By: AMIN AHMED
ISLAMABAD: This year gender gap has narrowed down slightly across the world, but in Pakistan it appears to have widened.
The ‘Global Gender Gap Report 2013’ published by the World Economic Forum on Friday placed Pakistan almost at the bottom of a list of 136 countries. The report ranked Pakistan 135th while Yemen was placed at the 136th position.
According to the report, gender gap continued to widen in Pakistan, which was ranked 134th in 2012 and 132nd in 2010. With 67 per cent of the gender gap closed, the Asia and Pacific region occupies the fourth place out of six regions this year in terms of overall score, just before the Sub-Saharan region and the Middle East and North Africa region.
Nepal (121), Islamic Republic of Iran (130) and Pakistan (135) occupy the last places in the regional rankings.
The report placed Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Nepal in the group which had both large education gender gaps as well as economic ones.
The gender gap index shows zero percentage in terms of women in top management positions in Pakistani firms. Similarly, there is zero per cent share of women on boards of listed companies.
However, female participation in ownership of companies is 7 per cent. The percentage of men having an account in a formal financial institution is 17 per cent as compared to 3 per cent for women.
The report says that male adult unemployment rate in Pakistan is 4 per cent of the total male employment while female adult unemployment rate is 9 per cent of the female labour force.
The report says that in terms of improvement between 2012 and 2013, the Asia and Pacific region is the second best region, just after Latin America and the Caribbean. The region has closed 56 per cent of the gap on the economic participation and opportunity sub-index, which places the region in fifth position on that sub-index, just before the Middle East and North Africa.
The region has closed 93 per cent of the gap on the educational attainment sub-index. The region has also closed 24 per cent of the political empowerment gender gap.
The Asia and Pacific region is the best performing region on that sub-index. On the health and survival sub-index, Asia and Pacific region occupies the last place.
The report says the world’s gender gaps narrowed slightly in 2013 on the back of definite if not universal improvements in economic equality and political participation between the sexes. The eighth annual edition of the report ranks 136 countries on their ability to close the gender gap in four key areas: economic participation and opportunity, political empowerment, health and survival, educational attainment, political participation and economic equality.
Of the 133 countries measured in both 2012 and 2013, 86 actually improved their gender gap during this time. Overall, the report finds Iceland the most advanced country in the world in terms of gender equality for the fifth consecutive year. It, along with Finland (2nd), Norway (3rd) and Sweden (4th), has now closed over 80 per cent of its gender gap.
These countries are joined in the top 10 by the Philippines, which entered the top five for the first time, Ireland (6th), New Zealand (7th), Denmark (8th), Switzerland (9th) and Nicaragua (10th).