2021 index of professional equality between women and men: good progress despite the crisis.

Since 2019, all companies with more than 250 employees and, since 2020, all those with more than 50 employees must calculate and publish their Professional Equality Index between women and men every year on the 1er March. Elisabeth Borne, Minister of Labor, Employment and Integration, today presented the results of the 2021 campaign, marked by good progress despite the economic and health context.

Created by the law of September 5, 2018 for the freedom to choose one's professional future, the Professional Equality Index allows companies to measure the pay gaps between women and men and highlights the points of progress on which act when these disparities are unjustified. The Index is a score out of 100 points, calculated each year from 4 or 5 indicators depending on the size of the company. In the event of an Index lower than 75 points, the company must take corrective measures to reduce the deviations within 3 years on pain of financial penalties.

The respondent rate improved significantly in 2021, going from 59% in 2020 to 70% in 1er March 2021 and reached 84% for companies with more than 1,000 employees, thus demonstrating that the Index has become commonplace.

If the average score increased by one point compared to 2020 to stand at 85/100, only 2% of companies obtained the maximum score of 100/100, proof that there is still room for improvement and that the majority of companies still need to make efforts to achieve equality between women and men.

Of the five indicators on which the Index is based, two are still lagging behind:

  • The "maternity leave" indicator: nearly 3,000 companies (13%) obtained 0 on this indicator and are therefore in violation of the 2006 law which obliges companies to apply to the employees concerned the average increase that their colleagues have benefited from in their work. absence;
  • The "high pay" indicator which measures parity in the 10 best salaries. Only a quarter of all companies meet parity or near parity and 4 out of 10 companies with more than a thousand employees have less than 2 women among the 10 highest paid. For the situation to evolve, work is underway with parliamentarians and social partners to introduce a new indicator that would take into account the share of women in senior executives who are the backbone of management committees and executive committees.

Since the launch of the Index, the labor inspectorate has been mobilized to support and advise companies in the implementation of professional equality between women and men. 17,500 checks have been carried out since 2019. When companies do not complete the Index or do not set progress objectives, they can be penalized: 300 formal notices and 11 financial penalties for non-declaration of the Index of professional equality have been declared.


Despite the crisis, companies have met the Professional Equality Index. While there is still some way to go, the Index has undeniably moved the lines over the past three years. We will be particularly vigilant that things evolve quickly to improve the representativeness of women in the highest paid companies and compliance with the law on the increase of employees on maternity leave. On this point, I cannot accept that companies have been illegal for 3 years and do nothing to get out. We will apply zero tolerance with targeted checks for those who are in violation " declares Elisabeth Borne, Minister of Labor, Employment and Integration.

“Declared a great cause of the five-year term by the President of the Republic, equality between women and men is a priority of the Government. While progress has been made in recent years, inequalities in the professional world remain significant and call for the mobilization of the whole of society. The Professional Equality Index has proven itself since its inception. However, the results unveiled today for the 2021 campaign tell us that there is still some way to go. The economic emancipation of women is the first condition for real equality between women and men ” says Élisabeth Moreno, Minister Delegate to the Prime Minister in charge of Equality between Women and Men, Diversity and Equal Opportunities.

[Extract from the Government's March 8 press release]

To support your development, GAC Group supports you in the management of your human resources and innovation, thanks to experienced consultants with multiple skills.

To meet an expert, click here.

Newsletter G.A.C.