Special Report

The 30 Countries with the Smallest Gender Gap

Source: LUNAMARINA / Getty Images

25. Mexico
>2020 score (0-1): 0.754
>2006 score: 0.646 (75th out of 115)
>Labor force participation score in 2020: 0.570 (128th out of 153)
>Wage equality for similar work in 2020: 0.503 (129th out of 153)
>Legislators, senior officials and managers in 2020: 0.565 (48th out of 153)

Mexico is one of the five most improved countries worldwide on the list in 2020, with all five nations narrowing gender parity gaps by 3.4 percentage points or more. Like the other improved nations, Mexico reported an increase in women’s presence in political institutions. The number of women in ministerial positions leaped to 42.1% from 15.8% in 2018, and women represent more than 48% of seats in parliament. Mexico has also virtually closed educational attainment and health and survival disparities, according to the WEF. Where Mexico needs improvement is in labor force participation — only 47% of Mexican women participate in the labor market compared to 82% of men.

Source: Courtesy of Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

24. Trinidad and Tobago
>2020 score (0-1): 0.756
>2006 score: 0.6800 (45th out of 115)
>Labor force participation score in 2020: 0.733 (100th out of 153)
>Wage equality for similar work in 2020: 0.62 (88th out of 153)
>Legislators, senior officials and managers in 2020: 0.802 (13th out of 153)

Trinidad and Tobago ranks first in parity among professional and technical workers, with more women working in the field than men, a gap of 17 percentage points. The Caribbean country ranks first in enrollment in second and tertiary education, as well as first in health and survival. Trinidad and Tobago ranks 31st in political empowerment. The country has had one female head of state in the last 50 years, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who served as prime minister from 2010 to 2015.

Source: Calin Stan / Getty Images

23. Moldova
>2020 score (0-1): 0.757
>2006 score: 0.713 (17th out of 115)
>Labor force participation score in 2020: 0.903 (35th out of 153)
>Wage equality for similar work in 2020: 0.71 (39th out of 153)
>Legislators, senior officials and managers in 2020: 0.680 (23rd out of 153)

The Eastern European nation of Moldova slipped six spots in the 2020 WEF gender parity list from 2006. Its gender gap score improved, but only slightly. Moldova’s ranking tumbled in the areas of economic participation and opportunity (to 19th from second) and educational attainment (to 61st from 37th). Political empowerment rose for women in Moldova, with the nation’s ranking rising to 45th from 50th. Moldova ranks 22nd in women in ministerial positions. The country has a score of 1.000 in terms of professional and technical workers, with more than 65% of such workers female.

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22. Colombia
>2020 score (0-1): 0.758
>2006 score: 0.705 (22nd out of 115)
>Labor force participation score in 2020: 0.742 (97th out of 153)
>Wage equality for similar work in 2020: 0.535 (122nd out of 153)
>Legislators, senior officials and managers in 2020: 1.000 (1st out of 153)

The gender parity gap in political empowerment is narrowing in Colombia, a major reason the South American nation ranks 22nd on the WEF list. Women in ministerial positions have a nearly 6 percentage point advantage over their male counterparts, although less than 19% of parliament seats are held by women. Other areas where the country scores 1.000, or no gender gap, include parity in senior officials and managers, professional and technical workers, and the educational attainment categories of literacy rate and enrollment in primary, secondary, and tertiary education.

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21. United Kingdom
>2020 score (0-1): 0.767
>2006 score: 0.736 (9th out of 115)
>Labor force participation score in 2020: 0.886 (49th out of 153)
>Wage equality for similar work in 2020: 0.642 (76th out of 153)
>Legislators, senior officials and managers in 2020: 0.569 (47th out of 153)

The United Kingdom has fallen out of the top 10 in WEF’s gender parity list in the 2020 listing. It dropped six places since the 2018 ranking. The U.K. declined in ranking in all the major categories from 2006: Economic participation and opportunity (38th from first), political empowerment (20th from 12th), economic participation and opportunity (58th from 37th), and health and survival (112th from 63rd). There is a 10 percentage point gap in the labor participation rate between men and women in the U.K.

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