World Economic Forum
THE GLOBAL GENDER GAP REPORT 2007
Direct Link to Full Report: http://www.weforum.org/pdf/gendergap/report2007.pdf
(1), Norway (2), Finland (3) and Iceland (4) once again top the rankings in the
latest Global Gender Gap Report. All
countries in the top 20 made progress relative to their scores last year – some
more so than others. Latvia (13) and Lithuania (14) made the biggest advances
among the top 20, gaining six and seven places respectively, driven by smaller
gender gaps in labour force participation and wages. The Report covers a total
of 128 countries, representing over 90% of the world’s population.
Click on the links in the right hand column to learn more about the Report; the rankings (PDF I Excel); country profiles; photos and the press release
The Global Gender Gap Report 2007
The five Nordic countries, which also perform consistently well in the World Economic Forum’s competitiveness rankings, all continue to hold a place among the top 10, with Sweden (1), Norway (2), Finland (3), Iceland (4) and Denmark (8) in the same positions as last year. While no country has yet achieved gender equality, Sweden, Norway and Finland have all closed over 80% of the gender gap and thus serve as a useful benchmark for international comparisons.
The Nordic countries are strong performers in all four areas of the Global Gender Gap Index. Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland each hold the top four spots in descending order on the political empowerment subindex, while Denmark also displays a strong performance in 13th place. On economic participation and opportunity, Sweden and Norway hold 6th and 10th places among the 128 countries covered, Denmark is in 18th place and Finland and Iceland hold the 22nd and 23rd positions respectively. With the exception of Finland, the Nordic countries’ scores on health, political empowerment and educational attainment remain unchanged, but all four see increases in their scores on economic participation, driven mainly by a decreasing gap between women and men’s labour force participation rates and salaries. Finland receives a small increase in its political empowerment scores but this is offset by slight decreases in the salary gap scores within the economic participation and opportunity subindex.
Many European countries hold privileged spots in the Gender Gap Rankings 2007. Fourteen of them – the five Nordic countries, Germany, Ireland, Spain, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Croatia and Belgium – hold places among the top 20 positions. Germany, which held 5th place in last year’s rankings, has fallen behind New Zealand and the Philippines. All three countries have shown improvements in their economic participation ratios but larger absolute increases in the Philippines and New Zealand put these countries in 5th and 6th positions respectively, while Germany falls to 7th place.
Ireland (9) and Spain (10) outperform the United Kingdom (11) which previously held 9th place. Their superior performance is driven by increases in economic participation and political empowerment indicators, notably in Spain, which ranks 5th among the 128 countries covered on political empowerment – it has 36% women in parliament and half of all those in ministerial positions are female. While the United Kingdom has fallen in the relative rankings, it shows an increase in its overall score, driven by improvements in the ratio of women to men among technical workers, in the ratio of women’s estimated earned income over men’s estimated earned income and in the ratio of women’s labour force participation ratio versus that of men. Women’s estimated earned income rose from US$ 20,790 to US$ 24,448 while men’s estimated earned income rose from US$ 33,713 to US$ 37,506, increasing the United Kingdom’s rank on this variable from 31 in 2006 to 22 in 2007.
Both Latvia and Lithuania show marked progress on the Gender Gap Index. Latvia rises to rank 13 in 2007 (it held 19th place in 2006) while Lithuania rises to 14th place (it held 21st place in 2006). Both countries’ progress was driven mainly by improved scores on the economic participation and opportunity subindex, where Latvia now ranks 17th and Lithuania 7th among the 128 countries covered in the Index this year. In Latvia, women’s participation in the workforce increased from 49% to 63% and men’s participation increased from 64% to 72%, causing the ratio of women to men to grow from 0.77 to 0.88 and putting Latvia in 23rd place out of the 128 countries on this variable. In Lithuania, women’s participation increased from 52% to 66% and men’s participation grew from 63% to 72%, causing the ratio of women to men to grow from 0.82 to 0.91 and placing Lithuania in 15th position on this variable, out of the 128 countries. The ratio between women and men on estimated earned income also rose from 0.62 to 0.67 in Latvia and 0.68 to 0.69 in Lithuania. Additionally, in Lithuania the percentage of women in parliament increased from 22% to almost 25%, boosting its score on the political empowerment subindex.
