Women gain as gender gap 'narrows'

 

100 Women: Conference live stream

The gap between men and women has narrowed slightly in the past year in most countries, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) report.

Iceland, Finland and Norway top the list of 136 nations, based on political participation, economic equality and rights like education and health.

The Middle East and North Africa were the only regions not to improve in the past year, with Yemen at the bottom.

The Philippines and Nicaragua both feature in the top 10.

The WEF has produced the report annually for the past eight years.

Report Saadia Zahidi on the importance of measuring inequalities

The release of this year's edition comes as the BBC rounds off a month-long focus on women and gender around the world with a major event at Broadcasting House in London.

One hundred women from all around the world are gathering for a day of debate and discussion as the 100 Women season comes to an end.

Yemen's challenge

Iceland's position at the top of the WEF rankings was the fifth year in a row the country has been named the world's most equal.

Report founder and co-author Saadia Zahidi told the BBC that since the WEF began compiling the index in 2006, 80% of countries had made progress.

"What's worrying though is that 20% of countries have made no progress or are falling behind," she said.

View from the Philippines (ranked 5th)

We're a matriarchal society. Mothers are dominant - generally, they influence their children to a large extent.

Women usually hold the purse. Even if they are not the major breadwinners, they do the budget, decide how money is spent. Thus, men don't have a dismissive attitude toward women.

It's a very liberal work atmosphere we have here. We're not stifled by men. But there was - and is - one important thing going for women here: we have a fantastic support network, from household help to extended families.

I was a beat reporter for a daily newspaper while raising a kid. If we didn't have a full-time, home-based babysitter, I wouldn't have managed.

She singled out the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia as countries that had invested in education and health, but had not integrated women into the economy.

Nadia al-Sakkaf, editor of the English-language Yemen Times, in London for the 100 Women conference, told the BBC that she had stopped counting the years her country had languished at the bottom of the equality list.

"It comes down to everyday life. We had three women running for president in 2006. We have lots of women in senior positions," she said.

"But our levels of maternal mortality are very high, and 35% of girls aged 6-14 years old are not in school."

Human capital

Saadia Zahidi of the WEF said that by contrast many sub-Saharan countries had not invested in women, but through necessity they played a major role in the economy.

Nordic countries continued to lead the way because they had a long history of investing in people, she said.

"They are small economies with small populations; they recognise that talent matters, and that talent has to be men and women.

Overall, the report, entitled Global Gender Gap Report 2013, found Iceland to be the most advanced country in the world in terms of gender equality for the fifth year running.

THE TOP 20 COUNTRIES

2013

2012

Iceland

1

1

Finland

2

2

Norway

3

3

Sweden

4

4

Philippines

5

8

Ireland

6

5

New Zealand

7

6

Denmark

8

7

Switzerland

9

10

Nicaragua

10

9

Belgium

11

12

Latvia

12

15

Netherlands

13

11

Germany

14

13

Cuba

15

19

Lesotho

16

14

South Africa

17

16

UK

18

18

Austria

19

20

Canada

20

21

Iceland, Finland (second), Norway (third) and Sweden (fourth) had all closed over 80% of the gender gap, where 100% would represent full equality.

The highest-ranked Asian nation was the Philippines (fifth), praised for its success in health, education and economic participation.

Asia's major economies performed poorly, with China in 69th place and Japan 105th.

Nicaragua in 10th place was the highest positioned country in North and South America, and was praised for a "strong performance" in terms of political empowerment.

Among major world economies Germany ranked 14th (down one), the UK held its position at 18, with Canada at 20 and the United States 23rd.

On matters of health and survival, the report finds that 96% of the gap has now closed.

In terms of education, the global gender gap is 93% closed, with 25 countries now judged to deliver equal treatment to boys and girls at school.

It is a different picture on the core issue of economic equality, where the gender gap has closed by 60%.

In developing and developed countries alike, women's presence in economic leadership positions is limited.

And while women have made small gains in political representation - 2% this year - only 21% of that global gender gap has closed

Ms Zahidi said the idea of the report was not to remind poor countries that they had fewer opportunities than rich countries, but to give them a tool to improve the situation.

"Women make up one half of the human capital available to any economy and any company; if that talent isn't integrated, that is going to be a loss for both women and men," she said.

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 641.

    639.Vamos Ye Azules
    Case not proven.
    Without the data of what percentage of females made up the total employed figures and their fatatilites your figures are meaningless. Totally pointless.

    What we are debating here is equal opportunities. Not equal performances or equal mortalities, sorry but I think you have totally missed the point.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 640.

    "Words fail me. In the 21st century you really should know what "informed consent" is"

    So, if sobriety is needed for consent, then why isn't the woman also considered to be raping the intoxicated man? No normal person would consider two drunk people having sex a rape and yet these these consensual events are counted by feminists only as males raping females. Feminism, thy name is dishonesty!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 639.

