The Global Gender Gap Report 2008
Cartoon by Bennett
The World Economic Forum has published its third annual report on the Global Gender Gap. This fascinating report examines the relative position of women to men in 130 countries in four main areas:
• Economic participation and opportunity
• Educational attainment
• Political empowerment
• Health and survival.
The rankings provide benchmarks which can be tracked from year to year to see how countries improve against past performance and against their neighbours.
No country in the world has achieved full equality for women, according to the report. Norway, which topped the list, has closed 82% of its gender gaps. In contrast, Yemen, at the bottom of the tablet, has closed only 45%.
Three other Nordic countries Finland, Sweden and Iceland make up the top four of the table with Europe well represented in the top ten. According to the WEF, the UK fell on the overall world gender index from ninth two years ago to thirteenth. The latest two place fall is largely due to a 4% drop in wage equality in the UK last year.
The report measures the gaps between women and men rather than the overall levels of development. This enables developing countries to be ranked on an equal basis with more developed nations by focusing on the equitable distribution of resources between women and men rather than the level of resources themselves. So the Philippines is ranked sixth overall just above Denmark and well above the UK, France (15th) and the US (27th).
Overall the message from the report is one of progress with two thirds of the countries closing the gender gaps over last year. Health (95%) is the area where women are closest to equality - although this gap has widened slightly in the last year - followed by education (90%). But economic attainment (60%) and political empowerment (16%) are both areas where the gap is large and women are prevented for using their full potential with a negative impact on themselves, their families and communities.
To view the report click here