Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Global Gender Gap Report, 2018

The World Economic Forum has published an annual global gender gap report since 2006*.  Four sub-indexes are aggregated to get an overall measure about average differences between men and women in four areas:  economic participation and opportunity, health and survival, educational attainment and political participation.

The index has its problems.  For example, the health sub-index does not measure reproductive choice**.  But it also has certain advantages.  It compares countries with others of roughly the same income level, and because it has been published for over a decade, it lets us analyze progress (or lack of progress) over time.

The 2018 results are out.  Progress has not completely stalled, but it's very very slow.  At this rate the global pay gap between women and men, for example,  would take 202 years to close.  The largest gaps are found in political participation and economic participation and opportunity.  The remaining gaps in health and educational attainment are relatively small.

The ten most gender-equal countries, based on the aggregate index, are largely the ones you would guess to be found there, the Nordic countries.  Iceland leads the pack, followed by Norway, Sweden and Finland.  Nicaragua comes in fifth, Rwanda sixth, then New Zealand, Philippines, Ireland and Namibia.

The ten least gender-equal countries, based on the aggregate index are, starting from the tenth from the bottom and ending with the worst: Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen.***

United States comes fifty-first in the overall rankings.  This is a slight drop from the previous year, partly due to the Trump effect!

The United States (51) moves down two spots compared to last year. It records some modest improvements on the Economic Opportunity and Participation subindex—particularly with regard to wage equality for similar work—but a directional reversal in education and virtually no change on the Political Empowerment subindex, which stands at its lowest level since 2007, due, in particular, to a significant decrease in gender parity in ministerial level positions.

Bolds are mine.

*  For a few posts of mine about the earlier reports, check this for 2009,  this for 2015, this for 2016 and this for a link to the 2017 report.  I have written more posts on the reports but Blogger will not allow me to search very far back in my archives.

** The Philippines, for instance, would probably drop from the top ten if reproductive health care services were included in the health sub-index.

*** There is an urgent need for much stronger feminist activism inside Muslim countries.  They tend to be the majority among the ten least gender-equal countries in this index, and this year is no exception.

As an aside, I checked if Yemen's position was caused by the horrible war raging there.  That does not seem to be the case as Yemen was also in the last position in the rankings of 2009, 2015 and 2016.