2017’s Best (& Worst) Countries for Gender Equality, According to the Global Gender Gap Report

2017’s Best (& Worst) Countries for Gender Equality, According to the Global Gender Gap Report

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released its 2017 Global Gender Gap Report. In this report, the WEF ranks 144 countries based on gender equality.

What is the Global Gender Gap Report?

Gender parity is key to whether and how economies and societies thrive. Making sure that half of the world’s total talent pool is appropriately trained and developed has a great effect on the growth, competitiveness and future-readiness of economies and businesses worldwide. The Global Gender Gap Report analyzes 144 countries on their progress towards gender parity. The countries are examined across themes: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. This year’s report also looks into the dynamics of gender gaps across industry talent pools and occupations.

To build future economies that are both dynamic and inclusive, we must ensure that everyone has equal opportunity. Countries must integrate women and girls into the community, so that we do not lose out on skills, ideas and perspectives. This variety is critical for addressing global challenges and harnessing new opportunities.

This report finds that, globally, gender parity is shifting into reverse this year for the first time since the World Economic Forum started measuring it. Yet there are also many countries that have made considerable progress, understanding that talent is a critical factor for growth.

Progress in 2017

This year’s list sees no new entrants to the top 10, but it records some notable rank changes. Smaller Western European countries dominate in the top spots, particularly the Nordics who occupy the top three positions. Compared to the world average, the top countries strongly lead on Political Empowerment. 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—up from five both last year and in 2015.

Top 10: Iceland, Norway, Finland, Rwanda, Sweden, Nicaragua​, Slovenia, Ireland,  New Zealand, Philippines

Bottom 10: Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Chad, Iran, Mali, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Morocco, Jordan

The Global Gender Gap Index reveals that all countries can do more to close their gender gap. Across the Index, there are only seven countries that have closed 80% of the gap or more. There are also 61 countries that have closed between 70% and 80% of their gender gap. A further 67 countries have closed between 60% and 70%, while nine countries have closed between 50% and 60%. In 2017, no country had closed less than 50% of their overall gender gap. However, there is wide variety in progress on closing the gender gap in every world region, with both success stories and underperforming countries in each.

Overall, the Global Gender Gap Report shows progress towards gender equality, and provides a clear snapshot into the progress that can be achieved moving forward. To learn more about how countries around the world are striving towards women-friendly cities, be sure to explore our library of Wise Practices.

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