Special Report

The Countries That Have Come Closest to True Gender Equality

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11. Slovenia

Slovenia, which has closed over 78% of its overall gender gap, is the best country in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region for gender equality. It remains the regional leader despite slipping out of the Index’s top 10. Women are still paid less for similar work, though more are participating in the labor force.

Slovenia has completely closed gender gaps in ministerial positions, healthy life expectancy at birth, and educational attainment.

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12. France

Out of G20 countries, France has made the most progress towards gender equality. The country’s overall gender gap is estimated at nearly 78%. The country’s biggest improvement since 2017 is in the political empowerment and estimated earned income measures.

However, France is still behind other countries when it comes to women participating in the labor force and economic opportunity — it ranks 63rd out of 149, with many developing countries ahead of it.

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13. Denmark

Denmark has made significant improvements in closing the gender gap in estimated earned income. The country is also close to closing the gap in labor force participation — over 77% of women work, compared to 82% of men.

Both men and women are able to work outside the home and pursue careers thanks to government supported daycare and generous parental leave of 224 days, which can be split between the parents any way they see fit.

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14. Germany

Germany seems to be moving in the opposite direction when it comes to closing the overall gender gap. It ranked 5th in 2006, but is now 14th. Compared to 2006, Germany scored worse in all of the four major measures used to create the Global Index — economic participation, education, health, and political empowerment.

The country moved down in the 2018 report specifically because of a widening gender gap in women in parliament. Also, Germany’s still has a gender gap in educational attainment, causing the country to rank last in the Western Europe region in this subindex.

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15. United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has made a few improvements in its attempts to reach gender parity. The overall gender gap is just over 77%. The country is doing especially well in the political empowerment subindex.

A law passed in 2010 required all big companies to publish how much they pay their employees, but it only came into force in 2018. There is now even a tool people can use to track when employers stop paying women the same amount they pay men.

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