Gender Gap Won’t Close For Another 70 Years

After decades of striving for equal rights, women will still have to endure almost a century as second best.

The World Economic Forum had previously forecast the gender gap would close by 2015, but this has been reviewed and extended to 2186.

Instead of narrowing, the gender gap is wider now than at any time since 2008, says the report.

The gap is measured by comparing four factors – education, health, economic opportunity and political empowerment.

Although men and women are almost equal on health, where 96% have the same standards, and education, where 95% of women can opt to improve, financial and political status are lagging.

The causes of inequality

Only 59% of women enjoy the same economic choices as men, while as few as 23% can compete in politics.

The forum blames the inequality on three major factors –

  • Money – women earn an average of just over half of the wages of a man despite working more hours
  • Lack of jobs – 81% of men are in work, compared to 54% of women
  • The glass ceiling – a barrier that means only Barbados, Colombia, Ghana and Jamaica have the same number of women as men acting as legislators, senior officials and executives

In education, around half the countries offer women as many if not more further education opportunities as men.

No country has eliminated the gender gap, but the best performing is Iceland thanks to large numbers of women sitting in Parliament and the government encouraging female entrepreneurs.

Expat destinations rank poorly

Other Scandinavian countries ranked well. Finland, Norway and Sweden took second, third and fourth places, while the African nation of Rwanda came next.

Yemen, which is ravaged by political unrest and civil war, came last, close to the other Middle Eastern countries of Saudi Arabia and Iran. Pakistan also ranked poorly.

The Philippines ranks highest in the Asia Pacific.

“The Index does not seek to set priorities for countries but rather to provide a comprehensive set of data and a clear method for tracking gaps on critical indicators so that countries may set priorities within their own economic, political and cultural contexts,” says the report.

Many favourite expat destinations rank poorly – including the USA (45), Australia (46) and Singapore (55), although Ireland (6), New Zealand (9), France (17) and Britain (20) are in the top 20.

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