Eastern Europe and Central Asia
With an average remaining gender gap of 29.4%, the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region scores in the upper middle of the range of the Global Gender Gap Index, overtaking the Latin America and Caribbean region this year. Slovenia, Bulgaria and Latvia, the top-ranked countries in the region, score in the top 20 of the overall Index and have closed 80%, 76% and 76% of their overall gender gap, respectively, while the three lowest-ranked countries—Armenia, Azerbaijan and Hungary—have closed between 68% to 67% of their overall gender gap. Five of the 26 countries in the region—Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovak Republic and Slovenia—have fully closed both their Health and Survival and Educational Attainment gender gaps, the only countries except Brazil to do so in the entire Index this year. In addition, one other country has fully closed its Educational Attainment gender gap and another four are on the verge of doing so. Seven other countries from the region have fully closed their Health and Survival gender gaps. However, four others—Albania, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia—are among the lowest-performing countries in the entire Index on this subindex.
Out of the 26 countries from the region covered by the Index this year, 18 countries have increased their overall score compared to last year, while eight have decreased their overall scores.
Slovenia (7) is the region’s top performer and manages to defend its ranking in the global top 10 for the third year running, having been one of the fastest-improving countries over the past decade. Bulgaria (18) rises more than twenty spots on the overall Index this year to become the second-ranked country in the region. This is due to notable progress on the Political Empowerment subindex, in particular with regard to gender parity in ministerial and parliamentary positions. The Baltic states—Latvia (20), Lithuania (28) and, in particular, Estonia (37)—have experienced a reversal on their significant progress on closing their gender gaps from last year. This is attributable to widening gender gaps on the Political Empowerment subindex for all three countries. However, the Baltic countries maintain their strong performance on fully closing both their Educational Attainment and Health and Survival gender gaps. By contrast to the former, Belarus (26) maintains last year’s progress. Moldova (30) continues its strong multi-year progress on the number of female legislators, senior officials and managers, and also fully closes its Health and Survival gender gap. Albania (38) climbs up the ranks significantly on the back of notable progress on the Political Empowerment subindex, making up for some of its slow progress on this dimension in past years.
Poland (39) remains stable in its overall Global Gender Gap Index performance, recording progress across several dimensions on the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex, and fully closing its Health and Survival gender gap for the first time. Serbia (40) makes progress on closing its gender gap in ministerial representation and estimated earned income whereas Kazakhstan (52) sees a decrease in the former but an increase in the latter. It nearly closes its Educational Attainment gender gap but re-opens its Health and Survival gender gap. Croatia (54) reverses last year’s slide in rank, with notable increases in the country’s share of female legislators, senior officials and managers as well as women in parliament, while Romania (58) makes notable progress on closing its gender gap in Political Empowerment, despite a small decrease in wage equality for similar work. Ukraine (61), by contrast, sees its biggest improvement this year on the wage equality for similar work dimension.
Bosnia and Herzegovina (66) and Macedonia, FYR (67) are nearly tied this year, with both countries making progress in closing their gender gaps on Political Empowerment; in particular, the number of women in ministerial posts. Both countries, however, also see small decreases on gender parity in healthy life expectancy and basic literacy. The Russian Federation (71) climbs several ranks due to improvements in women’s share of parliamentary and ministerial positions; however, it remains among the lowest-ranked countries in the region—and the world as a whole—on the Political Empowerment subindex. In addition, it fully closes the Health and Survival gender gap for the first time since 2006.
The Slovak Republic (74) and Montenegro (77) both record notable improvements in their gender parity performance this year—the former with regard to ministerial roles, the latter with regard to parliamentarians—while the Czech Republic (88) slips several ranks. The Kyrgyz Republic (85) ranks ahead of Tajikistan (95). They are joined in the bottom ranks of the regional table by other Caucasus states—Georgia (94), Armenia (97) and Azerbaijan (98)—which remain among the worst-performing countries globally on the Health and Survival subindex, recording some of the lowest female-to-male sex ratios at birth in the world, just above China’s. Hungary (103) takes the bottom spot in the region. Despite improvements regarding women’s share of estimated earned income, it continues to be the region’s, and one of the world’s, lowest-performing countries with regard to closing the Political Empowerment gender gap.