Special Report

The Worst Countries for Gender Equality

Steven Peters

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1. Yemen

Yemen was at the bottom of the ranking in 2006, and it’s at the bottom in 2018 as well. The country’s overall gender pay gap is 50%, compared to a global average of 68%.

When it comes to managerial positions, the gap between men and women is over 90%. As for women’s representation in political positions, with no women in parliament, the gap is over 97%. Also, the country ranks last out of 149 countries in labor force participation. Just over 6% of working age women are in the labor force, compared to 71%. There are no non-discrimination laws or laws mandating equal pay.

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2. Pakistan

Pakistan, the sixth most populous country in the world, has an overall gender pay gap of approximately 55%. There is some good news, however. The country made progress in 2018 in wage equality, and educational attainment.

The country doesn’t have laws requiring companies to hire women or pay them the same as men. In terms of wage equality for similar work, Pakistan ranked 106th out of 149 countries. Women are estimated to earn just 20 cents for every dollar men make.

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3. Iraq

Iraq is included in the Global Gender Gap Report for the first time, but gender inequality has been a problem there for years and there are signs it is only getting worse, according to a report from the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq.

There have been pledges to empower women and increase their political participation, but only 10% of ministerial positions are held by women and only 21% of legislators, senior officials, and managers are women. Daughters still don’t have the right to inheritance.

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4. Syria

Syria is one of several countries where honor killings are deeply rooted in society. The civil war that started in 2011 has made the situation even worse for women and gender-based violence is prevalent.

In addition, women in Arab countries face high barriers to entering the labor market and are more likely to be unemployed than men. In Syria, more than a third of women are unemployed, compared to just a tenth of men.

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5. Chad

Chad has not improved much since 2006 when it ranked 113 out of 114 countries in gender equality. Twelve years later, it’s still near the bottom — out of 149 countries. It ranks last in the educational attainment subindex. About a third of girls are out of school, compared to a 10th of boys.

Despite existing laws for hiring women and paying them the same amount as men, just 65% of working age women participate in the labor force compared to 77% of men, and women make about 62 cents for every dollar men earn.