gender gap

Women may finally see economic equality … in the year 2277

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While the gender pay gap continues to shrink in certain parts of the world, the overall outlook is not very good. In fact, so slow is the current rate of change that, if it stays this way, women won’t see equal pay for another 257 years. That’s from the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report (warning: it’s 371 pages long).

The new report, which has been published every year since 2006, ranked 153 countries after evaluating gender equity in four categories: economics, politics, education and health. According to a summary on the World Economic Forum website, “While the overall gender gap across politics, education, health and work has narrowed, the latest figures show the economic gender gap has widened—though it’s still better than it was in 2006 when the World Economic Forum began measuring the global gender gap.”

Curiously, the number of women in senior positions has gone up by 2 percent since last year’s report. However, less women overall appear to be entering the workforce and the general pay gap is expanding. “Currently, only 55% of adult women are in the labour market, compared to 78% of men. Meanwhile, more than 40% of the wage gap and 50% of the income gap still need to be closed.

“Worldwide, the average woman’s annual income is $11,500, versus $21,500 for a man.”

The most gender-equal country, for the 11th year in a row, was Iceland. (Go Iceland!) The rest of the top five was filled out by Norway, Finland, Sweden (Go Scandinavia!) and Nicaragua. The worst ranking on the list went to the war-ravaged country of Yemen.

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, said that bridging this gap is essential to social progress around the world.

“Supporting gender parity is critical to ensuring strong, cohesive and resilient societies around the world. For business, too, diversity will be an essential element to demonstrate that stakeholder capitalism is the guiding principle,” Schwab said. “This is why the World Economic Forum is working with business and government stakeholders to accelerate efforts to close the gender gap.”