Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan
The Writer Christine de Pizan at Her Desk

Saturday, October 29, 2016

More Really Great News on the Gender Pay Gap--This Time on a Global Scale

The World Economic Forum's 2016 Global Gender Gap Report

The World Economic Forum has just published its eleventh annual Global Gender Gap Report--this report has been published since 2006 and measures women's progress in 144 countries. *

Here's one way to make lemonade out of lemons . . . 

In its analysis, the index focuses on fourteen variables in four areas: economic participation and opportunity; educational attainment; health and survival; and political participation.

The differences between men and women are enormous. Over all, women are worse off than men by 31.7%. 

Here's the good news, according to the report. On average, "the 144 countries covered in the Report have closed 96% of the gap in health outcomes between women and men, unchanged since last year, and more than 95% of the gap in educational attainment, an improvement of almost one full percentage point since last year and the highest value ever measured by the Index" (7).

But here's the bad news: 
However, the gaps between women and men on economic participation and political empowerment remain wide: only 59% of the economic participation gap has been closed—a continued reversal on several years of progress and the lowest value measured by the Index since 2008—and about 23% of the political gap, continuing a trend of slow but steady improvement. Weighted by population, in 2016, the average progress on closing the global gender gap stands at a score of 0.683—meaning an average gap of 31.7% remains to be closed worldwide across the four Index dimensions in order to achieve universal gender parity. (7)
And here's the worse news (because I'm a glass-half-empty kind of person): "Out of the 142 countries covered by the Index both this year and last year, 68 countries have increased their overall gender gap score compared to last year, while 74 have seen it decrease. It therefore has been an ambiguous year for global gender parity, with uneven progress at best."

And now the worst news of all: at the rate things are going, it will take 83 years to close this gender gap. But that's for all four areas--the pay gap won't close for another 170 years! Or so . . . 

And don't assume that the U.S. scores high on this index--the U.S. saw a 17 point drop on last year’s score. And it places only 45th in the global table. 

And when it comes to those pesky kinds of unpaid labor--like household tasks and childcare, for example--women still do much more than men.

* This blog post used to contain links to all the relevant data in and quotations from the 2016 report, but as of January 2021, those links no longer worked ("Error establishing a database connection"). However you can still read and download the entire report at the World Economic Forum by clicking here.