GENEVA: Ranked 141 of 142 countries in the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report, Pakistan emerged second to last in terms of gender equality worldwide. The report, published on Tuesday, quantifies the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracks their progress over time.
It seeks to measure one important aspect of gender equality: the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas — health, education, economy and politics.
According to the report, Pakistan is ranked 141 in terms of economic participation and opportunity for women, 132 in terms of education attainment, 119 for health and survival and 85 for political empowerment. Since 2006, when the WEF first began issuing its annual Global Gender Gap Reports, women in Pakistan have seen their access to economic participation and opportunity fall from 141 from 112.
Workplace gender gap
The WEF said the worldwide gender gap in the workplace had barely narrowed in the past nine years. While women are rapidly closing the gender gap with men in areas like health and education, inequality at work is not expected to be erased until 2095, the report added.
“Based on this trajectory, with all else remaining equal, it will take 81 years for the world to close this gap completely,” the WEF said in a statement. The world would be better served to speed up the process, according to WEF founder and chief Klaus Schwab.
“Achieving gender equality is obviously necessary for economic reasons. Only those economies who have full access to all their talent will remain competitive and will prosper,” he said.
The report looked at how nations distribute access to healthcare, education, political participation and resources and opportunities between women and men. Almost all the countries had made progress towards closing the gap in access to healthcare, with 35 nations filling it completely, while 25 countries had shut the education access gap, the report showed.
Even more than in the workplace, political participation lagged stubbornly behind, with women still accounting for just 21 per cent of the world’s decision makers, according to the report.
Yet, this was the area where most progress had been made in recent years.
“In the case of politics, globally, there are now 26 per cent more female parliamentarians and 50 per cent more female ministers than nine years ago,” said the report’s lead author Saadia Zahidi. “These are far-reaching changes,” she said, stressing though that much remained to be done and that the “pace of change must in some areas be accelerated.”
The five Nordic countries, led by Iceland, clearly remained the most gender-equal. They were joined by Nicaragua, Rwanda, Ireland, the Philippines and Belgium in the top 10, while Yemen remained at the bottom of the chart for the ninth year in a row.
The United States meanwhile climbed three spots from last year to 20th, after narrowing its wage gap and hiking the number of women in parliamentary and ministerial level positions.
France catapulted from 45th to 16th place, also due to a narrowing wage gap but mainly thanks to increasing numbers of women in politics, including near-parity in the number of government ministers.