New Study: Best Countries in Europe for Workplace Gender Equality


May 17, 2016

Despite dramatic progress toward gender equality in recent decades, much remains to be done.

Around the world, studies routinely find women are less likely to participate in the labor market, are underrepresented among C-suite and top government positions, and earn lower pay than their male counterparts—even when working in similar job titles, with similar levels of experience and education.[1]

Today we released our newest study, conducted by Llewellyn Consulting, titled Which Countries in Europe Have the Best Gender Equality in the Workplace? The study gives a 30,000-foot view of workplace gender equality throughout Europe.

Rather than focusing narrowly on differences in pay between men and women, it takes a broad view of gender equality, examining employment rates between men and women; female representation on corporate boards; the “cost of motherhood” in terms of lower wages for mothers; and other factors.

The key takeaway is shown in the figure below. It’s a heat-map-style ranking of 18 European countries and the U.S. in terms of overall gender equality in the workplace. Green denotes the best-rated countries, while red denotes the worst-rated.

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Overall, we found the famously progressive havens of Sweden, Norway, and Finland ranked highest for best overall gender equality. By contrast, Greece, Italy and Ireland ranked as having the lowest overall gender equality in the workplace. The United States ranked near the middle of the pack for workplace gender equality, ranking 8th among the 18 countries.

At Glassdoor, we’ve long been at the forefront of promoting pay transparency and workplace fairness around the world. By helping European job seekers better understand which countries offer the highest degree of gender equality at work, we hope this report contributes to that goal.

[1] Source: Andrew Chamberlain (2016) “Demystifying the Gender Pay Gap: Evidence from Glassdoor Salary Data,” Glassdoor Economic Research report (https://www.glassdoor.com/research/studies/gender-pay-gap/).