Latvia in 16th place in Europe gender equality-wise; Sweden and Denmark in the lead

On Monday, 24 October, European Institute for Gender Equality published the European Gender Equality Index 2022. In it Latvia is in 16th place among 27 member states, as reported by Latvian Ministry of Welfare.
Latvia received a score of 61.4 out of 100, where 100 indicates full equality. According to the ministry, it is 0.7 points lower when compared to the country’s score of 2021.
The index is based on data from 2020 in areas like knowledge, money, employment, power, time, and health.
This year focus was on the consequences from the Covid-19 pandemic and the negative effect on the progress made in gender equality. In addition, the 2022 index also looked at and analysed gender-related violence and domestic violence.
Considering that results of the index is based on data from the year 2020, they indicate the influence the Covid-19 pandemic had on gender equality. Women are more often hired in jobs related to care. At the same time, the service sector, which traditionally has a high level of women employed, was one of the sectors hit the hardest by the pandemic. Covid-19 pandemic also caused a sharp increase of cases involving domestic violence.

The sector in which Latvia has the highest score is healthcare (79.3). At the same time, it is the third lowest index in the European Union, where the average index is 88.7.

Latvia also has a high score in the field of employment – 75.2, which is higher than the average in Europe (71.7).
In regards to employment, between 2010 and 2020 the full-time equivalent employment level in Latvia has increased from 44% to 50% among women and from 49% to 61% for men, increasing the difference between genders in regards to employment from five percentage points to 11 points.
The biggest difference between men and women is observed in groups of people with low and medium education level and less among men and women with higher education. At the same time, a worrying trend is observed when the gap between genders increases between men and women with higher education.

Latvia’s score is the lowest when it comes to knowledge (47.7) and power (50.9). Additionally, Latvia is last among European Union member states when it comes to knowledge.

In terms of money or income, where the index compares women’s and men’s access to financial and economic resources, as well as poverty risks, Latvia’s score is 69.4, which is the second lowest index in the European Union.
According to available data, between 2010 and 2020 the risk of poverty for women has increased from 20% to 25%, whereas for men the risk has remained unchanged – 20%. Poverty risk is the highest for older women and women with low education.

In 2020 nearly every second woman in Latvia aged 65 years (44%) was subjected to the risk of poverty.

Gender inequality in Latvia is also observed when it comes to power, where Latvia’s score is 50.9. Since 2010 Latvia’s score has increased significantly (by 16.1). It remains below the average level in the European Union – 57.2. When it comes to time, however, Latvia’s score is 65.8, which is slightly below the average score in the European Union – 64.9.
The index also included the topic of violence, in which Latvia has the highest index among EU member states. According to official data, in 2020 a partner, family member or relative in 17 EU member states killed 788 women.

In 2020 a total of 16 women were killed by their family members in Latvia. Six women were killed by their partner.

As for psychological violence, Latvia and Denmark have some of the highest indexes among EU women who have suffered from psychological violence – 60% of women in Latvia have experienced psychological violence throughout their lives.
European Institute for Gender Equality is an independent European agency created in order to promote gender equality. The institute began operations in 2010. The gender equality index is published every year.