The Global Gender Gap Report 2014 indicates that since 2006, there has been a worldwide improvement of 4% in the gender gap for economic participation and opportunity. Going by this rate; we’ll have to wait another 81 years for gender equality in the workplace.


Where the report adds that in terms of Health and Survival, the global gap is that of 96%, it also says that the gap for political empowerment remains wide with 21%. Where Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden have remained in the top four positions (in the same order,) Denmark has shown a tremendous improvement in the scores with the country now ranking fifth from eighth position last year.


According to the report, after narrowing its wage gap and improving the number of women in parliamentary and ministerial level positions, the United States of America now stands at the 20th position, climbing four places since last year.


At #144, India ranked the lowest amongst all the BRICS nations. It is also one of the few countries where female labour force participation is shrinking. Where China fell 18 places to 87th, largely due to its very low sex ratio at birth; the Philippines remains to be the Asia Pacific region’s highest-ranked country, followed by New Zealand, ranking 13 and Australia ranking 24.


[Picture Courtesy: Feminist Majority Foundation]

In the middle eastern and North African region, Kuwait ranked the highest at 113 (one step ahead of India,) followed by the United Arab Emirates at 115. The report stated that the lowest ranking country in the Index is Yemen.


Saadia Zahidi, Head of the Gender Parity Programme at the World Economic Forum and lead author of the report said: “Much of the progress on gender equality over the last 10 years has come from more women entering politics and the workforce. …And in the case of politics, globally, there are now 26% more female parliamentarians and 50% more female ministers than nine years ago.”


“Achieving gender equality is obviously necessary for economic reasons. Only those economies who have full access to all their talent will remain competitive and will prosper. But even more important, gender equality is a matter of justice. As a humanity, we also have the obligation to ensure a balanced set of values,” stated Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.