We've now got 217 years to wait for gender equality on pay and employment

We’ve now got 217 years to wait for gender equality on pay and employment

The World Economic Forum has added another 47 years to its predicted date that the globe will achieve gender parity on pay and employment disparities between men and women.

That means we’ll now be waiting 217 years for such gaps to close.

And it means we’ve gone backwards, significantly, since the last report in 2016, which then calculated the timeframe as 170 years.

When it comes to other gender equality measures, including political participation and access to healthcare and education, the WEF puts the timeframe as 100 years before such disparities will close, compared with 83 years when measured in 2016.

As such, WEF has described 2017 as a “bad year in a good decade”.

There has been a slight improvement for Australia, which is now ranked 35th in the overall rankings on gender equality, down from 46th in 2016.

Still, it’s pretty pathetic when you consider we were ranked 15th overall in 2006 and 12th on economic security and opportunity.

WEF puts our slight progress down to “gender parity in the country’s share of legislators, senior officials and managers, as well as to notable improvements on the political empowerment subindex, with an increased share of female parliamentarians, as well as women in ministerial positions.”

In 2017, we’re ranked 45th for women in Parliament (where positions are 29% female), and 43rd for women in ministerial positions (24% female).

We continue to rank first for women’s education attainment, but 42nd on economic participation and opportunity. We rank 56th for labour force participation more specifically, and 62nd for ‘wage equality for similar work’.

We rank 48th on political empowerment.

We rank a shocking 104th on health and survival, and 112th when it comes to “healthy life expectancy”. Women’s Agenda has investigated this further with WEF and we hope to be able to share more information shortly.

The WEF report takes an annual look at progress on equality between men and women across four key areas: educational attainment, health and survival, economic opportunity, and political empowerment.

Iceland, Norway and Finland take out the overall three top spots, followed by Rwanda and Sweden.

New Zealand is in the 9th position, unchanged since last year. The United States is ranked 49th.

Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab, said we’re moving from the era of capitalism to one of talentism. “Competitiveness on a national and on a business level will be decided more than ever before by the innovative capacity of a country or a company,” he said.

“Those will succeed best, who understand to integrate women as an important force into their talent pool.”

Saadia Zahidi, Head of Education, Gender and Work, World Economic Forum, said on releasing the report that in 2017 we should not be seeing gender parity progress “shift into reverse”.

“Gender equality is both a moral and economic imperative. Some countries understand this and they are now seeing dividends from the proactive measures they have taken to address their gender gaps.”

These are the countries ahead of Australia on the index: 

  1. Iceland
  2. Norway
  3. Finland
  4. Rwanda
  5. Sweden
  6. Nicaragua
  7. Slovenia
  8. Ireland
  9. New Zealand
  10. Phillipines
  11. France
  12. Germany
  13. Namibia
  14. Denmark
  15. UK
  16. Canada
  17. Bolivia
  18. Bulgaria
  19. South Africa
  20. Latvia
  21. Switzerland
  22. Burundi
  23. Barbados
  24. Spain
  25. Cuba
  26. Belarus
  27. Bahamus
  28. Lithuania
  29. Mozambique
  30. Moldova
  31. Belgium
  32. Netherlands
  33. Portugal
  34. Argentina

You can read the full report here, with a breakdown on Australia’s performance on page 68. 

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