The World Economic Forum has released its Global Gender Gap Report 2017 and found that the parity gap has widened across health, politics, and the workplace for the first time since 2006, when records began
The World Economic Forum has released its Global Gender Gap Report 2017 and found that the parity gap has widened across health, politics, and the workplace for the first time since 2006, when records began.
Its findings, published on November 2, 2017, show that 68% of the world’s gender gap has been closed, a deterioration from 68.3% in 2016 and 68.1% in 2015.
All four of the report’s pillars, educational attainment, health and survival, economic opportunity, and political empowerment, have been affected.
Figures from the politics and workplace areas carry the largest gaps and previously had been making the fastest progress.
Current estimates now put the close of the global gender gap at 100 years, compared to 83 the year before, and the workplace gender gap is now estimated to take 217 years to close.
On the one hand, the health gender gap is now larger than it was in 2006, on the other, current trends suggest the education gender gap could be closed within 13 years.
A number of countries are bucking the negative global trend, with over half of all 144 countries in the report this year seeing improvement in the last 12 months.
Iceland has maintained its 9 year reign as the world’s most gender-equal country, having closed nearly 88% of its gap.
Rwanda (4) and New Zealand (9) are the only two Commonwealth countries in the top ten rankings, alongside Norway, Finland, Sweden, Nicaragua, Slovenia, Ireland and Phillipines.
Regionally, Western Europe remains the highest-performing with an average remaining gender gap of 25% and is home to four of the five top countries.
Overall, nine have seen their overall score increase, 11 have seen a decrease.
North America is next, with both Canada and the US having closed 70% of their overall gap.
The combined Eastern Europe and Central Asia region has closed an average 71% of its gap, with 18 countries increasing their score and 8 decreasing.
Latin America and the Caribbean have closed 70% of their gender gap and the region is home to two of the top ten fastest-improving countries globally since 2006.
East Asia and the Pacific closed an average of 68% of the region’s gender gap, and are also home to two of the top ten global performers, though their larger countries are performing less well.
Africa contains countries with both the widest range of gender gap outcomes of any region (Sub-Saharan Africa), and also the lowest-ranked (Middle East and North Africa).
Three Sub-Saharan countries are in the global top 20, with 13 countries improving and 17 worsening their gender gap.
North Africa and the Middle East have a 40% gender gap remaining, however 11 out of the 17 countries covered by the Index have improved this year.
Lastly, South Asia has a remaining gender gap average of 34%, with Bangladesh the only regional country to appear in the top 100 and Commonwealth country India at 108.
Overall, 27 countries have now closed the gender gap in educational attainment, 34 their health and survival gaps, with only six countries achieving closure in both areas.
No country has fully closed their economic participation and opportunity gender gap, but 13 have achieved more than 80%.
Political empowerment has the widest gap, as 4 countries have reached 50%, 34 have closed less than 10%, and only Iceland has closed more than 70% of the gap.
A notable recent estimation suggests that the world as a whole could increase global GDP by $5.3 trillion by 2025, if it were to close the gender gap in economic participation by 25%.
This achievement could also unlock an additional $1.4 trillion in global tax revenue, the majority of it in emerging economies, which suggests a self-financing effect of additional investment in closing the gender gap.
Saadia Zahidi, Head of Education, Gender and Work, World Economic Forum, said: “In 2017 we should not be seeing progress towards gender parity shift into reverse.
“Gender equality is both a moral and economic imperative – some countries understand this and they are now seeing dividends from the proactive measures they have taken to address their gender gaps.”
Read More: Helen Clark stresses that keeping women’s equality and empowerment at the centre of development efforts will give the world its best chance to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development