Gender inequality widening after decade of progress - WEF

Nov 03, 2017, 00:30
Gender inequality widening after decade of progress - WEF

Gender inequality seems to be getting worse, according to a newly released report.

Lower salaries of women and worsening health condition had cost the Philippines its top ranking in the Asia and the Pacific World Economic Forum's (WEF) Global Gender Index (GGI).

The report measures nations on their progress for women in terms of the gender pay gap, political empowerment, health and survival, and educational attainment.

"Conversely weak performance in the report among economies such as Hungary, the Czech Republic and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are due to economic gender gaps in aspects such as wage parity and the poor political representation of women in parliaments and in ministerial cabinets", Ms Ratcheva explains.

While India's economic participation, educational attainment and political empowerment ratio speaks of female proportion to male in society its "health and survival" ratio speaks of sex ratio at birth (converted to female-over-male ratio).

An analysis of Global Gender Gap Index over the past years points to a continued under-use of the ever-increasing numbers of educated women than ever before, the report said.

Among the world's 20 leading economies, France fared the best, taking 11th place overall, up from 17th place previous year and 70th place in 2006.

It also revealed that gender gaps at the industry level particularly highlights that even though qualified women are coming out of the education system, many industries are failing to hire, retain and promote them.

In 2017 women earned $6,290 on average, while men earned an average of $9,302. It now ranks behind countries including the United Kingdom (15th), Australia (35th) and Bangladesh (47th).

The top spots in the gender gap index were dominated by Scandinavian countries, with Iceland placed at first, Finland at second and Norway at third.

The further away the score is from 0, the higher the "distance to parity" in the country for that sub index appears to be.

With organisations vying for gender parity, many countries have made considerable progress, understanding that talent is a critical factor for growth, according to a report. These economies are "putting in place more gender-equal opportunities regardless of their level of economic development", said Stefanova Ratcheva.

About 23 per cent of the political gap has been closed, which is unchanged since past year against a long-term trend of slow but steady improvement. The health gender gap is larger than it stood in 2006. "Gender equality is both a moral and economic imperative", said Saadia Zahidi, head of education, gender and work at WEF.