EIGE Domains

The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) is an autonomous body of the European Union, established to contribute to and strengthen the promotion of gender equality, including gender mainstreaming in all EU policies and the resulting national policies, and the fight against discrimination based on sex, as well as to raise EU citizens’ awareness of gender equality.

The GenderTime team adopted the seven domains and twelve sub-domains of Gender equality in academia and research centers developed by EIGE and used to build the European GEI, https://eige.europa.eu/news/eige-launches-gender-equality-index-2015-mar....

  • Access to fund

  • Quality of work

  • Space for work

  • Time for Care

  • Work

    It is used to measure to which extent women and men can enjoy the same rights in this area, in particular this domain concentrates on equal access to employment and appropriate working conditions.

    It comprises some sub-domains, respectively participation and segregation and quality of work; it is also important to report here that after the updating of 2012, there has been an adjustment in this domain regarding the indicators used in order to have the final score. The adjusted indicators that measure “participation” are duration of working life and participation rates in employment in full-time equivalence, whereas the two indicators of segregation and quality of work have been replaced by one adjusted indicator measuring data belonging to both.

    Importantly, when constructing the indicator of “segregation” they left the vertical segregation untouched, taking into consideration only the sectorial one through the measurement of the participation of women and men in the sectors of Education, Human Health and Social work Activities.

    This gap is explained through the idea of the will of the creators of the “Gender Equality Index” of avoiding overlaps among indicators: essentially, this area is partly covered in the “Money” domain with data related to the “gender pay gap”.


  • Gender pay gap

  • Money

    Designing “money” as one of the domains on which the Gender Equality Index is based is due to two important reasons: firstly, the will to address the degrading phenomenon of the feminisation of poverty and the differences in income, and then more generally to assess the equality in the chances women and men have to access financial resources.

    Basically, this domain consists of indicators measuring how far each Member States is (and even the European Union as a whole) to reach the equal economic independence of women and men; the composite domain is formed by two sub-domains, respectively called “financial resources” and “economic situation”. 

    As for what regards the first indicator, which measures the differences in income and in monthly earnings in each country between women and men, it is measured through the so called “artificial currency”, since in the European Union more than one kind of currency is present. They used the “PPS”, that is the “purchasing power standards”[1].

    In spite of the undeniable importance and utility of this indicator, it is essential to underline that is might in certain cases underestimate the real situation, since in order to do the calculation there is the assumption that each member of the household earns equally a part of the income. It does not take into consideration the possibility of gender gaps or facts related to power relations that can alter the distribution of income within the household: however, it gives a quite concise idea of the situation of women throughout Europe in terms of acquired financial resources.

    Basically, except for five Member States, on average until 2010 women were more at risk  of poverty than men, since data showed that gender gap had increased in those years.

    [1]PPS is the technical term used by Eurostat for the common currency in which national accounts aggregates are expressed when adjusted for price level differences when using “purchasing power parities”, which can be interpreted as the exchange rate  of the PPS against the  Euro.


  • Participation

  • Violence

  • Time

    This domain refers to the different way in which women and men handle the concept of “work-life balance”, therefore the different manner in which they allocate their time between the various activities that characterize the everyday life.

    As the others listed before, this domain is divided into two sub-domains which assess respectively the “care activities” and “social activities” (the economic ones are left apart since they are already present in the indicators that measure the women's participation to the labour market).

    Both the caring and social activities are addressed with provisions based on the “Barcelona Targets”, undertaken as a commitment by the European Council to be achieved by 2010, acknowledging that ensuring affordable childcare provisions will help to improve indicators related to equal opportunities in employment. These are respectively: providing childcare to at least 90% of children between 3 years old and the mandatory school age, and to at least 33% of children under 3 years old.

    One ultimate aim that Europe has as regards the “care activities” is to move from a model with one male earner and female carer to a dual model where both man and woman are earners and carers: as matter of fact, this sub-domain evaluates the amount of time spent by women and by men in caring and educating children and their involvement in housework.

    The undeniable fact that for women still seems somehow compulsory to spend more time than men in doing these activities influences different aspects of their life, in particular the career: the gender employment gap is strongly linked to family and care activities, making statisticians state that with the exception of Sweden, Portugal and Slovenia, the employment rate for women with children is surely lower than the one for women without children.

    Interestingly, the way in which women and men handle the allocation of time is close to equal only in one Member State, that is Finland, whereas in the other States there are huge gender-based differences in this ambit. The sub-domain of “social activities”, instead, refers to the gender gap viewed from the perspective of the involvement of women in cultural, leisure of sporting activities.

     Even the assessment of the involvement in these kind of activities presents huge gender-based differences among Member States, as demonstrate the 40% of workers in Finland who participate to these activities and the 3% of workers who did participate in Romania.

    To conclude, in the EU-28, in spite of all the steps forward and the strategies undertaken in these years, the gender gap in activities related to care is still wide and therefore deserves attention, as well as the one related to social activities.



