Rwanda eclipses Ireland on closing gender gap

It's going to take 217 years to close the global economic gender gap

In its latest annual global gender gap report, the forum assessed 144 countries based on differences between men and women in terms of economic participation in the workforce, education, health and political empowerment.

Overall, the average progress on closing the global gender gap stands at 68 per cent - meaning an average gap of 32 per cent remains to be closed worldwide, compared to an average gap of 31.7 per cent a year ago. This retreat backwards means that, at the current rate of progress, the global gender gap would take 100 years to disappear entirely, compared to 83 last year.

Switzerland has been ranked quite highly in the index for several years, having closed 74% of its economic gender gap and ranked 11th last year and 8th in 2015.

WEF data showed the country's ranking declined to 25th in economic participation and opportunity in 2017, from 21st in 2016. Others said that it is because many employers still organize the work day "around the stereotypes of women as caregivers at home and men as breadwinners at work", according to the Guardian.

She added that the history of Islam had many examples of powerful women who played a full part in business and society.

It is the least improved country in Health and Survival of girl children over a decade. But it remained low in economic participation at 121st, mostly due to the gender wage gap and low female representation in senior posts.

In conclusion, WEF suggests India may need to employ more women in top elected government positions to maintain its top 20 ranking in 'political empowerment'.

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So why the Swiss exception?

"Even though qualified women are coming out of the education system, many industries are failing to hire, retain and promote them, losing out on a wealth of capacity", it said. Given the continued widening of the economic gender gap, it will now not be closed for another 217 years.

Ranked 100 overall, China was No. 144-dead last-for gender parity when it came to women's health. Zahidi says that public-private collaborations or exchanging information about best practices could help address the issue.

The country has marginally improved its ranking in the sub-indices of WEF's gender gap index. "The fact that 66 per cent of women's work is unpaid shows the gender disparity".

"In some cases it's about awareness and cultural change that takes time to put in place but some of it is about very specific policies related to child care, school hours, paternity leave and maternity leave". India's Health and Survival ranking was 142nd past year and on political empowerment it ranked 112th.

However, this dominance does not translate into the workplace.

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