Islamabad, October 29, 2014 (PPI-OT): In nine years of measuring the global gender gap, the world has seen only a small improvement in equality for women in the workplace. According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2014, launched by the World Economic Forum, the gender gap for economic participation and opportunity now stands at 60% worldwide, having closed by 4% from 56% in 2006 when the Forum first started measuring it. Based on this trajectory, with all else remaining equal, it will take 81 years for the world to close this gap completely.
The ninth edition of the report finds that, among the 142 countries measured, Pakistan has been ranked at 141 and occupies the last place in the regional ranking. The country score has been fluctuated over the past nine years, ending with a slight improvement compared to 2006.
On the Economic Participation and Opportunity sub index Pakistan has experienced one of the highest negative percentage change relative to its 2006 score. Yet it has achieved one of the highest percentage changes relative to its own 2006 score on the Educational Attainment sub index – even the score still falls below 2014 world average on that sub index. Pakistan ranks 141st on the Economic Participation and Opportunity sub index this year.
It is one of the ten lowest-performing countries on all indicators of this sub index with the exception of Wage equality for similar work. Pakistan is one of the three countries with the lowest percentage of firms with female participation in ownership. Finally, the country ranks 119th on the Health and Survival sub index and 85th on the Political Empowerment sub index.
Amir Jahangir, Chief Executive Officer of Mishal Pakistan, a partner institute of the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Networks, World Economic Forum, said, “as compared to 2013, Pakistan’s indicators have not changed much, instead other countries have shown improvements. Gender parity and socio-economic empowerment has not been a priority for governments in Pakistan.” “The fact that, there is not a single female full minister either in federal or any of the provincial governments, is an alarming situation”, he further added.
On the global front, the gender gap is narrowest in terms of health and survival. This gap stands at 96% globally, with 35 countries having closed the gap entirely. This includes three countries that have closed the gap in the past 12 months. The educational attainment gap is the next narrowest, standing at 94% globally. Here, 25 countries have closed the gap entirely.
While the gender gap for economic participation and opportunity lags stubbornly behind, the gap for political empowerment, the fourth pillar measured, remains wider still, standing at just 21%, although this area has seen the most improvement since 2006.
With no one country having closed its overall gender gap, Nordic nations remain the most gender-equal societies in the world. Last year’s leading four nations – Iceland (1), Finland (2), Norway (3) and Sweden (4) – are joined by Denmark, which climbs from eighth place to fifth. Elsewhere in the top 10 there is considerable movement, with Nicaragua climbing four places to sixth, Rwanda entering the index for the first time at seventh, Ireland falling to eighth, the Philippines declining four places to ninth and Belgium climbing one place to tenth.
Further up the index, the United States climbs three places to 20 in 2014, after narrowing its wage gap and improving the number of women in parliamentary and ministerial level positions. Among the BRICS grouping, the highest-placed nation is South Africa (18), supported by strong scores on political participation. Brazil is next at 71, followed by Russia (75), China (87) and India (114).
Nine years of data from the Global Gender Gap Report – first published in 2006 – reveal the pattern of change around the world relative to countries’ own past performance and in relation to each other. “Much of the progress on gender equality over the last 10 years has come from more women entering politics and the workforce. While more women and more men have joined the workforce over the last decade, more women than men entered the labour force in 49 countries.
These are far-reaching changes – for economies and national cultures, however it is clear that much work still remains to be done, and that the pace of change must in some areas be accelerated, ” said Saadia Zahidi, Head of the Gender Parity Programme at the World Economic Forum and lead author of the report.
Progress has not been even across the four pillars of economy, politics, health and education. On educational attainment and health and survival, although many countries have already reached parity, the trend is actually reversing in some parts of the world. In fact, nearly 30% of the countries covered have wider education gaps than they did nine years ago, and over 40% of countries have wider health and survival gaps than they did nine years ago.
“Achieving gender equality is obviously necessary for economic reasons. Only those economies who have full access to all their talent will remain competitive and will prosper. But even more important, gender equality is a matter of justice. As a humanity, we also have the obligation to ensure a balanced set of values,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.
The Global Gender Gap Index ranks 142 countries on the gap between women and men on health, education, economic and political indicators. It aims to understand whether countries are distributing their resources and opportunities equitably between women and men, irrespective of their overall income levels. The report measures the size of the gender inequality gap in four areas:
Economic participation and opportunity – salaries, participation and leadership
Education – access to basic and higher levels of education
Political empowerment – representation in decision-making structures
Health and survival – life expectancy and sex ratio
Index scores can be interpreted as the percentage of the gap that has been closed between women and men, and allow countries to compare their current performance relative to their past performance. In addition, the rankings allow for comparisons between countries. Thirteen out of the 14 variables used to create the index are from publicly available hard data indicators from international organizations such as the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Health Organization.
The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is independent, impartial and not tied to any interests. It cooperates closely with all leading international organizations (www.weforum.org).
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