  • Knowledge

    Interestingly, this is a domain in which it is possible to say that the situation did improve since its first assessment by EIGE (still, all that glitters ain't gold: talking about the problem of the  gender-based  segregation,  for  instance,  we  can  say  that  it  remains  largely  untouched and unchanged, as the under-representation of women in different areas is able to show): this domain is based on the collection of data related to the equal access to education and 
    training  between  women  and  men,  which  includes  facts  such  as  the  lifelong  learning provided for both or the attainment of specific levels of education of both.
    Consequently,  the  two  sub-domains  will  logically  be  represented  firstly  by  the “educational attainment and segregation”, which, as mentioned above, is still a strong feature in the EU market, and it represents a concern for policy makers for two basic reasons: it is the  main  and  obvious  motif  for  the  existence  of  the  wage  gap  and  it  is  economically inefficient, since it prevents able and talented people who could work well and bring about improvement of a theoretical and practical nature from moving into sectors that would satisfy them more than the open ones.
    “Lifelong learning” represents the second sub-domain, whose definition is provided by the European Commission and reads: “the share of the population aged 25-64 who stated that they receive formal or non formal education or training in the four weeks preceding the survey”.
    Lifelong  learning,  therefore,  comprises  all  learning  activities  (formal,  non-formal, informal  or  on  a  ongoing  basis)  whose  main  goal  is  the  improvement  of  one's  own knowledge, skills, and competence.
  • Health

    The last core domain concentrates on the existing relationship between gender and health, conceptually implying three different areas: heath status, health behaviours and access to health structures. 

    As for the previous domain, it has been possible to analyse only two of the three conceptualized areas due to the lack of consistent data regarding the area of “health behaviours” (they have shown to be generally not complete or not disaggregated by sex). Each sub-domain is then divided into concepts or “gender indicators”. “Health status” has been divided into “self-perceived health”, characterized by the presence of good data since in 2012 Europe was very close to gender equality in this ambit; “life expectancy in absolute value at birth”, that states that women in 2012 outlived men by an average of 5.6 years; and “healthy life years”, which as the first indicator mentioned, is featured by the presence of good data, as in 2012 the European Union was very close to equality.

    As for what concerns the second sub-domain, “access to health structures”, data confirm that in 2012 Europe narrowed equality in access to medical services between women and men, and this is particularly emphasized by data such as 0.8, which is the percentage points related to gender gap in this ambit in the whole European Union (and also by the fact that there are little and unimportant differences among States too). Still, there are negative data coming from the differences among Member States as regards the level of achievement in meeting medical needs of the total population: for instance, the 99.6% of the total population of Slovenia declares having unmet medical needs and from 2005, in the whole European Union, the percentage of individuals who declare this has significantly increased. Another important aspect of the second sub-domain is the meeting of dental needs, whose data amount to 0.3 when speaking about Europe's average gender gap: in this ambit too, Europe is very close to equality.

    To conclude, we can say that this domain, more than the others, presents a mixed picture, almost touching equality in certain areas and instead having worrying data in others. Indicators of the “Health” domain show that there is the need to address strong efforts in its direction, since it is crucially linked to other fundamental aspects of life such as economic independence or human dignity.

    In the Gender Equality Index Report 2015 we can find, amongst the “key trends” of this domain, the idea that these data confirm the old adage “women get sicker and men die younger”.



  • Power

    This domain focuses on the important differences in the amount of women and men having a key leader position in the working area, therefore it highlights the gender-based balance in decision-making positions. Since the causes for the under-representation of women are multiple and assorted, a comprehensive approach is surely needed in order to tackle the problem at best.

    In the Report of the “Gender Equality Index 2015” we can find the two basic reasons why a gender-balanced representation of power is a priority to be achieved as soon as possible: first, because it regards the equal access of all to the concept of “social justice” and second, because of the notable importance of reaching a gender-balanced representation of the society as a whole and of the positions of power.

     In addition, the European Commission is one of the organs that promotes for the most the achievement of a gender-balanced representation of the society: as a matter of fact, it set out “equality in decision making” as a priority issue in its “Women's Charter”[1] and in the “European Commission's Strategy for Equality between Women and Men”. Besides, it is committed in promoting awareness, networking and exchange of good practices among stakeholders and it cooperates with all of them in order to design and implement EU activities to achieve gender balance in leadership positions.

    This Domain should be divided, conceptually speaking, into three sub-domains, the economic, political and social ones, but unfortunately the social sub-domain of power is covered with too little gender based indicators, therefore leaving space only to the economic and political ones to be analysed by the Index. The political power is measured through the collection of data regarding three different sectors: ministries, parliaments and regional assemblies[2].

    Women's representation in ministerial positions presents good data, reaching its highest point in 2010, when women notably accounted for 25% of all ministers; as regards parliamentary representation, the level of women's representation slightly narrowed starting from 2005, since what we can deduce from the data is that men persist to dominate national parliaments in almost all Member States; in the end, there are huge differences among States as for what concerns data related to regional assemblies' representation.

    In fact, notably in France we have women's representation in regional assemblies close to equal (52% men) but in Hungary we have a worrying percentage of 91% men holding the stage.  On the other hand, the economic power, which stands here for the second sub-domain, is built on the collection of data related to the share of women and men on the boards of the largest quoted national companies and the share of women and men in all key decision-making bodies in central banks throughout the European Union.

    To briefly summarize what we can deduce from the data, the European Union as regards the first aspect of the economic power is far from reaching equal and gender-balanced representation in the ambit of boards of the largest quoted national companies: the nearest Member State to this regard is Finland, with about a third of board positions occupied by women and the worst in this sense is Malta, presenting a percentage of 4% of board positions occupied by women.

    Therefore, we can state that men are even more over-represented in the economic decision-making field than in the political one, as shows the other aspect of the economic power: in Europe men account for 83% members on average of decision-making bodies of central banks, so far rendering the equality in this area just an utopia.

    [1]It has been adopted by the European Commission on the occasion of the 2010 International Women's Day with the aim of achieving an improvement in the promotion of equality between women and men. It undertakes the commitment to take into account “gender equality” in all its policies and activities, listing a series of fields of action for equality between women and men such as “economic independence”, “equal pay”, “representation of women in decision-making and positions of power”, “to end gender based violence” etc.

    [2]Source of information:  DG Justice, alias the European Commission Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers.



  • All