The world is facing an acute misuse of talent by not acting faster to tackle gender inequality, which could put economic growth at risk and deprive economies of the opportunity to develop, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2016, which is published today. Global pay parity is now 170 years away.
The report is an annual benchmarking exercise that measures progress towards parity between men and women in four areas: Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, Economic Opportunity and Political Empowerment. In this latest edition, the report finds that progress towards parity in the key economic pillar has slowed dramatically with the gap – which stands at 59% – now larger than at any point since 2008.
Behind this decline are a number of factors. One is salary, with women around the world on average earning just over half of what men earn despite, on average, working longer hours taking paid and unpaid work into account. Another persistent challenge is stagnant labour-force participation, with the global average for women standing at 54%, compared with 81% for men. The number of women in senior positions also remains stubbornly low, with only four countries in the world having equal numbers of male and female legislators, senior officials and managers, despite the fact that 95 countries now have as many – if not more – women educated at university level.
Progress peaked in 2013
In 2015, projections based on the Global Gender Gap Report data suggested that the economic gap could be closed within 118 years, or 2133. However, the progress has reversed since then, having peaked in 2013.
Australia ranks at number 46 (down from 36th win 2015), New Zealand at number 9 and Rwanda at number 5.
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