Portugal Ranks in the Bottom Half Among Other EU Countries on Gender Equality, But Appears to Be Improving

Portugal placed number 16 out of the 28 EU member states in a recent gender equality ranking. The country still has a lot of room for improvement.

Portugal ranked 16th among the 28 EU member states in a recent ranking. With a score of 61.3 out of 100, it lies six points behind the EU average of 67.9.

Each country was ranked by the European Institute for Gender Equality in their Gender Equality Index (GEI) for 2020 on a basis of six criteria: work, money, knowledge, time, power, and health. Portugal received its highest score in health (84.6) — but the country ranked 20th in comparison to rest of the EU. Portugal also apparently performed well in work (72.9) and money (72.8) — but there’s a caveat, as the report notes that the country has had a setback in these areas in comparison to its 2010 results. The GEI indicates that the country showed minimal growth in these fields, and that they lost standing. 

The domains where Portugal showed the most improvement are in those where it got the lowest scores. In the criterion of time, which contemplates the time women have for care and social activities, it got a score of 47.5, which represented an 8.8 point increase compared to 10 years ago, and in the area of power Portugal saw its greatest leap forward, with a 16.2 improvement — but a disappointing final score of 51.1, which was 2.4 points below the EU average. 

The GEI found that Portugal is demonstrating steady improvement, and that its rate of moving towards gender equality is faster than other EU states: overall, Portugal moved up four places since 2010.  

However, the real question now is, is this rate fast enough? The GEI for 2020 found that the EU is 60 years away from reaching gender equality. Continuing at the same rate is asking 51% of the EU population to wait just shy of a lifetime to reach equality. And this is not taking matters like class and race into account, which add another layer of complexity to gender inequality.  If you want to see how other EU countries scored, take a look at the results.


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One Response

  1. I would like to respond to your article on gender inequality in Portugal.
    First I want to say thanks for your site, I’m an older immigrant to Portugal and retired here with my husband in October 2020 from Costa Rica and have not yet found my way around with the language and the ways here. He is American and I am British, although these days I like to call myself a child of the universe given the awful isolationism the country of my birth has chosen to take.
    I have to say I have been increasingly irritated by the gender inequality in Portugal. Everything from being put in second place behind my husband on everything from the deed to our house to being placed behind him on our bank accounts. At first I kind of ‘grinned and bared it’, thinking, well its a new country to us and “when in Rome do as the Romans do” but I have decided to make a bit of a fuss about it. I have dealt with gender discrimination all my life and at 68 years old I have had enough.
    Firstly, I plan by opening my own checking account, not because we are not equal with each other in terms of our assets but because the bank sees me as a second class citizen in terms of our assets.
    Secondly, inheritance laws state that should my husband die, our assets are immediately split between the survivor AND our children 50/50. I recognize why this would have made sense decades ago but now I resent the state telling me or my husband that we must split our assets between our children. Our assets were earned by both of us equally in our lifetimes and in the last 20 years prior to retirement with a business we co-owned. They are our assets and in our view should become the sole property of the surviving spouse upon the death of the other, regardless of whether its the husband or the wife. This becomes a gender inequality issue when one considers that the wife generally outlives the husband and automatically the law states the assets must be split 50/50 with the surviving spouse and the children of the couple. We each have children from former marriages, all living in other countries. Two of those children have become estranged over the years while other children we see and interact with regularly and moved here to Portugal partly to be closer to. Why then should the children who have not made efforts to engage with us over the years (despite our trying to have a relationship with them) inherit part of our estate? I’m not sure if our intention to leave our assets to the surviving spouse instead of being split with the children can be changed with a Will but we intend to see a lawyer to state our intentions and be included in the Will.
    I have fought my entire life for gender equality and don’t intend to stop now.

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