CSW Releases the Global Gender Gap of 2018

- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain Take Exception

Report coming from New York says Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have rejected the 2018 Report on Global Gender Gap. The report placed Bahrain’s ranking at 133 and Saudi Arabia at 141. Despite their rejection, the report was endorsed and adopted.
CSW is an annual conference held in New York to review progress made on global gender gap. CSW means the Commission on Status of Women. At the close of CSW 63 in New York, a 367 page report detailing the global gender gap in 2018 was released.
According to the report, this year’s edition benchmarks 149 countries on their progress towards gender parity on a scale from 0 (disparity) to 1 (parity) across four thematic dimensions—the sub-indexes Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment—and provides country rankings that allow for effective comparisons across and within regions and income groups.
Liberia ranks 96 globally with a slight leap on the front of women’s labor force participation where women and men get equal pay for equal work.
The report said the rankings are designed to create global awareness of the challenges posed by gender gaps, and the opportunities created by reducing them.
Among other things, the report named ten (10) countries as the leading countries that have made significant progress in dealing with gender parity. The report named 1. Iceland 2. Norway 3. Sweden 4. Finland 5.Nicaragua 6. Rwanda 7. New Zealand 8. Philippines 9. Ireland 10. Namibia
The report however, captured Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Pakistan as worst performing countries, a branding that Saudi Arabia rejected.
Here is An Excerpt
Key Findings
The Global Gender Gap Index was first introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006 as a framework for capturing the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress over time. This year’s edition of the report benchmarks 149 countries on their progress towards gender parity on a scale from 0 (disparity) to 1 (parity) across four thematic dimensions—the subindexes Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment—and provides country rankings that allow for effective comparisons across and within regions and income groups. The rankings are designed to create global awareness of the challenges posed by gender gaps, and the opportunities created by reducing them. The methodology and quantitative analysis behind the rankings are intended to serve as a basis for designing effective measures for reducing gender gaps. The methodology of the Index has remained stable since its original conception in 2006, providing a basis for robust cross-country and time-series analysis. The 2018 report’s key findings include:
• Globally, the average (population-weighted) distance completed to parity is at 68.0%, which is a marginal improvement over last year. In other words, to date there is still a 32.0% average gender gap that remains to be closed. The directionally positive average trend registered this year is supported by improvements in 89 of the 144 countries covered both this year and last year.
• Across the four subindexes, on average, the largest gender disparity is on Political Empowerment, which today maintains a gap of 77.1%. The Economic Participation and Opportunity gap is the second-largest at 41.9%, while the Educational Attainment and Health and Survival gaps are significantly lower at 4.4% and 4.6%, respectively. Among them, on average, only the Economic Participation and Opportunity gap has slightly reduced since last year.
• When it comes to political and economic leadership, the world still has a long way to go. Across the 149 countries assessed, there are just 17 that currently have women as heads of state, while, on average, just 18% of ministers and 24% of parliamentarians globally are women. Similarly, women hold just 34% of managerial positions across the countries where data is available, and less than 7% in the four worst-performing countries (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Pakistan). However, there are bright spots, where significant progress has been achieved. Full parity on this indicator is already a reality in five countries (Bahamas, Colombia, Jamaica, Lao PDR and Philippines); and in another 19 countries there are at least 40% of women in managerial positions.
• In terms of broader economic power, gaps in control of financial assets and in time spent on unpaid tasks continue to preserve economic disparities between men and women. Women have as much access to financial services as men in just 60% of the countries and to land ownership in just 42% of the countries assessed. Also, among the 29 countries for which data are available, women spend, on average, twice as much time on housework and other unpaid activities than men.
• Although average progress on gender parity in education is relatively more advanced than in other aspects, there are still 44 countries where over 20% of women are illiterate. Similarly, near-parity in higher education enrolment rates often mask low participation of both men and women. On average, 65% of girls and 66% of boys have enrolled in secondary education globally, and just 39% of women and 34% of men are in college or university today. This fact calls for more ambitious goals to better develop human capital—for both women and men. Key Findings The Global Gender Gap Report 2018.
• With the rapid changes underway in today’s labour markets, our analysis this year also took a look at gender gaps in Artificial Intelligence (AI), a critical in-demand skillset of the future. Based on collaboration with LinkedIn, we find that only 22% of AI professionals globally are female, compared to 78% who are male. This accounts for a gender gap of 72%, which has remained constant over the last years and does not at present indicate a positive future trend. The implications of this finding are wide-ranging and require urgent action. First, AI skills gender gaps may exacerbate gender gaps in economic participation and opportunity in the future as AI encompasses an increasingly in-demand skillset. Second, the AI skills gender gap implies that the use of this general-purpose technology across many fields is being developed without diverse talent, limiting its innovative and inclusive capacity. Third, low integration of women into AI talent pools—even in industries and geographies where the base of IT talent has a relatively high composition of women—indicates a significant missed opportunity in a professional domain where there is already insufficient supply of adequately qualified labour.
