The Gender Gap Is Closing (But We’re Not There Yet)November 2, 2011 No Comments
On average, the gender gap is narrowing around the world so this is definitely something to celebrate.
Women are almost as healthy (96 percent gap closed) and educated (93 percent gap closed) as men. Unfortunately, there’s still a long way to go with only 60 percent of the gap closed for economic participation and 20 percent of the gap closed in political empowerment.
These numbers come from The Global Gender Gap Report 2011, released today by the World Economic Forum.
They found these numbers by surveying 135 countries worldwide and comparing markers of men’s and women’s equality.
Who’s on top? Of course, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Finland are all at the forefront of sexual equality, as they are with most surveys of this kind.
Canada rose to 18th place (from 20th last year) with the main discrepancy for women’s lack of participation in politics.
“Life expectancy and literacy remain ‘alarmingly low’ across many parts of Africa and Asia…and while women in Latin America have more education than men, marriage and motherhood prevent their full economic and political participation.”
We see this again and again. Women want to take part in the economy and politics, have the education and the ability, but the structure of the economy prevents them from fulfilling their potential.
This is why more effort needs to be made for family-friendly work policies including maternity and paternity leave. Employers need to stop looking at women as liabilities (surely they’ll just get pregnant and quit!) and instead as intelligent and valued members of the team.
Women don’t earn less because they aren’t as good at their jobs, they earn less because, inevitably, most of them lose years out of their career when they have children (yes, even in so-called enlightened countries like Canada). But this doesn’t have to happen. Will politicians ever get it through their thick skulls that there is a better way? Will we learn from other countries who succeed or continue to blunder along making selfish political decisions?
There have been improvements with this new report (see how your country ranks here), but there’s still a long way to go. Women are 50 percent of the world population and we should not still be forced to fight for equality.
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