When it comes to gender equality in the workplace, many countries are making strides in introducing progressive policies. A new study conducted by Reboot Digital PR Agency for Women’s Equality Day has unearthed some findings on which country is succeeding!
By evaluating a variety of factors that contribute to women’s success in the workforce, Reboot Digital PR Agency created a points-based index that examines economic opportunity, women in leadership, and maternity leave that determines which European countries offer the best prospects for female professionals.
Which European country is the best for women to work in?
|European Country||Score (out of 300)|
Bulgaria comes first as the best European country for women with a combined total of 236.6 points out of a possible 300. The crown is well and truly deserved with the best maternity leave package in Europe that earns a perfect score of 100 points. Not only so, but Bulgaria also comes in second highest for women in leadership (behind Norway) with 90 points out of 100. The complete database of points can be found here.
Following in second place is Croatia with a combined total of 229.9 points out of 300. Scoring just lower than Bulgaria in maternity leave credentials with a score of 96.6, it seems that the country is also on the right track with the gender pay gap, as it registered the second-highest score of 96.6 out of 100 for economic opportunity. However, the 36.6 points they received for women in leadership shows that there is still work to be done.
In third is Estonia, with a total score of 220.0 points out of 300. Presenting with consistently strong scores across the board, Estonia earns 80 points on both maternity leave and female leadership.
In tenth place is Sweden scoring 166.5 who also lost to Latvia when it comes to economic opportunity (73.3/100) and maternity leave (16.6/100), but still continues to be a leader in equal pay for men and women.
Following in ninth place is Latvia who scored more points for economic opportunity (86.6/100) than traditional economic powerhouses such as the United Kingdom in 12th (66.6/100 points) and Denmark in 15th place (56.6/100). This is primarily driven by the increasing number of women occupying high political positions in the recent years.
A BREAKDOWN OF THE RESULTS: THE 10 ‘BEST’ COUNTRIES IN EUROPE FOR WOMEN TO WORK
- BULGARIA – 236.6 POINTS
Bulgaria is the best European country for women to work, with a combined total of 236.6 points out of a possible 300 in our Women in Work Index.
It is unsurprising that Bulgarian women thrive in the workplace after our analysis found that Bulgaria has one of Europe’s best maternity packages. The country allows mothers to take a minimum of 58.6 weeks off (410 days) – the longest minimum maternity leave in the world – and pays 90% of their full salary during leave. As a result, the country scores a perfect score of 100 out of 100 in our index.
Bulgaria comes in third place for women in leadership, as they are awarded 90 points in our index – 10 points less than Norway in first place. According to our analysis, 22.1% of women hold leadership roles in the country – the fourth highest of all countries studied.
However, Bulgaria finished mid-table for economic opportunity (46.6 points), which predominantly down to being awarded a score of 0.727 in the Global Gender Gap Index 2020 rankings.
- CROATIA – 229.8 POINTS
In second and scoring just 6.7 points less than Bulgaria is Croatia, with a combined total of 229.9 points.
Similarly to Bulgaria, Croatia also offers one of the best maternity leave packages in Europe, resulting in 96.6 points in our index. Croatians parents can expect their full-rate salary for the weeks they take maternity leave, as well as having one of the longest minimum periods for maternity leave (30 weeks, or 210 days).
It seems that the country is also on the right track with the gender pay gap, as it registered the second-highest points for economic opportunity when taking into account wage equality and estimated income (96.6 points), losing out only to Italy who scored an impressive 100 points.
However, the 36.6 points they received for women in leadership shows that there is still work to be done after our research shows that an average of 11.95% of Croatian women hold leadership roles.
- ESTONIA – 220 POINTS
Estonia follows behind with a score of 220 in our study, suggesting they are the third best country in Europe for women to work.
When it comes to maternity packages and the number of women in leadership roles, Estonia is among the top 10 in Europe. With a full paid maternity package and 18.5% of women holding leadership roles in the country – the seventh highest of all countries studied – we have awarded the country a respectable 80 points for both aspects.
With a score of 0.751 in the Global Gender Pay Gap 2020 rankings, Estonia also scores fairly highly for economic opportunities too in our index, with a score of 60 points.
- NORWAY – 209.9 POINTS
Norway comes in fourth place in our index, scoring an impressive 209.9 points.
Bearing in mind Norway is the most gender-equal country in the world, it should come as no surprise that Norway is the best European country for offering leadership roles to women. In fact, according to analysis, a quarter of CEO or Executive roles in the country are held by women (24.8%).
When it comes to economic opportunities, Norwegian women also fare well, scoring 0.8442 in the Gender Pay Gap Index rankings in 2020. As a result, we have awarded the Scandinavian country 83.3 points in our very own index, which is sixth place.
However, despite being one of the most egalitarian countries in Europe, Norway has one of the worst maternity packages for mothers. They offer mothers 94% of their full salary during their maternity leave, but the country offers just 13 weeks of paid leave (19 days), which is among the worst in the world. As a result, they have been awarded a mediocre score of 26.6 points out of a possible 100.
- SLOVAKIA – 209.9 POINTS
In joint fourth with Norway is Slovakia, also scoring 209.9 points in our study.
The central European country ranks third and fifth for their maternity packages and women in leadership roles. Offering three-quarters of a mother’s wage whilst on maternity leave and 19.75% of Slovakian women holding Executive or CEO roles, the country has been awarded 93.3 and 83.3 points respectively.
However, the country doesn’t do so well when it comes to the gender pay gap. Our research can reveal that the country is among the bottom 10 European countries in the Gender Gap Index 2020 rankings, scoring 0.718. As a result, our index has awarded Slovakia just 33.3 points.
