Workplace gender gap fuels Switzerland's plunge in global index

Joy Montgomery
November 3, 2017

Having once held a position of 9th in the world in 2006, the United Kingdom was 15th overall in 2017 in terms of its gender gap, a ranking generated from ratings in four areas; health, education, the workplace and political representation.

The WEF report estimates that the world's overall global gender gap could be fully closed in 100 years if current trends continue.

"Every P100 men earn, women earn P76, which is quite shocking if you think about that", Leopold told ANC. The WEF Global Gender Gap Report 2017 said that India has closed 67 per cent of its gender gap.

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.

"It was a disappointing year", said Saadia Zahidi, head of education, gender and work at the WEF.

"Western European countries perform more strongly due to smaller economic and political gender gaps".

On top of that, women were spending about 44.6 per cent of their non-work hours on unpaid work such as looking after their families while the figure for men was 18.9 per cent.

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Since last year's report, Russian Federation climbed four spots in the ranking to 71, buoyed by a higher representation of women in government.

According to the report, no country has achieved gender parity when it comes to economic opportunities and work. One metric was life expectancy: Chinese women outlive men by less than two years on average, compared with a global average of five years.

While a total of 68% of the world's gender gap (which covers several categories, not just wages) is closing, the reversal is driven by declining gender equality in the workplace and political representation. Having closed almost 88 percent of its gap, it has been the world's most gender-equal country for nine years.

"Gender equality is both a moral and economic imperative".

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 survey of 144 countries finds that as a whole, gender equality has worsened globally for the first time since WEF first produced its index in 2006. India's Health and Survival ranking was 142nd previous year and on political empowerment it ranked 112th. The most challenging gaps are in economy and politics, according to the report.

Looking at the individual pillars of the index, the report finds that in 2017, the 27 countries have now closed the gender gap in educational attainment, three more countries than past year.

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