Gender pay gap will close, study finds, but not for 170 years

Every cloud has a silver lining: The Rwandan parliament is predominantly female, showing the country has closed its gender gap admirably. Pictured is a WIP meeting in 2013 in the East African country. [Women in Parliaments]

According to the World Economic Forum’s annual report on gender equality, Iceland is the most equal country for the eighth time in a row. But the situation is deteriorating on a global scale. EURACTIV’s partner Der Tagesspiegel reports.

A new study has estimated that it will take 170 years for all men and women to be paid the same for the same work. If current trends are not changed, then economic equality will only be reached in 2196, claimed a WEF report published Wednesday (26 October). There has been a “dramatic reversal” according to the study.

Last year, the WEF predicted it would take 118 years, after 2013 proved to be a high point in tackling inequality. However, things have since deteriorated.

The Gender Gap Report highlighted that women are still disadvantaged when it comes to political participation and economic reward. Although there has been some progress in education, there have not been the same gains for women in terms of the economic or political spheres, the report said.

Social media knocking on the door of gender inequality in politics

Female members of parliament from around the world are using social media to bridge a gender inequality gap that still lingers, even in Europe, according to a landmark study released today (11 October).

The WEF’s research team has published its Gender Gap Report for the past decade, analysing data from 144 countries around the world. Health, education, economic and political participation by women and men are the four core aspects studied by the team.

In the first two areas, the report noted that there had been significant improvements. On average, the gender gap has closed to 95% and 96% for health and education. Comparative life expectancy and health risks have almost equalised between the genders. Education showed the biggest increase, with the WEF delighted to report a entire percentage point increase in just one year.

But only 23% of the political gap has been closed, “continuing a trend of slow but steady improvement”, and just 59% for economic participation, the lowest value measured by the index since 2008.

Overall, the gender gap currently stands at 31% when all the factors are taken together. A drearier picture arises when one delves deeper into the statistics. Of the 142 countries analysed last year, 68 have improved their gender gap, but in a massive 72 nations, the situation for women has deteriorated.

The report’s authors acknowledged the success seen in health, in which nine countries have eliminated the gap between men and women. The economic or political gap has not been bridged completely in any of the countries studied.

EU rights watchdog: Challenging gender stereotypes begins at home

Legislation is only part of the solution. We need a mix of legislative and non-legislative instruments to tackle persistent gender inequalities, especially in advancing women in high-level positions, but that has to start from the grassroots, says Michael O’Flaherty.

The northern hemisphere dominated among the best performing countries, with Scandinavia taking the plaudits. For the eighth year in a row, Iceland topped the list, followed by Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Surprisingly, Rwanda followed closely. Its performance in health and education still leaves a lot to be desired, but it has made huge strides in political and economic parity. The East African country in fact tops the list of most women in parliament.

The countries with the biggest gender gaps turned out to be Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan and Yemen.

Germany ended up ranking between Namibia and Burundi, in 13th place, two places behind Switzerland.


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