The World Economic Forum (WEF) has recently released its annual report on gender equality around the world. Unfortunately, it is not delivering good news. According to the report, women around the world will have to wait more than two centuries for the gender pay gap to close.
The global gender gap, which takes politics, education, health and economics into consideration, has widened for the first time in 10 years. This is largely due to an internationally “declining gender equality in the workplace and political representation”.
Unsurprisingly, the Nordic countries Iceland, Norway and Finland placed on top of the list. Nordic nations’ are known for their leadership in gender equality with women-friendly policies including voluntary gender quotas in politics and mandatory parental leave for both genders.
However, a more unexpected country ended up on the fourth place; Rwanda. Rwanda also ranked third for political empowerment, thanks to its admirable proportion of female politicians. Some 61% of parliamentarians in Rwanda are women, the highest percentage of any country in the world.
Globally, the gap between men and women has widened. The report notes that women’s political empowerment and participation in the workforce remain particular problems. Across the 144 countries assessed by the WEF, only 23% of the political gap and less than 60% of the economic participation gap have been closed. If things progress in this rate, women around the world will have to wait 217 years for the gender pay gap to close, the WEF said.
“In 2017 we should not be seeing progress towards gender parity shift into reverse,” said Saadia Zahidi, the WEF’s head of education, gender and work. “Gender equality is both a moral and economic imperative.” She added: “Some countries understand this and they are now seeing dividends from the proactive measures they have taken to address their gender gaps.”