Gender gap closing slowly even though more women are being educated
GN Bureau | November 19, 2015
The wait gets longer, astonishingly longer in the age of nano second tech age. The World Economic Forum believes it will take another 118 years (until 2133) to close the global pay gap between men and women.
The progress is so slow that the gap between the economic opportunities available to men and women has narrowed by 3pc in the last decade and that women are now earning the amount that men did in 2006.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report of 2015 says nearly a quarter of a billion more women are in the global workforce today than a decade ago but the process of closing the gap has stalled in recent years.
In several countries there are more women in university than men. However, this is not necessarily translating into more women being in leadership roles.
The WEF report looks at whether men and women have the same rights and opportunities in each country in four areas: health, education, economic participation and political empowerment.
Nordic countries are still doing the most to close the gender gap overall. Iceland (1), Norway (2), Finland (3) and Sweden (4) occupy the top four rankings out of 145 countries.
This has been the case over the last decade as report's lead author, Saadia Zahidi said "they have the best policies in the world for families - their childcare systems are the best and they have the best laws on paternity, maternity and family leave."
The worst country was Yemen, followed by Pakistan and then Syria.
“Unless we start changing the culture around the division of labour at home there’s always going to be that extra burden on women,” said Saadia Zahidi. “That means we’re not going to be able to maintain those high levels of women joining the workforce all the way through to middle management and senior positions.”
Sixty-eight countries in the world now have more women than men in skilled positions, such as doctors, teachers and lawyers. But despite this, women still do not seem to reach the top positions in business, politics or public service in the same way that men do. The WEF believes only three countries have more women than men in leadership positions: the Philippines, Fiji and Columbia.
Over the last decade one of the most dramatic changes has been in education. In fact, the report shows that a reverse gender gap is emerging in higher education, with more women in university than men in 98 countries.
Zahidi says there are six times more women in university than men in Qatar, which has seen a strong push towards women's education in recent decades. In Barbados and Jamaica, two-and-a-half times more women are enrolled at university than men, she adds.
India climbs six places on WEF’s gender index
India’s ranking in the global gender index, compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF), has climbed six places (up from 114 of the 142 last year). This primarily on account of political representation, but continues to be abysmal on the economic and health fronts. The improved overall ranking reflects the fact that there are more women in positions of political leadership, particularly ministers and members of parliament.
However, India fell five places in terms of women in the workforce to hit nearly the bottom of the rankings at 139 of 145 countries, its worst rank in this category since 2006. Indian women have also regressed in terms of health and survival, placed at a lowly 143 out of 145. India is one of the three countries that have declined the furthest on the health and survival sub-index, the other two being China and Albania.
The WEF’s assessment of India’s ranking in terms of sex ratio at birth (143), a sub-indicator in the health and survival category, is unchanged from last year and is ahead only of China and Armenia. On educational attainment—a fourth parameter in the overall gender index after political representation, economy and health—India has improved marginally, going up one place from 126 in 2014 to 125 this year.
Gender gap countries
Top 10 Bottom 10
1 Iceland Yemen
2 Norway Pakistan
3 Finland Syria
4 Sweden Chad
5 Ireland Iran
6 Rwanda Jordan
7 Philippines Morocco
8 Switzerland Lebanon
9 Slovenia Mali
10 New Zealand Egypt
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