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Gender equality in Spain 'above European average'
EQUALITY between men and women in Spain improved dramatically between 2005 and 2015, and is now well above the European average, according to a recent study.
The Gender Equality Index 2017, drawn up by the European Gender Equality Institute, says 'little progress' has been made in the decade in question across much of the continent, especially concerning the pay gap and time spent on housework and childcare.
The Index evaluates income, education, health, and violence against both genders but women in particular, and places the average for Europe at 66.2 on a scale of 100, or 66.2% - with 0 being the worst and 100 the best.
Five years ago, the average was lower, at 65%, and in 2005, was 62%.
But in Spain, the figure has grown from 62.2% in 2005 to 67.4% in 2012, and then 68.3% in 2015, the most recent year on record.
Whilst the UK, Czech Republic – now officially renamed Czechia – and Slovakia have not improved in a decade, progress has been seen in the six areas studied in Spain, Croatia, Cyprus and Latvia.
Sweden and Denmark continue to top the equality list, whilst the greatest achievements in a decade have been seen in Cyprus and Italy.
Major concerns across the continent are reported in some countries in the last decade, and nearly half of all EU member States have declined in at least one area in that time.
Women were more likely to take on the bulk of housework and childcare in 2015 than in 2005 in Belgium, Germany, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Lithuania, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Hungary, The Netherlands, Finland and Poland.
And improvements in gender equality in the workplace have slowed down in general, with the poorest results seen in Greece, Italy and Slovakia, and the best figures registered in Denmark, Sweden and The Netherlands.
Some of the greatest progress has been in the gender pay gap, especially in Luxembourg, Belgium and Sweden, but women still earn less than men on average for the same work in Romania, Bulgaria and Latvia.
Overall, men earn 20% more than women across the EU, but the figures vary sharply from country to country.
Advances in education levels between gender have been seen, albeit very gradually, in the EU, with the proportion of men and women with a university degree or the equivalent, and who continue in education in some format or another throughout the majority of their adult lives, is now nearly 50-50.
Where inequality persists, and is even growing, says the report, is the amount of time men and women spend on housework and care of dependants.
An almost equal split is seen in The Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, although the most progress in the last decade has been seen in Spain, Latvia and Czechia, whilst the least improvement has been recorded in Belgium, Bulgaria and Slovakia.
Rapid progress has been noticed in political and economic decision-making in Spain and six other nations – Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, The Netherlands and Slovenia – with nearly 40% of MPs being female.
Differences continue in levels of health between genders – men are more physically active, whilst women are tending to smoke and drink more, and often more than men do.
The European Confederation of Syndicates (CES) said the report 'shows that efforts are still needed' to achieve full equality between men and women.
Spain has long had above-average equality in professional roles, with nurses and secretaries just as likely to be men and doctors, engineers, architects and construction workers just as likely to be women, for example.
Widespread campaigns against domestic violence are being carried out, starting with young children in school, and shared custody of children in the event of divorce is on the rise and favoured by family courts.
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