Special Report

The 30 Countries with the Smallest Gender Gap

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20. Albania
>2020 score (0-1): 0.769
>2006 score: 0.661 (61st out of 115)
>Labor force participation score in 2020: 0.747 (94th out of 153)
>Wage equality for similar work in 2020: 0.823 (3rd out of 153)
>Legislators, senior officials and managers in 2020: 0.469 (76th out of 153)

Albania is one of the most improved countries in the overall index. A major reason for the higher score is a significant increase in women’s presence in politics. Compared with other countries in the WEF report, Albania has significantly closed its wage gap for similar work with a score of 0.82, third highest in the world. However, Albania has closed only 37.6% of its political empowerment gap, although this is the most in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

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19. Canada
>2020 score (0-1): 0.772
>2006 score: 0.716 (14th out of 115)
>Labor force participation score in 2020: 0.917 (29th out of 153)
>Wage equality for similar work in 2020: 0.695 (49th out of 153)
>Legislators, senior officials and managers in 2020: 0.551 (55th out of 153)

Canada made history in 2015, when it achieved gender parity in one aspect of political empowerment — the prime minister appointed women to half of its cabinet’s post. But the country has made modest improvements across other gender parity indicators. The country’s wage equality gap has remained virtually the same since last year; the gender gap in senior officials and managers is exactly the same; and the estimated income gap has slightly improved. In 2018, women earned about $38,000 compared to men whose income was almost $56,000. In 2020, those numbers were $36,000 and $53,000, respectively.

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18. Switzerland
>2020 score (0-1): 0.779
>2006 score: 0.700 (26th out of 115)
>Labor force participation score in 2020: 0.899 (37th out of 153)
>Wage equality for similar work in 2020: 0.707 (40th out of 153)
>Legislators, senior officials and managers in 2020: 0.526 (58th out of 153)

Switzerland has been among the countries with the smallest gender gap at least since the first edition of the WEF report in 2006. Since then, however, the Central European nation has made little further progress in achieving parity. The only score that has significantly improved is political empowerment. It went from 0.154 in 2006 to 0.407 as, particularly, 43% of ministerial positions are held by women. Additionally, the president of Switzerland, who is both the head of state and head of government is a woman. Simonetta Sommaruga assumed office on Jan. 1, 2020. She was president in 2015 as well.

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17. South Africa
>2020 score (0-1): 0.780
>2006 score: 0.713 (18th out of 115)
>Labor force participation score in 2020: 0.809 (82nd out of 153)
>Wage equality for similar work in 2020: 0.537 (121st out of 153)
>Legislators, senior officials and managers in 2020: 0.438 (84th out of 153)

Not many women hold senior officials and political leaders roles in Sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa is one of two top performers in the region and the 10th best performer among all countries, having closed at least 49% of the political empowerment gender gaps to date. Similarly in the region, women hold no more than 18% of ministerial positions, but South Africa is an exception, with more than 48% of women holding such positions, translating to a score of 0.946. Of all measures used to calculate the gender gap score of South Africa, the score of wage equality for similar work is the lowest at 0.537, ranking the country 121st in the world.

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16. Philippines
>2020 score (0-1): 0.781
>2006 score: 0.752 (6th out of 115)
>Labor force participation score in 2020: 0.626 (121st out of 153)
>Wage equality for similar work in 2020: 0.812 (5th out of 153)
>Legislators, senior officials and managers in 2020: 1.000 (1st out of 153)

The East Asia and the Pacific region has closed 68.5% of the overall gender gap. But the Philippines, a top performer in the region, has closed 78% of the gap. The country ranked in the top 10 on the 2018 Global Gender Gap Index, but it fell in ranking after a decline of 1.8 percentage points in its score. The Philippines has the smallest gender gap of any Asian country by far. The second best is Lao PDR, which ranks 43rd. The Philippines’ wage equality gap is the fifth smallest in the world. Full parity has been achieved in the senior officials and managers as well as professional workers subindexes. However, significantly fewer women are active in the labor force – 48% of the female population compared to 76.2% males.

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