• Projecting current trends into the future, the overall global gender gap will close in 108 years across the 106 countries covered since the first edition of the report. The most challenging gender gaps to close are the economic and political empowerment dimensions, which will take 202 and 107 years to close respectively. Although the economic opportunity gap has slightly reduced this year, the progress has been slow, especially in terms of participation of women in labour force, where the gender gap slightly reversed. In terms of political empowerment, the progress achieved over the past decade has started to reverse. Remarkably, gender parity in Western countries has slightly reduced, while the progress is ongoing, on average, elsewhere. The education–specific gender gap is on track to be reduced to parity within the next 14 years, slightly faster than last year’s estimation. The health gender gap—although slightly larger than it stood in 2006—is nearly closed globally, and fully closed in a third of the countries assessed.
• The most gender-equal country to date is Iceland. It has closed over 85% of its overall gender gap. Iceland is followed by Norway (83.5%), Sweden and Finland (82.2%). Although dominated by Nordic countries, the top ten also features a Latin American country (Nicaragua, 5th), two Sub-Saharan African Countries (Rwanda, 6th, and Namibia, 10th) and a country from East Asia (Philippines (8th). The top ten is completed by New Zealand (7th) and Ireland (9th).
• All eight geographical regions assessed in the report have achieved at least 60% gender parity, and two have progressed above 70%. Western Europe is, on average, the region with the highest level of gender parity (75.8%). North America (72.5%) is second and Latin America (70.8%) is third. They are followed by Eastern Europe and Central Asia (70.7%), East Asia and the Pacific (68.3%), Sub-Saharan Africa (66.3%), South Asia (65.8%) and the Middle East and North Africa (60.2%). This year the 149 countries covered by the report include five new entrants: Congo, DRC; Iraq, Oman, Sierra Leone and Togo. Sierra Leone is in 114th position while the other new entrants rank lower.
• Similarly, if current rates were to be maintained in the future, the overall global gender gap will close in 61 years in Western Europe, 70 years in South Asia, 74 years in Latin America and the Caribbean, 135 years in Sub-Saharan Africa, 124 years in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 153 years in the Middle East and North Africa, 171 years in East Asia and the Pacific, and 165 years in North America. While these estimates reflect the pace observed to date towards achieving gender parity, policy-makers and other stakeholders can fastforward this process and should take stronger actions in the years to come. There is a strong imperative to do so, in terms of justice and greater social equality as well as the economic returns of a broader base of diverse human capital.


Top Ten
This year’s edition of the Global Gender Gap Index sees one new entrant to its global top 10 list, as well as recording some notable rank changes. The top spots continue to be held by smaller Western European countries, particularly the Nordics, which occupy the top four positions. In addition, the list includes two countries from the East Asia and the Pacific region, one longestablished and one new entrant from the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and one country from the Latin America and the Caribbean region. Compared to the world average, Index leaders tend to perform relatively better on Political Empowerment, with all but two also ranking in the top 10 for this subindex. All but three countries in the overall Index top 10 have now crossed the threshold of closing more than 80% of their overall gender gap—the same as last year. For comparison, five countries exceeded 80% in 2016 and 2015. Iceland (1) completes a full decade in the Index’s top spot this year, and has closed more than 85% of its overall gender gap. It remains the top performer on the Political Empowerment subindex, despite a widening gender gap in the share of women in parliament. Concurrently, for the second year in a row, Iceland’s performance on Economic Participation and Opportunity slides, due to an increased gender gap in the number of women among legislators, senior officials and managers. More positively, it takes the top spot on the wage equality for similar work indicator. Since the first edition of the Index in 2006, Iceland has continuously remained one of the fastest-improving countries in the world, although it is yet to re-surpass its 2015 high mark. Norway (2), for the second year in a row, comes in second place, having closed more than 83% of its overall gender gap. It continues a multi-year steady improvement on its gender gap regarding the number of women among legislators, senior officials and managers, but also a continued reversal on its previous improvements in wage equality for similar work. In addition, Norway records a slight increase in the share of women in parliament, moving up one spot on the Political Empowerment subindex to third, globally. Sweden (3), after losing its long-held fourth place last year, regains two places this year, and now ranks third, having closed more than 82% of its overall gender gap. It maintains a strong position on the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex, due to continued progress on women’s labour force participation, while also making gains on the Political Empowerment subindex, due in part to a narrowing gender gap in women’s share of parliamentary seats. It does relatively less well on the Health and Survival subindex, where it continues to see a small but persistent gender gap in healthy life expectancy. Finland is fourth this year, having closed more than 82% of its overall gender gap. It records a widening gender gap on Economic Participation