Switzerland, which held 26th position last year, dropped to 40th place this year. This is partly because two new countries entered the rankings at a higher position, but is mainly due to a revision of the estimated earned income data from the UNDP for both Swiss women and men. The ratio of estimated female-to-male earned income, which is one of the five indicators used to construct the Gender Gap Index’s economic participation and opportunity subindex, is a measure built by the UNDP with data from the World Bank (GDP per capita and population) and from the International Labour Organization (ILO) (economically active population and wages in nonagricultural sectors for females and males). At the time of the production of the Gender Gap Report 2006, women's estimated earned income was reported as US$ 29,000 and men's income as US$ 32,000 in the UNDP’s Human Development statistics, resulting in a ratio of 0.9. This has been corrected in the latest Human Development statistics: the correct estimate for the earned income of females is US$ 25,000 and for the earned income of males is US$ 41,000, leading to a ratio of 0.61. This has resulted in an overall drop for Switzerland on the Gender Gap Index 2007, particularly as Switzerland's scores on all other variables remain largely static.
France continues to be one of the six countries that hold the number one ranking on both education and health (the others are Belize, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Lesotho and the Philippines) and has made considerable progress overall, holding 51st position this year as compared to 70th position in 2006. This significant increase is driven by the availability of new data in the economic participation and opportunity subindex. To calculate the two variables "female legislators, senior officials and managers" and "female professional and technical workers", the UNDP uses ILO data based on the ISCO-88 international occupation data classification. During the production of last year’s Report, the ISCO-68 classification was used as a proxy due to lack of up-to-date ILO occupation data classifications for France,. The data for France have since been updated and is consistent with the new ISCO-88 international classification. This update led to increases in the proportion of women among "professional and technical workers" as well as the proportion of women among "legislators, senior officials and managers". In addition, the ratio between women and men’s labour force participation rates increased from 0.79 to 0.85, further boosting France’s scores on economic participation.
Greece (72), Malta (76), Cyprus (82) and Italy (84) continue to hold the lowest places among the European Union countries. Yet all four have displayed progress on absolute scores and when their 2007 ranks are recalculated among the 115 countries covered in 2006, all four show an improvement in the rankings (see Table 3). All four countries improved on the ratio of women and men’s labour force participation in comparison with last year. While these increases are encouraging, these countries continue to be held back in the overall rankings due to relatively low scores on income ratios, the low percentage of women among professional and technical workers, legislators, senior officials and managers, and low numbers of women in parliament and women in ministerial positions.
The Russian Federation, ranked 49th in 2006, holds 45th place this year and would hold 41st place in 2007 if its rank is calculated using the 115 countries covered last year (see Table 3). This increase is driven by improvements in women’s labour force participation (54% to 67%), in the economic participation and opportunity subindex. The country also continues to do well on the education and health subindexes (rank 22 and rank 37 respectively) but still lags behind on political empowerment – there are 10% women in parliament, well below the sample average of 19%, and no women in ministerial positions according to the latest available data.
Croatia (16) and Moldova (21) continue to be strong performers, driven by Croatia’s strong performance on political empowerment and the relatively small gaps in the economic participation indicators in Moldova. Bulgaria (25) and Romania (47) also continue to rank above average, with Bulgaria in particular showing a marked increase in its economic participation and opportunity scores: women's labour force participation rose from 41% last year to 52% in the latest available data, the percentage of women legislators, senior officials and managers increased from 30% to 33%, and the percentage of female professional and technical workers rose from 34% to 61%. Turkey, which ranked 105 in 2006, now ranks 121 among the 128 countries covered in the 2007 rankings and 108 when 2007 rankings are recalculated with the original 115 countries only (see table 3). Turkey continues to rank well below the lowest ranking European countries and displays below average performance on all four subindexes: 118 on economic participation and opportunity, 110 on educational attainment, 87 on health and survival and 108 on political empowerment.
The United States’ performance was mixed over the last year and resulted in a small overall drop in its rank, from 23 in 2006 to 31 in 2007 (29 among the original 115 countries). The percentage of female legislators, senior officials and managers fell from 46% to 42% and the scores received on wage equality for similar work fell from 0.68 to 0.64. These two decreases were only partially offset by the increase in the ratio of women and men’s labour force participation rates (this grew from 0.82 to 0.86), resulting in an overall drop in the United States’ score on the economic participation and opportunity subindex, which in turn pulled down the United States’ overall score and rank on the Index. While the United States’ performance on political empowerment is suboptimal (it ranks 69 out of the 128 countries in the Index), there has been an increase in the percentage of women in parliamentary positions in the latest available data. Canada continues to show a similar performance as that of last year, ranking well on economic participation and opportunity (13) and educational attainment (26), and performing above average on political empowerment (36) and health and survival (51).
America and the Caribbean
Four countries out of the 15 that have closed the gender gap on education and 17 out of the 35 that have closed the gap on health are from the Latin America and Caribbean region (see Figure 4). Cuba enters the rankings for the first time this year, coming in at 22nd, and replaces Colombia as the highest ranking country in the region. Cuba is boosted by small gaps between boys and girls enrolment in primary and secondary education, a diminutive gap on women and men’s literary rates, a relatively high percentage of women in parliament and women in ministerial-level positions and a higher percentage of women than men among professional and technical workers. Colombia falls to 24th place in the rankings, followed closely by Costa Rica at 28th position. Jamaica, which held the 24th position last year, fell to 39th position, mainly due to a drop in the ratio of women and men’s labour force participation rates and a widening gap on women and men’s estimated earned income.
