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Women struggling to close gender gap

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This year’s Global Gender Gap Report claims that only 20 per cent of the world’s women hold some form of political power.

In addition, only 60 per cent of the global economic gender gap has been closed.

Commissioned by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the report utilises a ‘framework’ that tracks differences in the resources available to women and  men, in economics, politics, education, and health, and countries accordingly.

According to WEF, “The rankings are designed to create greater awareness among a global audience of the challenges posed by gender gaps and the opportunities created by reducing them.”

The WEF then scores countries using a percentage, 100 per cent indicates complete gender equality.

The Nordic regions are  the most fair for women overall, having closed their gender gap at 80 per cent. Iceland ranks the highest, closely followed by Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Yemen currently holds the widest gender gap of the 135 countries studied at 47 per cent, with Pakistan following closely behind.

For Pakistan, the root causes for such a low ranking are a combination a huge economic and educational disparity. Only 22 per cent of women participate in the labour market and only 7 per cent  have their own businesses. The overall female literacy rate is also low at just 40 per cent.

Co-author of the report, Saadia Zahidi, said, “There are different things that need to be done in different places, but there’s a lot that can be shared between countries and companies.”

“For instance, despite struggling economies, the Nordic countries have remained consistently in the top ten.”

Zahidi noted, “But the reason this occurs is because they’ve completely closed the gaps in health and education – but the region continues to be number one in political empowerment and economic participation as well.”

Founder and Executive Chairman of WEF, Klaus Schwab said, “The key for the future of any country and any institution is the capability to attract the best talents.”

“In the future, talent will be more important than capital or anything else. To develop the gender dimension is not just a question of equality; it is the entry card to succeed and prosper in an ever more competitive world.”

The USA has fallen from 17th place in 2011 to 22nd, suggesting that their gender gap is closing at a slower rate than other countries.

The UK has also slipped from 16th last year to 18th place.

Read the full report on the WEF homepage here.

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