The World Economic Forum on Tuesday declared that economic equality between men and women may not become a reality until year 2186. Research shows that 2015 i.e. last year slowed down the progress of women joining the workforce and pay disparity by 52 years.
In 2015, WEF had predicted that gender equality at workplace and pay parity could have become a reality in 118 years which would have been year 2188. But regression in the pace of gender economic equality in nations around the world has stalled the progress by a great margin concludes the annual gender gap index by WEF.
“These forecasts are not foregone conclusions. Instead, they reflect the current state of progress and serve as a call to action,” Saadia Zahidi, a member of the WEF executive committee, said in a statement, as reported by Reuters.
Nordic countries like Iceland and Finland showed utmost gender equality in various measures like education, health and survival, economic opportunity and political empowerment. The list had 144 countries in total and these two countries were followed by other Nordic countries like Norway and Sweden which came third and fourth respectively.
But despite Iceland setting the example of being the world leader in gender equality, the country’s women protested earlier this week against pay disparity of 14% compared to men by leaving their work at exact 2.38 pm, which is the time their work is paid for and not a minute extra that goes unpaid.
African country Rwanda showed phenomenal advancement through the years and is ranked fifth in the list. The country has the largest number of women in politics and progressed in economic participation of women and income equality.
Yemen, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran showed huge disparity between men and women and so they were ranked in the extreme end among 144 countries.
The US, which comes across as super progressive and has almost 50% women in the workforce, fared poorly in gender political equality and thus came 73rd on the political empowerment list. It has not had even a single female president elected while many developing countries, which are considered to be discriminatory and socially backward in dealing with women, have already had women leaders like India, Myanmar, Nepal etc. However, the global list had US in 45th rank.
The analytical report of WEF states that countries that have fewer women in politics or don’t promote decision making by women in the parliament tend to fall back in the list.
“In the political sphere, women’s engagement in public life has a positive impact on inequality across society at large,” it said. “In addition, there is a range of evidence to suggest that women’s political leadership and wider economic participation are co-related.”
The political state of gender equality is a little tricky to achieve but countries are moving forward in this area.
However, the financial difference between men and women and their participation in the workforce has taken us back to the figures of 2008 in the gender gap index in economic equality. “It stands at 59 per cent, meaning women’s economic participation and opportunity is a little more than half of what men have,” Zahidi said.
The economic gap increased in the previous year which is why it is going to take 170 years from now to bring men and women at par in terms of economic participation. 59% working-age women contribute to their individual country’s economy while 81% men are the economic participants in their national economies.
“Ensuring the healthy development and appropriate use of half of the world’s total talent pool has a vast bearing on the growth, competitiveness and future readiness of economies and businesses worldwide,” the WEF said.
Education — literacy and school enrollment — are the easiest factors to close gender inequality and can be forseen in the coming 10 years however, political equality will take about 82 years to come through.
Data from International Labour Organization, United Nations Development Programme and World Health Organization of all the nations was collected to come up with the rankings in terms of gender equality, considering different factors in the annual gender gap index prepared by WEF.
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