Closing gender pay gap could take almost two centuries: World Economic Forum

The global gender gap report measures the discrepancies between men and women across four key areas-- health, education, economy and politics. Photograph:( Getty )

Z?rich, Switzerland Oct 26, 2016, 05.36 AM (IST)

It could take as long as 170 years to establish gender economic equality, according to a study done by Geneva-based World Economic Forum.

In the global gender gap report released today, Pakistan ranked 143 out of 144 nations in the gender equality index. India was ranked 87th, Bangladesh 72nd, Sri Lanka 100th, Nepal 110th, the Maldives 115th and Bhutan 121st.

Yemen was the only country that fared worse than Pakistan.

The study measures discrepancies between men and women across four key areas -- health, education, economy and politics -- and the dismal results are a clarion call to ramp up efforts to close the gender gaps in pay and workforce participation. 

Iceland and Finland took the top spot, followed by Norway, Sweden and Rwanda.

Rwanda has the highest share of women parliamentarians in the world.

Income equality has also improved in the eastern African country in the last few years, the WEF said. 

Political empowerment

The United States ranked 73rd in the political empowerment gap. The gap is all the more disturbing as the country might elect its first woman president on November 8.

Closing the gap in political empowerment at current rate could take 82 years, the report said.
 
US ranked 45th in the overall global list. 

"In the political sphere, women's engagement in public life has a positive impact on inequality across society at large," the report said. "In addition, there is a range of evidence to suggest that women's political leadership and wider economic participation are correlated.”

Gender gap at 59 per cent

The gender gap stands at 59 per cent, meaning that women have just 59 per cent of economic participation and opportunity as compared to men. 

Around the world, 54 per cent of working-age women on average participate in the formal economy, compared with 81 per cent of men, according to the findings. 

"The number of women in senior positions also remains stubbornly low, with only four countries in the world having equal numbers of male and female legislators, senior officials and managers, despite the fact that 95 countries now have as many – if not more – women educated at university level,” the report said. 

The authors of the report, Richard Samans and Saadia Zahidi, told Guardian that they hoped their work “will serve as a call to action for governments to accelerate gender equality through bolder policymaking, to business to prioritise gender equality as a critical talent and moral imperative, and to all of us to become deeply conscious of the choices we make every day that impact gender equality globally”.

(WION with inputs from agencies)

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