The gender pay gap will take 101 years to close, according to a huge study by the well-regarded World Economic Forum. In some nations, the number is much worse.
The annual Global Gender Gap Report was first issued in 2006. The current edition, for 2018, covers 146 nations. Gender parity is rated on a scale of 0 to 100. Measurements are made on four subindexes: Political Empowerment, Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, and Health and Survival. Among the most critical findings across these measurements is that only 17 nations have a female head of state, women spend more than double the time men do on household work, women are illiterate in 20% of the nations and 78% of experts on artificial intelligence are men while 22% are women.
The most broad-reaching finding from the study is that to close the major gaps measured will take over a century in some cases and over two centuries in others. The research from the Global Gender Gap Report shows, “All things being equal, with current trends, the overall global gender gap can be closed in 108 years.” In addition, “Despite positive trends overall and in most of the underlying factors, the economic opportunity gender gap remains the dimension that will require the longest time to close completely. Based on today’s status and the trend observed over the past twelve years, it will now take 202 years to close the gap.”
The measurements among nations vary widely. Many of the nations with the highest number are Scandinavian, with Iceland the best in the world with a gender equality rating of 85.8%, followed by Norway at 83.5%, Sweden at 82.2% and Finland at 82.1%. The top 10 are rounded out by Nicaragua at 80.9%, Rwanda at 80.4%, New Zealand at 80.1%, the Philippines at 79.9%, Ireland at 79.6% and Namibia at 78.9%.
The United States ranked 51, down two places from last year’s study. The authors wrote, “Currently, the United States has closed exactly 72% of its overall gender gap, a decrease of 2% since 2015.”
Most of the nations with the poorest ratings are in sub-Saharan Africa: Mali (143), DR Congo (144) and Chad (145).
Commenting on the study’s findings, Klaus Schwab, Founder, and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum said:
The equal contribution of women and men in this process of deep economic and societal transformation is critical. More than ever, societies cannot afford to lose out on the skills, ideas and perspectives of half of humanity to realize the promise of a more prosperous and humancentric future that well-governed innovation and technology can bring.
A century, and in some cases two, is a long way to go to fulfill the promise.
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