    635. Tio Terry
    Feminists take a statistic like - 19% of UK boardroom members are women. The reasons may be many and varied, but a feminist will use it as evidence of unequal opportunity.

    Likewise the reasons that 94% of fatalities at work in the US in 1994 occured to male workers are many and varied and you can have a go at making them up, but it doesn't happen by chance and it is not trivial.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 638.

    635. Tio Terry

    Thanks for bringing rationality into the argument.

    Also, 628. michaelm, made a false comparison. Assault by men on women does not equate with industrial accidents to men. Assault is deliberate whilst accidents are not, and are not directed at men in particular. If 50% of industrial workers were women, then roughly 50% of accidents would happen to women.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 637.

    @ 633 DaveM
    Here's the link to the Government's stats and action plans. I think you should read them, it might persuade you that inequality and violence are real.
    @632 Paul
    Words fail me. In the 21st century you really should know what "informed consent" is. It might also interest you to know that women who are being abused in a relationship don't usually disclose, even to friends.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 636.

    If it wasn't for the fact that we're quite different, men and women would be just the same - which is to say, it's the human condition; we love it and hate it all at the same time. And long may it continue, because if it doesn't, humanity will cease to be.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 635.

    625.Vamos Ye Azules
    Provide some meaningfull data. How about the percentage of fatatilities of both men and women employed, like X% of men and Y% of women employed and not just the biased view you have presented so far.

    if I'm totally wrong, please say why.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 634.

    627. Tio Terry

    619.Vamos Ye Azules
    Masclulism is not masculist,
    --
    Masculist is to Masculism what a feminist is to feminism!!!

    I directly quote from the article "Education - Many masculists suggest the"

    Do you still insist there is no such word!!!

    Once again it proves my point - there is an unbalanced debate - men are not sticking up for their own rights.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 633.

    626. riff77
    Nice use of statistics pulled from where? What's the definition of assault? How many men get assaulted by women, you won't know because no ones bothered to draw the statistics up. My bubble? Yes like mist people I do my best to shape the small piece of the world I inhabit to be as pleasant as possible.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 632.

    1 in 3 women in the uk will be assaulted by a partner at some point in their life"

    Yet I don't know a single women who has been assualted by her spouse.

    Nonesense statistics using a definition of assault that includes hurting a *woman's* feelings. Much like the nonesense rape statistics often touted by feminists which include consensual sex involving alcohol as rape of the female.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 631.

    Equality only applies to the few,the rest of us just get on with it, worst thing in this world are the Drum beaters who whinge and moan until they get agenda passed in law just so the majority can be peeved orf

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 630.

    @615.riff77

    Points 1,2,3 and 6 aren't relevant to the UK except in a very small minority of communities.

    As for point 4, mothers are pretty well protected by employment laws of which many women abuse. It works both ways and that applies to point 5

    My point was women in the UK are treated equal to men, the only anomaly is pay but I remain unconvinced that women are treated unfairly.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 629.

    As an aging father of a pre-teen son. I have huge concerns with the way in which the media portray white British men, young or old. I can not remember the last time we were presented as useful or valuable. Fortunately, to our loved ones. That is not the case.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 628.

    riff77 - 1 in 3 women in the uk will be assaulted by a partner at some point in their life. ...The need for change in attitudes to women is still immense

    Vamos Ye Azules "Data from 1994 in the U.S. reported that 94% of workplace fatalities occur to men."

    Both of those statistics are worrying. Equality campaigns should address both types of issue but they never do.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 627.

    619.Vamos Ye Azules
    Masclulism is not masculist, as you stated, or masculinist. I don't agree with you, there will never be a time for masculanism, we are now in an era of equal opportunities for all and should embrace that.

    The best person for the job, what ever it is, irrespective of sexual gender, ability is more important, and equal opportunities, especially in education, for all.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 626.

    @ 622 DaveM
    "Most of us dont need laws and PC brainwashing to distinguish right from wrong or how our relationships should be."

    Must be nice in your bubble. 1 in 3 women in the uk will be assaulted by a partner at some point in their life. The largest cause of violent death among women in the uk is a current or former partner. The need for change in attitudes to women is still immense

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 625.

    613.Vamos Ye Azules
    "Data from 1994 in the U.S. reported that 94% of workplace fatalities occur to men."
    618. Tio Terry ...
    613.Vamos Ye Azules
    So what you are saying is that men are totally irresponsible and dont take adequate precautions to preserve their lives and provide for their families?
    --
    A bit glib and of course totally wrong. You think men dying at work is suitable material for comedy?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 624.

    No muslim countries in the rankings then, it's about time the muslim females stood up to there male counterparts (which seem to mistreat/hate everything that revolves round women) come on girls sort out the males and then we might have a better balanced world

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 623.

    616. paulmerhaba

    Nice one. I'm glad you didn't fall into the gap.

    I once took exception to being told to mind the gap when on the tube, having just been to the dentist and had a wisdom tooth removed.

    ....and? No the dentist wasn't a woman.

  • Comment number 622.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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