Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan
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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Oh, Yay! More Great News for Women! 2017 Edition!

The World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report

The World Economic Forum has just published its annual Global Gender Gap Report. Published every year since 2006, the report "benchmarks 144 countries on their progress towards gender parity across four thematic dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment."

Of course, we'd like to believe that women are closing the gap--that, all over the world, despite the obstacles they face, women are making progress. 

Unfortunately, that is not the case. Last year, assuming "[a]ll things held equal," the global gender gap was projected to close in 83 years. But things did not hold equal--today, "with current trends, the overall global gender gap can be closed in exactly 100 years [emphasis added] across the 106 countries covered since the inception of the Report" (viii).

Let's start with the good news, or at least the sorta good news: "On average, the 144 countries covered in the Report have closed 96% of the gap in health outcomes between women and men." This is the "smallest gap," but the numbers remain unchanged since last year. Still, "the gap is larger than it stood in 2006" (25), when the first Global Gender Gap Report was published.

And now, the bad news: 
on current trends, the education-specific gender gap could be reduced to parity within the next 13 years. The widest gender gap, in the political dimension, is also the one exhibiting the most progress, narrowing by 9% since 2006, despite a slowdown in progress this year. On current trends, it could be closed within 99 years [emphases added]. (25)
And now (because that's the kind of woman I am), the worse news:
Some of the most challenging gender gaps remain in the economic sphere. At the current rate of change, and given the continued widening of the economic gender gap already observed last year, it will now not be closed for another 217 years [emphasis added]. This year, the economic gender gap has reverted back to where it stood in 2008, after a peak in 2013. (25)
As for the U.S.? Don't look for them in the "top ten"--that is, the countries which have succeeded in "closing more than 80% of their overall gender gap" (14-15). Those countries? Iceland, Norway, Finland, Rwanda, Sweden, Nicaragua, Slovenia, Ireland, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

Where is the U.S.? It's ranked at 49 among the 144 countries in the global report--right below Bangladesh and Peru, right above Zimbabwe and Jamaica. 

If you want to see the complete list of rankings, look for Table 3 (10-11). And you can see the "country score card" for the United States, found on p. 334.

For my blog post on last year's Global Gender Gap Report, click here.