|While the world has achieved great progress in gender equality, there’s still a lot to be done. Many women across the world are still denied access to education, job opportunities, and more / Photo by: auremar via 123RF|
While the world has achieved great progress in gender equality, there’s still a lot to be done. Many women across the world are still denied access to education, job opportunities, and more. They are being killed and sexually abused even at an increasing rate. Every day, they live in constant fear that their lives are at risk from sexual predators. They also need to strive harder compared to men to prove that they are worthy of acknowledgment and recognition. All these they need to endure just because they are a woman.
The good news is that many countries are working toward a gender-equal society, where both sexes will gain access to all services on equal terms. Gender equality is a fundamental human right, which means all of us to have a right to be treated fairly and to live free of discrimination. But more than that, gender equality is a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world. Providing all genders equal access to education, healthcare, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making will fuel sustainable economies, which will benefit societies and humanity at large.
Every year, several gender equality reports are being released to show the progress we’ve had with gender parity and what still needs to be done. The Global Gender Gap Report, an index designed to measure gender equality, benchmarks 144 countries regarding their progress on gender parity in four key areas: educational attainment (outcomes on access to basic and higher-level education), economic participation and opportunity (outcomes on salaries, participation levels, and access to high-skilled employment), health and survival (outcomes on life expectancy and sex ratio), and political empowerment (outcomes on representation in decision-making structures).
The Global Gender Gap Report assesses how countries are dividing their resources and opportunities to both the male and female populations. It was designed to raise global awareness on the challenges that gender gap poses. Also, it tackles the benefits and opportunities that would emerge when actions are taken to reduce them.
"By providing a comprehensible framework for assessing and comparing global gender gaps and by revealing those countries that are role models in dividing these resources equitably between women and men, the report serves as a catalyst for greater awareness as well as a greater exchange between policymakers,” people behind the report said.
100 Years to Achieve Global Gender Equality
The report also projected that achieving global gender equality will take almost 100 years to close, which means most of us won’t be alive to see this milestone. While this seems like a long time, it’s quite good news compared to last year’s calculation, which would take 108 years to close. It was reported that educational attainment and health and survival are closer to parity with 96.1% and 95.7% respectively.
Political empowerment this year showed a significant improvement. According to the World Economic Forum, an independent, international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas, the political gender gap will take 95 years to close compared to 107 years last year.
This year’s improvement in political empowerment is attributed to the significant increase in the number of women in politics. The report showed that women worldwide hold 25.2% of parliamentary lower-house seats and 21.2% of ministerial positions. This is better compared to last year’s 24.1% and 19% respectively. Meanwhile, the gap in economic participation widened from 57.8% in 2018 to 58.1% in 2019. Some of the reasons behind this include wage stagnation, low levels of women in managerial or leadership positions, and labor force participation and income.
Also, women are more highly represented in jobs that have been hit hardest by automation such as retail and white-collar clerical roles. Their workforce opportunities are also limited due to lack of access to capital and lack of care infrastructure. Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, stated that gender parity is important in ensuring strong, cohesive, and resilient societies globally.
“For business, too, diversity will be an essential element to demonstrate that stakeholder capitalism is the guiding principle. This is why the World Economic Forum is working with business and government stakeholders to accelerate efforts to close the gender gap,” Schwab said.
Top Countries Closest to Achieving Gender Equality
For the 11th year in a row, Iceland was recognized as the most gender-equal country, having closed nearly 88% of its overall gender gap. The country has continued to improve on last year’s rankings, completely closing its gap in education and health and survival. Aside from that, Iceland remains the top performer for political empowerment. For the last 22 years, it has chosen a female leader. Also, women make up 40% of its ministers and 38% of its parliament.
According to NBCNews.com, a news website owned and operated by NBCUniversal as the online arm of NBC News, Iceland is followed by other Nordic countries such as Norway, Finland, and Sweden as the most gender-equal nations. Their rankings are not surprising because they have frequently monopolized the top spots in the report since 2006. In fifth place is Nicaragua followed by New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, Rwanda, and Germany. Meanwhile, the regions that performed poorly this year include Africa, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific.
The Global Gender Gap Report is both a reminder and wake-up call for all countries to continue working toward a gender-equal society. This will benefit the lives of people in all aspects.
|For the 11th year in a row, Iceland was recognized as the most gender-equal country, having closed nearly 88% of its overall gender gap / Photo by: Pipop Boosarakumwadi via 123RF|