It may seem impossible to believe, but none of us will live to see gender equality achieved worldwide. A bold statement, I know, but you’ll want to stick around for the facts on this one. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released its annual Global Gender Gap Report and the results are beyond concerning. Despite 101 of the 149 countries covered both in this year and last year’s report increasing their scores, there is still a 31.4% average gender gap that remains to be closed globally.
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The lack of progress over the period of 2006-2020 in closing the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex, indicates that it will take 257 years to close the 42.2% gap. Yes, you read that correctly. Economic Participation and Opportunity currently sits second in gender disparity behind the Political Empowerment gap, which despite being the most improved dimension this year, still requires another 95 years to achieve complete parity.
Iceland remained at the top of the ladder for the 11th consecutive year in the world rankings, with a score of 0.877 out of a possible 1.00. Australia, however, has slipped backwards, coming in at #44 out of 153 countries. In addition to dropping five spots since 2018, Australia has dropped an astounding 29 spots since the first report was released in 2006 and is no longer one of the top 10 countries for gender parity in the East Asia and Pacific region.
Amongst the uninspiring findings of the report, there are a few positives. Women worldwide are making moves in the political sphere, now holding 25.2% of parliamentary lower-house seats and 21.2% of ministerial positions, compared to 24.1% and 19% respectively last year. Further, it also revealed that women are on track to enjoy the same education opportunities as men within the next 12 years.
"This year's report highlights the growing urgency for action," WEF founder Klaus Schwab said.
"At the dawn of the 2020s, building fairer and more inclusive economies must be the goal of global, national and industry leaders."