Argentina gains eight places in the rankings, coming in at 33rd this year. Argentina continues to display strong performances on educational attainment (33), health (1) and political empowerment (25), and improves on economic participation – 75th in 2007, up from 82nd in 2006 – boosted by an improved ratio between women and men’s labour force participation and a reduction in the gap between women and men’s estimated earned incomes. However, the World Economic Forum’s Executive Opinion Survey reveals that Argentina continues to have one of the widest wage gaps on similar work – Argentina is ranked 104 on this variable.
Brazil’s drop in the rankings, from 67 in 2006 to 74 in 2007, is mainly due to the entrance of new countries at a higher position in the rankings, rather than to a drop in its performance. Brazil continues to be among the 17 countries in the region sharing the top spot in the health category, and has shown improvement on economic participation indicators such as the ratio between women and men on labour force participation, estimated earned income and wage equality for similar work. However, Brazil continues to display a relatively poor performance on educational attainment (84) and political empowerment (96).
Mexico’s performance was mixed over the last year – its scores on economic participation improved but this was offset by deterioration in its scores on political empowerment. The result was a considerable drop in its overall rank, from 75 in 2006 to 93 in 2007 (85 among the original 115 countries). Mexico’s performance on the other two subindexes is strong – it is among the 17 countries from the region that hold the number one spot in the health category and it has closed over 99% of its education gap.
Chile improves its score on the Index from 0.645 in 2006 to 0.648 in 2007, driven by a smaller gap on political empowerment (10.9% in 2006, 11.6% in 2007). Its drop in the overall rankings, from 78 in 2006 to 86 in 2007, is due to the entrance of new countries at a higher position in the rankings, rather than to a drop in performance – its 2007 rank among 2006 countries is still 78. However, Chile continues to be held back by poor performance on the economic participation and opportunity subindex (105 out of 128 countries). Women’s labour force participation is 41% as compared to 76% for men, women’s estimated earned income is less than half that of men and less than a quarter of "legislator, senior official and manager positions" are occupied by women. The Index results once again place Guatemala, ranked 106th, as the country with the largest gender gaps in the region, held back in particular because of its poor performance on economic participation and opportunity (112) and educational attainment (102).
East and North Africa
Israel (36) continues to hold the top spot in the Middle East and North Africa region, favoured by higher-than-average performances on economic participation (45), educational attainment (38) and political empowerment (41). Relative to last year, Israel’s scores on economic participation improved: women’s labour force participation rates increased relative to those of men, as did women’s estimated earned income vis-à-vis that of men.
This year, we have included three new countries from the region: Syria, Qatar and Oman. Kuwait (96) remains the second-highest ranking country in the region, followed by Tunisia (102), Syria (103), Jordan (104), the United Arab Emirates (105), Algeria (108), Qatar (109), Bahrain (115), Oman (119), Egypt (120), Morocco (122), Saudia Arabia (124) and Yemen (128).
Most Arab world countries not only continue to perform far below the global average, but have also do not show much improvement over the last year or have deteriorated. The exceptions are some of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The United Arab Emirates had significant improvements on both economic participation and political empowerment subindexes. Wage inequality for similar work decreased and the gap between women and men’s estimated earned income also diminished. Furthermore, both women and men stood for election and voted for the first time in that country’s history. Nine women entered Parliament gaining 22.5 percent of the seats. In Bahrain, a woman was elected to the Lower House of Parliament for the first time in that nation’s history. These economies have invested large amounts of resources in increasing women’s education levels over the last decade and will now need to better integrate these women into the economy to reap the benefits of this investment.
Egypt’s minor improvements on economic participation are offset by drops in both its health and education scores. In Morocco, the gap on estimated earned income worsens as does the gap between the percentages of women and men who are legislators, senior officials and managers and the gap between the enrolment of women and men in tertiary education. Saudi Arabia shows minor improvements on labour force participation rates of women and revised data for tertiary education enrolment present a more positive picture than that of 2006. However, Saudi Arabia remains the lowest ranking country in the region on political empowerment. Yemen (128) continues to occupy not only the last place in the region, but also the last place in the overall rankings of the 128 countries, having closed only a little more than 45% of its gender gap.
