Global gender gap grows for first time in 11 years


For the primary time in over a decade, the progress towards girls’s equality worldwide has slipped.

Since 2006, the World Economic Forum has been monitoring the worldwide gender hole, as measured within the distinction between males’s and girls’s lifespans, entry to schooling, financial participation and illustration in authorities.

“Every year, all this time, there has been global progress. This is the first time that the world has fallen backwards,” mentioned Saadia Zahidi, head of schooling, gender and work on the WEF.

This yr’s Global Gender Gap Report discovered that the divide between women and men stood at 32 %, up from 31.7 % final yr. 

The WEF calculates the hole by compiling statistics on girls’s illustration in numerous areas and scoring them from zero to 1, the place 1 represents complete parity. The decimal is often was a proportion for dialogue. 

The components calculates feminine parity and feminine illustration the identical, in order that instructional methods that enroll extra women than boys would rating 1 on the metric, the identical as methods that enroll equal quantities of every. The WEF says this calculation neither rewards nor penalizes “female empowerment.”  

Three Scandinavian international locations topped the record, with Iceland being the closest to parity. The gender hole there was solely 22 %.


Source: World Economic Forum, 2017 Global Gender Gap report

In the political and financial arenas, progress has been particularly fraught. Only 58 % of the financial participation hole has closed — marking the second consecutive yr it has widened, and the bottom worth it has been since 2008. The political hole stands on the identical worth as final yr, at solely about 23 % closed.

While the US has improved its absolute gender hole for the reason that report was first created, it has slipped within the rankings. Among the 144 international locations the WEF scored, the US ranked 49th total, with a rating of zero.72, or a gender hole of 28 %. It was ranked first when it comes to girls’s instructional attainment, nevertheless — which makes the deficiencies in financial and political beneficial properties notably hanging.

“In the case of the United States, the education gap was actually closed quite a while ago. In universities, there are more women than men that are graduating. School performance is very strong,” Zahidi mentioned. That means the decrease charges at which girls work, and the decrease wages they earn, aren’t the results of what’s usually referred to as a “pipeline problem.”

“The base of talent is … already equally male and female, and yet when we come to the participation, there is still this gender gap,” she mentioned.

The case for gender parity is a transparent ethical subject, however because the report factors out, “gender parity is also fundamental to whether and how economies and societies thrive. Ensuring the healthy development and appropriate use of half of the world’s total talent pool has a vast bearing on the growth, competitiveness and future readiness of economies and businesses worldwide.”

If the US reached full gender parity, that might add $1.7 trillion to the nation’s GDP, the WEF estimated. 

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

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