Every year, the World Economic Forum publishes its Global Gender Gap report (it’s now in its ninth year), a report which indexes 142 countries and ranks them based on gender disparities in four key “subindexes” or categories (which themselves comprise a number of indicators): Health and Survival, (to provide an overview of the gap between women’s and men’s health, using indicators such as the ratio of female life expectancy, over the male value and female mortality rate at birth over the male value). Educational Attainment, (to establish the gap in educational standards between men and women, through the ratio of female literacy rate over the male value and also the ratios of female enrolment in primary, secondary and tertiary education over the male values. Economic Participation and Opportunity, (to determine wage discrepancies and the participation of women in the labour force compared with men) and Political Empowerment, (to establish the gap between men and women who hold high political office, through the ratio of women to men in top political and ministerial-level positions). Countries are assigned a rating of between 0.00 (non-existent equality) and 1.00 (full equality).
To be included in the report, a country must have data for at least a dozen of the 14 indicators used in the report.
You can view the full report here.
See Also: The Top 10 Worst Countries for Women
Where does your country sit on the Global Gender Gap report? Are you satisfied with the progress being made? Share your comments below…
Set your sails for the Nordic island nation of Iceland, which bags the top spot in this year’s report. When the report was first compiled (2006), Iceland was in the fourth position. Iceland’s women enjoy a high level of educational achievement (Iceland boasts one of the lowest differences in the number of male and female graduates of science, technology, economics and mathematics) and political involvement - the country ranks in the top position for both the Educational Attainment and Political Empowerment subindexes. Iceland has closed more than 60% of the gender gap on the Political Empowerment subindex, and it is noteworthy that Iceland is one of the countries that have put in place voluntary quotas for political parties, giving women an incentive to go into politics. On the Health and Survival subindex, Finland ranks 128 (score: 0.9654).
On the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex, Iceland’s score is 0.8169. No country has completely closed the gap on this subindex.
Geographically close to Iceland and also very similar in cultural and social norms, Finland grabs the second position on the overall Index. The country has fully closed the educational gender gap, and women also have a strong level of political empowerment – it ranks in the first position on the Educational Attainment category and in the second position in the Political Empowerment category. Finland was the second country in the world to introduce the right to vote for women in 1906, so the country has a long tradition of women in politics. Finland ranks 52th in the Health and Survival category (score: 0.9789). The Economic Participation and Opportunity category score indicates a clear gender gap (score: 0.7859); still, one noteworthy statistic is that Finland ranks near the top among the EU countries on the “Labour force participation” indicator and ranks highly on earnings equality.
Nordic countries have much to smile about: all five Nordic countries have managed to close more than 80% of the gender gap. Norway is the third best country for women; the country ranks in the second position on the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex and has closed the gender gap completely on the Educational Attainment subindex. Finland occupies the third place in the Index for Political Empowerment. On the Health and Survival subindex, Norway ranks 98th (score: 0.9695).
Here’s a bit of general knowledge for you: Sweden boasts the highest proportion of working mothers in the developed world, at 76%, according to Eupedia. The site also claims that Sweden was the first country to bestow voting rights to married women (in 1862), albeit for local elections, so Sweden has form when it comes to championing gender equality. The country ranks fifth on the Political Empowerment subindex and occupies the 100 and 43 positions respectively on the Health and Survival and Educational Attainment subindexes. Gender inequalities are apparent on the Economic Participation and Opportunity front, although a score of 0.7989(15 position) is still impressive.
In the fifth position is Denmark, a country that can frequently be found on “Best of…” lists. Denmark occupies the top spot on the Educational Attainment subindex; it is one of the 25 countries that has closed the gender gap for Educational Attainment. It ranks in the seventh position for Political Empowerment. On the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex, Denmark is 12th on the list; it is noteworthy that Denmark is the only country where, on average, women earn more than men. On the Health and Survival subindex, Denmark occupies the 65th position.
Although many may associate Nicaragua with the human and social rights campaigner (and first wife of Rolling Stones’ frontman Mick Jagger) Bianca Jagger, Nicaragua is also known for its rich history and culture, not to mention its striking wildlife.
Nicaragua is the only representative from Latin America and the Caribbean in the top ten of this report. The country’s key strengths lie in two subindexes: Health and Survival, where it has fully closed the gender gap, and Educational Attainment (score: 0.9996). The country ranks fourth for Political Empowerment, where it has closed 54% of the gender gap, but gender equality is still not a reality when it comes to Economic Participation and Opportunity (score:0.6347), although Nicaragua boasts one of the biggest improvements on this subindex since 2006.
Surprised? Don’t be; Rwanda ranks in the top ten for Political Empowerment (sixth position), thanks to its high proportion of female members in the parliament. On the Educational Attainment subindex, the country ranks in 114 position (score: 0.9289). Rwanda occupies position 118 on the Health and Survival subindex, and there is a noticeable gender gap on the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex (score: 0.7698), although it does lie in a respectable 25th position.
Ireland has long been a champion of women’s rights: women in ancient Ireland “were queens in their own right and led troops to battle”. Ireland ranks eighth on the Political Empowerment subindex, 40th on Educational Attainment subindex and 67th on the Health and Survival subindex. For the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex, Ireland ranks 28 – out of the 142 countries analysed.
The Philippines is the only country in the Asia and Pacific region that makes the top ten list of best-performing countries in the overall Index. It ranks in the first position on both the Educational Attainment and Health and Survival subindexes (there is no gender gap on either of these subindexes). The Philippines occupies the 24th position on the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex and ranks 17th on the Political Empowerment subindex.
Belgium is the tenth best country for gender equality, and it is the first time the country has made the top ten of this report. The country ranks 13th on the Political Empowerment subindex and 27th on the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex. On the Health and survival subindex, Belgium lies in the 52 position; it occupies the 73 position for Educational Attainment.
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