Eastern Europe and Central Asia
With an average remaining gender gap of 30%, the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region scores in the upper middle of the range of the Global Gender Gap Index, practically tied with the Latin America and Caribbean region. Slovenia, Latvia and Estonia, the top-ranked countries in the region, have closed 79%, 75% and 75% of their overall gender gaps, respectively, while the three lowest-ranked countries—Slovak Republic, Hungary and Armenia—have closed between 68% to 67% of their overall gender gap. Out of the 26 countries in the region, one country—Latvia—has fully closed both its Educational Attainment and Health and Survival gender gaps, while another three countries have fully closed their Educational Attainment gender gaps and another five are on the verge of doing so. Two other countries from the region have fully closed their Health and Survival gender gap; however, three others—Azerbaijan, Albania and Armenia—are among the 10 lowest-performing countries in the entire Index on this subindex.
Out of the 26 countries from the region covered by the Index this year, 13 countries have increased their overall score compared to last year, while 12 have decreased their overall scores. One new country joined the Index this year.
Slovenia (8) is the region’s top performer and manages to defend its ranking in the global top ten for the second year running, having been one of the fastest-improving countries over the past decade. This year, progress has come particularly from an increase in wage equality for similar work. Similarly, the Baltic states—Latvia (18), Estonia (22) and Lithuania (25)—continue to make progress on closing their gender gaps, with improvements particularly in female representation in politics and among legislators, senior officials and managers. However, after a significant increase last year, Estonia records a reversal on the latter indicator as well as a slight decline in overall female labour force participation and estimated earned income, leading to a decrease on its Economic Participation and Opportunity score.
Moldova (26) maintains last year’s ranking and is followed by Belarus (30), which has made progress on closing its income gender gap this year. The country also maintains its strong performance on the number of female legislators, senior officials and managers as well as professional and technical workers, with more than 70% of the latter positions occupied by women. Poland (38) sees strong improvements in closing its income gender gap and improving wage equality and women parliamentarians, resulting in a significant increase in rank this year. Both Bulgaria (41) and Serbia (48) have increased wage equality, however, Serbia also sees a widening gender gap for legislators, senior officials and managers. Kazakhstan (51) has widened its Economic Participation and Opportunity gender gap, due to a slight decline in women’s labour force participation and estimated earned income. However, it has also increased women in parliament. Albania (62) climbs several ranks on the back of progress towards closing its gender gap in primary and secondary school enrolment, making up for some of its slow progress on these dimensions over the past decade, while Croatia (68) continues to slide in rank, due to a significant decrease in its number of female members of parliament. Macedonia, FYR (73), meanwhile, records a decrease in female legislators, senior officials and managers, and also re-opens its Educational Attainment gender gap.
Ukraine (69) sees good progress in closing its gender gap for legislators, senior officials and managers; however, this is offset by decreases in women’s estimated earned income and overall labour force participation. Similarly, the Russian Federation (75) maintains its ranking despite small decreases in women’s estimated earned income and wage equality. It remains among the lowest-ranked countries in the region on the Political Empowerment subindex. Romania (76) has widened its gender gap across all dimensions of the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex, while the Czech Republic (77) records small improvements across the same subindex. The Kyrgyz Republic (81), meanwhile, sees a large increase in its share of women legislators, senior officials and managers, but this progress is cancelled out by widening gender gaps in labour force participation, estimated earned income, and women parliamentarians, leading to a decrease in overall ranking.
Bosnia and Herzegovina (83) enters the Global Gender Gap Index for the first time, with closed primary, secondary and tertiary education gender gaps as well as scores above the Eastern Europe and Central Asia regional average on the Political Empowerment subindex. However, its gender gap in Economic Participation and Opportunity remains wide.
Azerbaijan (86) has achieved a significant improvement in its ranking due to a narrowing gender gap in earned income; wage equality; legislators, senior officials and managers; and women parliamentarians. However, it remains among the lowest-ranked countries in the world on the Health and Survival subindex. By contrast, rankings for both Montenegro (89) and Georgia (90) have slid due to a widening Economic Participation and Opportunity gender gap.
The Eastern Europe and Central Asia regional table is completed by Tajikistan (93), Slovak Republic (94), Armenia (102) and Hungary (101)—all but the last of which see small improvements in their rankings this year. Notable improvements include a narrowing of the tertiary enrolment gender gap in Tajikistan and of the estimated earned income gender gap in Armenia. However, Armenia still records the second-lowest female-to-male sex ratio at birth in the world, just above China’s, while Hungary continues to be the region’s lowest-performing country with regard to closing the Political Empowerment gender gap.