and Opportunity, due to a decreasing share of women among legislators, senior officials and managers. However, it is currently the only top-ranked Nordic country with a fully closed gender gap on Educational Attainment. Nicaragua (5) overtakes Rwanda and rises one place, to fifth. With more than 80% of its overall gender gap closed, it remains the country with the narrowest gender gap in the Latin America and the Caribbean region for the seventh year running. Nicaragua continues to maintain gender parity in ministerial positions and has one of the world’s highest shares of women in parliament, placing the country in second place overall on the Political Empowerment subindex. However, this year it also records a deteriorating performance on the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex, due to a widening gender gap in the share of women among legislators, senior officials and managers. Rwanda’s (6) steady multi-year climb since entering the Index comes to a halt for the first time, with the country falling two places due to a widening gender gap on the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex, driven by a fall in women’s estimated earned income, professional and technical workers, and wage equality for similar work. More positively, it maintains its strong performance on Political Empowerment, remaining the country with the highest share of female parliamentarians in the world (61%), and near-parity in ministerial positions. As of this year, Rwanda has closed more than 80% of its gender gap, its second-highest value recorded by the Index. New Zealand (7) rises two places, to seventh, due to improvements on the Political Empowerment subindex, on which the country enters the top 10 with a continuingly increased share of women in parliament. It also fully closes its Educational Attainment gender gap for the first time since 2015. Overall, the country has closed more than 80% of its gender gap for the first time since the Index began. The Philippines (8), the second country from the East Asia and the Pacific region in the top 10, also rises two spots, closing just under 80% of its overall gender gap, the highest value for the country ever recorded by the Index. It manages to narrow its Economic Participation and Opportunity gender gap due to increases in wage equality for similar work and women’s estimated earned income. The country’s Health and Survival gender gap remains open for a second year, although its Educational Attainment gender gap remains fully closed. Ireland (9) slides one spot—a continued fall from last year—closing more than 79% of its overall gender gap. It records a slight gender gap in enrolment in primary education, thereby re-opening its Educational Attainment gender gap for the first time since 2015. However, the country this year also records an improvement in gender parity on women’s estimated earned income. Rounding out this year’s top performers, Namibia (10) climbs three spots and newly enters the Index’s global top 10 list for the first time—the second country from the SubSaharan Africa region to do so, after Rwanda. It has closed nearly 79% of its overall gender gap, an improvement of more than 10% since the first edition of the Index in 2006. This year, Namibia sees significant advances in women’s share of parliamentary seats, where it ranks fifth globally. Further, its Health and Survival gender gap has remained fully closed since 2013.

Conclusion
The Global Gender Gap Report 2018 provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the global gender gap and of efforts and insights to close it. The Index offers a benchmarking tool to track progress and to reveal best practices across countries and subjects. This year the report finds that the gender gap has closed slightly since last year, yet it will still require 108 years to achieve full parity at the current pace. The report also highlights wide performance variation across countries and underlying factors. The report’s detailed Country Profiles and online Data Explorer tool— available on the report website (wef.ch/gggr18)—not only allow users to understand how close each country has come to the equality benchmark in each of the four subindexes, but also provide a snapshot of the legal and social framework within which these outcomes are produced. The magnitude of gender gaps in countries around the world is the combined result of various socioeconomic, policy and cultural variables. The Global Gender Gap Index was developed in 2006 partially to address the need for a consistent and comprehensive measure for gender equality that can track a country’s progress over time. The Index does not seek to set priorities for countries but rather to provide a comprehensive set of data and a clear method for tracking gaps on critical indicators so that countries may set priorities within their own economic, political and cultural contexts. The report continues to highlight the strong correlation between a country’s gender gap and its economic performance and summarizes some of the latest research on the case for gender equality. This year, we also introduced a deeper analysis of gender gaps across industries and the role of gender-based occupational and skills imbalances. The report highlights the message to policy-makers that countries that want to remain competitive and inclusive will need to make gender equality a critical part of their nation’s human capital development. In particular, learning between countries and public-private cooperation within countries will be critical elements of closing the gender gap. We hope that the information contained in the Global Gender Gap Report series will serve as a basis for continued benchmarking by countries on their progress towards gender equality, help support the case for closing gender gaps and encourage further research on policies and practices that are effective at promoting change.