Iceland most gender equal country in the world, World Economic Forum finds

Gender Equality 2019

"What we're seeing globally is that we don't have any country that's achieved gender equality, regardless of level of development, region or type of economy". This is largely due to a narrower income gap between men and women, which stands at almost 51% in 2018, and the number of women in leadership roles, which stands at 34% globally. In 2017, the WEF estimated that it would take 217 years to close the pay gap.

At the current rate of change, the report indicated that it will take 108 years to close the overall gender gap and 202 years to bring about parity in the workplace.

"Just six other countries (Nicaragua, Norway, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Finland and Sweden) have closed at least 50 per cent of their gap", the report said. The gender gap in the workplace meanwhile will take over 2 centuries more to close.

The rise reflected narrower wage gaps and an increase in women's labor participation rate.

Unfortunately, the strides made in wage and position equality between the genders was offset by the widening gap in education, health and politics.

"India maintains a stable ranking this year, but its gap is directionally larger this year, with a 33 per cent gap yet to be bridged", says the report, titled Measuring the Global Gender Gap.

As per the WEF's Global Gender Gap Report 2018, released Tuesday, while India has many challenges as it ranks 142nd out of 149 countries in the economic opportunity and participation subindex, it also has a few achievements.

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In business, only 34% of women hold managerial positions in the assessed countries, with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Pakistan identified as the worst performing with less than 7%.

Japan gained high marks in education and health. Only in the area of economic opportunity did the gender gap narrow somewhat, although there was not much to celebrate, with the global wage gap narrowing to almost 51pc, it added.

The WEF also noted that the Philippines was near to closing 80 percent of its overall gender gap, the "highest value" for the country ever recorded by the index. Women have as much access to financial services as men in just 60 percent of the countries and to land ownership in just 42 percent.

"More than ever, can not afford to companies, to waive the skills, ideas and perspectives of half of humanity", said WEF founder Klaus Schwab in the report. In addition, children and the elderly are still under-developed; this arrester the return of many women in the work.

Among the world's 20 leading economies, France fared the best, taking 12th place overall, followed by Germany in 14th place, Britain in 15th, Canada in 16th and South Africa in 19th.

The region scored in the middle of the range of the Global Gender Gap Index with an average remaining gender gap of 31.7 percent.

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