Slow Progress in Closing Global Economic Gender Gap

The seventh annual World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2012 ranks Nordic countries in top spots, with Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden having closed over 80% of their gender gaps.


At the bottom of the ranking, some countries still need to close gender gaps of almost 50%, while more than half of those countries surveyed have failed to close their economic gender gap by more than 5% in the past seven years.


The Global Gender Gap Report ranks countries on their ability to close the gender gap in four key areas: access to healthcare, access to education, political participation and economic equality.


In the fields of health and education, while there remain critical gaps in some countries such as Pakistan, Ethiopia, Yemen and Benin, progress has been strong globally with 96% of health gaps and 93% of education gaps having now been closed across the 135 economies surveyed in the report.


By comparison, the global economic gender gap now stands at 60%, while only 20% of the political participation gap has been closed. Long term, this reflects an improvement in the economic status of women in a third of the 135 countries surveyed, including the world’s four largest economies: the USA, China, Japan and Germany. However, progress has been slow, with only nine countries having improved by more than 10% over the past seven years and 75 having improved by less than 5%. The data suggests a strong correlation between those countries that are most successful at closing the gender gap and those that are the most economically competitive.