UK in 15th position in gender equality report

Nordic countries Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden continue to demonstrate the greatest equality between men and women according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2010. The UK remained in 15th place.

Nordic countries Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden continue to demonstrate the greatest equality between men and women according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2010. The UK remained in 15th place.

According to the report’s index, the level of gender equality in France has sunk as the number of women in ministerial positions has fallen over the past 12 months. The United States closed its gender gap, rising 12 places to enter the top 20 for the first time in the report’s five-year history. The climb reflects the higher number of women in leading roles in the current administration and improvements in the wage gap.

“Nordic countries continue to lead the way in eliminating gender inequality,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. “Low gender gaps are directly correlated with high economic competitiveness. Women and girls must be treated equally if a country is to grow and prosper. We still need a true gender equality revolution, not only to mobilise a major pool of talent both in terms of volume and quality, but also to create a more compassionate value system within all our institutions.”

The report measures the size of the gender inequality gap in four areas:
1) Economic participation and opportunity – outcomes on salaries, participation levels and access to high-skilled employment
2) Educational attainment – outcomes on access to basic and higher level education
3) Political empowerment – outcomes on representation in decision-making structures
4) Health and survival – outcomes on life expectancy and sex ratio

“We have found that gaps are closing between women and men’s health and education – in fact, current data show that in the 134 countries covered, 96% of health gaps and 93% of education gaps have been closed. And, yet only 60% of economic participation gaps have been closed. Progress will be achieved when countries seek to reap returns on the investment in health and education of girls and women by finding ways to make marriage and motherhood compatible with the economic participation of women,” said co-author Ricardo Hausmann, Director of the Centre for International Development at Harvard University, USA.

“The Global Gender Gap Report demonstrates that closing the gender gap provides a basis for a prosperous and competitive society. Regardless of level of income, countries can choose to integrate gender equality and other social inclusion goals into their growth agenda – and have the potential to grow faster – or they can run the risk of undermining their competitive potential by not capitalizing fully on one-half of their human resources. The economic incentive for closing the gender gap in health, education, economic opportunity and political power is clear,” said co-author Laura Tyson, S.K. and Angela Chan Professor of Global Management, Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley, USA.

“The 2010 report brings together five years worth of data. We find that out of the 114 countries covered over this time period 86% have narrowed their gender gaps, while 14% are regressing. Whereas countries such as Iceland, Norway and Ireland that are already near the top keep improving every year, it is encouraging that some of the countries in the lower half of the rankings are making the fastest progress relative to their past position – countries such as Angola, Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates,” said report co-author Saadia Zahidi, Head of the Forum’s Women Leaders and Gender Parity Programme.



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