance on State boards in the areas of public broadcasting and public research funding contributed to increasing Ireland’s score in this domain by almost 10 points between 2005 and 2015. The Index clearly illustrates that effective interventions can achieve significant impact. In May of this year, the Tánaiste and I launched the National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020. My focus is now firmly on implementation of its 139 actions, which span all domains. Addressing the gender imbalance in power is a priority and the Strategy includes 17 actions with the specific objective of advancing women in leadership at all levels.


Note for Editors:

The website of the European Institute for Gender Equality ( contains the entire report and additional background information. 

The Gender Equality Index was developed by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) and first published in 2013. It provides an easily interpretable measure of gender equality in the EU, between Member States and across time, and is specifically designed to reflect key EU policy areas – reflected in its six core domains of work, money, knowledge, time, power and health. It provides a score between 1 and 100, with100 marking the best situation, that provides information on both the gender gaps and the overall performance of Member States and the EU-28 on average.

The Gender Equality Index 2017, launched on 11 October in Brussels, enables an assessment of the progress made since 2005 in aiming for gender equality. New editions of the Index have been compiled every 2 years since 2013. It provides scores for the years 2005, 2010, 2012 and 2015. As the methodology has been updated, the scores of the 3rd edition are not comparable with those of the previous editions. Accordingly, the Index has been recalculated in respect of the years 2005, 2010 and 2012 to keep the time series intact and to allow for meaningful comparison over time.

Between 2005 and 2015 advances have been made, with the score for the EU-28 having risen from 62.0 in 2005 to 65.0 in 2012, and to 66.2 in 2015.

In comparison to the EU-28 average, Ireland has experienced a more pronounced progress. Ireland’s score increased by 7.6 points, from 61.9 out of 100 in 2005 to 69.5 in 2015. Ireland also now scores above the EU-28 average on all domains. The most significant changes in the domains of the Gender Equality Index between 2005 and 2015 in Ireland occurred in the domains of power (up 16.5 points), knowledge (up 5.6 points) and money (up 5.2 points). .

In 2015, in the domain of power, political decision-making remained male dominated with approximately 80% of ministers, members of parliament and of regional assemblies being men. In economic decision-making, women’s share of the membership of the boards of the largest quoted companies was approximately 14%, while women were 27% of members of the central bank. In decision-making in the social sphere, membership was gender-balanced on the boards of public research funding bodies and publicly funded broadcasting organisations. However, women held only 16% of the board membership of national sports bodies.

Gender segregation in fields of study contributed most to the gender gap in the domain of knowledge. Similarly, gender segregation in occupations and the lower participation rate of women in employment contributed most to the gender gap in the domain of work. The domain of time showed that women were overrepresented in care activities, and underrepresented among workers who were involved in social activities outside of the home. In the health domain, the main contributor to the remaining gender gap was the higher proportion of men than women who smoked or were involved in harmful drinking.