The Philippines (6) and Sri Lanka (15) remain distinctive for being the only Asian countries in the top 20 of the rankings. The Philippines is once again the only country in Asia to have closed the gender gap on both education and health and is one of only six in the world to have done so. The Philippines’s scores on political empowerment improved further, as did some of its economic indicators such as estimated income, labour force participation and income equality for similar work. Sri Lanka (15) fell two places in the rankings, having been outperformed by Latvia and Lithuania, but its overall performance in 2007 has improved relative to its performance in 2006. Sri Lanka showed improvements on the ratio of women and men’s labour force participation rates as well as wage equality for similar work. On political empowerment (7), Sri Lanka continues to hold a privileged position, having been led by a female head of state for 21 of the last 50 years. It also continues to have the smallest gap on educational attainment (56) as compared to other countries in South Asia.
Kazakhstan (32) and Uzbekistan (41) occupy the next highest ranks in Asia, followed by Vietnam (42), a new entry in 2007. Thailand follows next at 48th position, losing some places in comparison to 2006 due to deterioration in its percentage of women in parliament. China holds 73rd position in the 2007 rankings. While China’s overall rank as well as its subindex rankings decreased, its absolute scores on both economic participation and health increased. In the economic participation and opportunity subindex, both labour force participation and wage equality for similar work improved. China continues to rank very low on the health and survival subindex (124) due to a disproportionate sex ratio at birth that contributes to China’s "missing women" phenomenon, but there have been minute increases on this variable over the last year, leading to an increase in its absolute scores on this subindex.
Japan lies in 91st position on the Index. While it performs above average on health (37) and education (69), its performance on economic participation (97) and political empowerment (94) is poor. Korea (97) continues to rank low but has shown slight improvements in labour force participation and wage equality. Finally, Bangladesh (100), India (114), Iran (118) and Pakistan (126) continue to hold some of the lowest positions in the Asian rankings. While Bangladesh, India and Pakistan perform very poorly on the economic, education and health subindexes, their overall scores are partially bolstered by relatively good performances on political empowerment (Bangladesh ranks 17th, India 21st and Pakistan 43rd on this subindex). Relative to their own performances in 2006, Bangladesh, Iran and Pakistan register small increases in scores, while India’s sex ratio at birth fell to 0.89 girls for every boy, causing its overall score to decrease.
Both New Zealand (5) and Australia (17) continue to perform well in the rankings. Australia shows a well-rounded performance, ranking well on all four subindexes and, over the last year, further improving its scores on economic participation, driven by advances in labour force participation and wage gap data. New Zealand improves further in the two areas where it already has particular strengths: its rank on political empowerment increased by two places to 9th position among the 128 countries, while its rank on economic participation rose by six places to 8th position this year
South Africa (20) continues to hold the prime spot among the rankings and is the only country from the region to hold a place among the top 20. Its strong performance on political empowerment remained steady over the last year, according to the latest available data (more than 40% of its ministers are women and more than a third of the positions in parliament are held by women), while its score on economic indicators such as labour force participation and wage equality slightly improved.
Lesotho (26) and Namibia (29), which previously held 43rd and 38th positions, respectively, move up in the rankings, taking the 2nd and 3rd places in the region. Lesotho is once again the only country from the region to have no gap on education or health. Between 2006 and 2007, there was an increase in the ratio of women and men’s labour force participation, in the estimated earned income ratio, in wage equality for similar work, and women in parliament increased from 12% to 24%. In Namibia, labour force participation of women rose from 47% to 48% and wage equality for similar work went up by 0.10 points. Namibia also continues to be a strong performer on political empowerment.
Tanzania loses 10 places, ranking 34th in 2007. It had previously held the top spot on economic participation and opportunity, but now falls to 4th position on this subindex due to increases in perceived wage inequality. In 2007 we were able to include one more country from the region – Mozambique – which enters in 43rd position. While it holds the top spot on economic participation, and performs well above average on political empowerment (22) and health (57), it is held back by its poor scores on educational attainment. While education levels for both women and men are low in Mozambique, women’s literacy is only half that of men’s literacy, and Mozambique’s overall ranking on this subindex puts it in 120th place out of the 128 countries covered.
Botswana, which previously held 34th place, falls to 53rd position this year due to a widening of the gap between women and men’s estimated earned income and a worsening of the health gap, where Botswana already holds one of the worst positions in the world (118). The healthy life expectancy of both women and men is excessively low, in large part due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but Botswana continues to be among the very few countries in the world where women have lower healthy life expectancies than men. The performances of Ghana (63), Kenya (83), Malawi (87), Zimbabwe (88), Madagascar (89) and Nigeria (107) remain largely unchanged. Benin (123) and Chad (127) continue to occupy some of the lowest positions in the rankings.
Albania to Dominican Republic
Ecuador to Luxembourg
Macedonia, FYR to Saudi Arabia
Singapore to Zimbabwe
Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates
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