5. THE NETHERLANDS – 206.5 POINTS
Following closely behind in fifth is The Netherlands, 3.4 points less than Norway and Slovakia, with a score of 206.5 in our Women in Work Index.
Dutch women have one of the best gender equality gaps when it comes to money, scoring an impressive 93.3 points when taking into account wage equality and estimated income and coming in third.
The Netherlands comes just shy of the top 10 for maternity leave packages, resulting in a score of 56.5 points. This is because, even though the country offers 100% full-paid leave for parents, they offer just 16 weeks of minimum maternity leave (112 days), which is 43.6 weeks less than Bulgaria in first place.
Holland scores 56.6 points for leadership roles too, ranking in 13th out of the 30 European countries studied. Our analysis found that 15.5% of Dutch women work in positions of leadership, which is better than neighbouring countries Belgium (10.55%) and Germany (6.75%).
- SLOVENIA – 199.9 POINTS
Falling just below 200 is Slovenia, with a score of 199.9 points in our study.
According to our research, Slovenian women can expect fair economic job opportunities, resulting in 80 points and ranking in seventh in our Women in Work Index. Slovenia also ranks in eighth for the number of women working in leadership roles, with 17.3% of women holding CEO or Executive level.
Despite offering mothers their full-rate salary for the weeks they take maternity leave; Slovenia allows only 15 weeks paid leave – 105 days. As a result, the country sits in the middle of the list for maternity packages, ranking in 16th place and scores 46.6 points.
- ROMANIA – 196.6 POINTS
The seventh best place for women to work in Europe is Romania, with a score of 196.6 points in our index.
According to our analysis, 23.55% of women in Romania hold leadership roles, ranking in second place out of the 30 European countries studied and scoring an impressive score of 96.6 in our index. Neighbouring Bulgaria also ranks among the top five for leadership, suggesting Eastern European countries are among the best for promoting women to CEO or Executive roles.
However, when it comes to economic opportunities and maternity packages, Romanian women sit slap bang in the middle of the European countries studied (15th), scoring 50 points respectively.
- ITALY – 179.9 POINTS
Following behind in eighth is Italy with 179.9 points – 16.7 points less than Romania.
We found that Italian women have the best economic opportunities of all 30 European countries studied, taking into account wage equality for similar work and estimated income. As a result, Italy was awarded 100 points in our index and comes in first place.
Italy also ranks among the top 10 for maternity packages (8th), with the country offering women 80% pay whilst on leave and one of the longest minimum maternity leaves in the world (21.7 weeks, or 151 days), resulting in a score of 73.3 points in our index.
However, when it comes to gender equality, Italy needs to do more. Our research found that just 6.55% of women hold a position of authority in Italy – the third lowest of all 30 countries we studied.
- LATVIA – 166.6 POINTS
In ninth place is Latvia, scoring 166.6 points in our Women in Work Index.
Latvia has the fifth best economic opportunities for women and was awarded a score of 0.785 in the Global Gender Pay Gap Index 2020 rankings, resulting in an impressive score of 86.6 points.
However, when it comes to women in leadership and maternity packages, Latvia could do better. With 14.45% of women classed as a CEO or an Executive, and the country paying mothers 80% of their wage for just 16 weeks (112 days), we have awarded the country with 50 points for leadership (15th) and 30 points for their maternity benefits (21st).
- SWEDEN – 166.5 POINTS
Rounding off the top 10 best places to be a woman and work in Europe is Sweden – the second Scandinavian country in the top 10 – scoring 166.5 points in our index.
The country fares best when it comes to leadership after our research found that 18.45% of Swedish women are in positions of power (CEO or Executive), thus scoring 76.6 points and ranking in seventh place. Sweden also ranks among the top 10 for economic opportunities, resulting in a score of 73.3 and ranking in eighth.
However, their maternity packages are a lot to be desired. Sweden pays 77% of a mother’s full wage whilst on maternity leave, which is often just 12.9 weeks (90.3 days).
Which is the country with the least opportunities for women?
In last place of the thirty countries analysed is Turkey, scoring just 39.9 points out of 300. Despite its poor performance, the country has surprisingly earned more points for women in leadership (13.3/100) than countries traditionally known for being equal such as Germany (10 points) and Austria (3.3 points). Just ahead in 26th place is Portugal (69.9 points out of a possible 300), also surpassing Germany and Austria for women in leadership (26.6/100 points), although scoring zero points for maternity leave.
Naomi Aharony, CEO and Co-Founder at Reboot Digital PR Agency has provided some comments on the results of the study and women in the workplace:
“The overall results have suggested that there is some progress in terms of gender equality in the workplace in Europe. Balkan countries such as Bulgaria and Croatia ranked highly, indicating that there are some improvements being made. Although, the disappointing positions of affluent Western European countries such as Germany and Denmark reaffirm that the progress towards gender parity remains slow in Europe.
Although it is good to see some advancement women still face numerous challenges when it comes to gender equality in the workplace that involves not only the wage gap, lack of leadership representation, government incentives and work-life balance. The prevailing circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic have undoubtedly intensified these challenges, with working mothers taking the brunt of the repercussions.”
- Reboot Digital PR Agencymade reference to the European Institute for Gender Equality and sought to find the countries in Europe with most women in leadership positions in the second half of 2020 (2020-B2).
- The ‘economic opportunity’ for women in the workforce was found in the Global Gender Report 2020, and it takes into consideration factors such as wage equality for similar work and estimated income.
- The maternity leave benefits of each country were found on World Population Review, and took into consideration numbers of weeks of maternity leave multiplied by maternity leave rate (%).
- Data was then normalised using the percentrank.inc function in Excel. Ranking each factor between 0 and 100 based on its relative position within the sample.
- The final score is calculated as a sum of the three factors for each country, with the maximum score possible being 300.