Iran stands at 116th place (among 130 countries) in the Global Gender Gap Report 2008 published by World Economic Forum. India (113), Iran (116), Nepal (120) and Pakistan (127) continue to hold some of the lowest positions in the Asian rankings, but on average all four countries post gains relative to their own performances in 2006 and 2007, signifying a positive trend. (see full Iran country report)
Following are the country highlights from the report. The full report is available on the web site of World Economic Forum.
Eight European countries are among the ten highest ranked countries in the world and fourteen among the top twenty. These include Germany (11), United Kingdom (13), Switzerland (14), France (15), Spain (17) and Moldova (20), in addition to the five Nordic countries, Ireland, the Netherlands and Latvia.
Germany, which held 5th place in the 2006 rankings and 7th place in the 2007 rankings, has fallen in the rankings for the third consecutive year. Gaps on both economic and political participation have become larger, as the perceptions of business leaders regarding wage equality for similar work have become worse and the number ofwomen in ministerial positions has fallen. The United Kingdom also slides in the rankings for the third consecutive year, from 9th place in the 2006 rankings, 11th place in the 2007 rankings to 13th place in the 2008 rankings.
Switzerland gains 26 places in the ranking based on very substantial increases in the percentageof women in parliament and those in ministerial level positions. France improves considerably for the third consecutive year and shows the biggest gain in ranks (36 places) and scores out of all 128 countries covered in both 2007 and 2008. Its performance is driven by gains in both the economic participation and opportunity subindex as well as the political empowerment subindex.This is based on an improvement in perceived wage equality, in percentage of women amonglegislators, senior officials and managers, in percentage of women in parliament and finally, inpercentage of women among ministerial level positions, where France now ranks 4th in the world.
Spain, previously in 10th place, loses 7 places this year, due to a slightly larger gap in perceived wage equality for similar work and percentage of women among ministerial level positions, although Spain is still one of the best performers on this variable, holding 6th position globally. Moldova shows further improvements this year to enter the top 20. It holds the second spot on the economic participation and opportunity subindex: women's labour force participation is almost 85% that of men's labour force participation, perceived wage equality for similar work is among the highest in the world and women hold nearly double the number of professional and technical worker positions that men do.
Lithuania (23), Belgium (28), Austria (29), Belarus (33), Bulgaria (36), Estonia (37) and Portugal (39) follow next in the rankings. Lithuania falls 9 places this year, affected by a drop in the percentage of women among legislators, senior officials and managers from 42% to 40%. Belgium loses 8 places in the rankings, after dropping to 60th place on the economic participation and opportunity subindex. Belarus and Bulgaria lose 9 and 11 places respectively, both countries losing ground on the economic participation and opportunity subindex and the political empowerment subindex.
The Russian Federation (42) gains 4 spots in the rankings this year, driven by narrowing gaps on the economic participation subindex, where the country now ranks in 16th place globally. However, in terms of political empowerment, the Russian Federation is far below average, holding the 100th position in the rankings for this subindex. Croatia (46) and Macedonia (53) display some of the largest losses in the region, losing 30 and 18 places respectively. Poland (49) is among the gainers, having climbed up 11 places from last year due to gains in the percentage of women among legislators, senior officials and managers as well as in ministerial level positions.
The Slovak Republic (64), in addition to Finland, France and Latvia, is one of four European countries that have achieved gender parity on both education and health. However, relative to its own performance in 2007, the country loses 9 places in the rankings due to the more significant improvements in other countries.
Italy (67) gains 18 places in the rankings this year. The data show very significant improvements in the percentage of women among legislators, senior officials and managers, members of parliament and in ministerial level positions. Czech Republic (69), Romania (70), Greece (75), Cyprus (76) and Armenia (78) follow next, with Romania showing the biggest losses among these. Georgia (82), Malta (83), Albania (87) and Turkey (123) occupy some of the lowest positions in the rankings. Georgia and Albania fall in the rankings by 15 and 21 places respectively as political participation gaps widen considerably in both countries. Turkey's performance relative to its own performance in 2007 shows a slight improvement, driven by gains in education and political empowerment, but women's economic participation shrinks further as gaps on wage equality for similar work widen.
The United States (27) gains 4 places in the rankings this year, driven by across the board improvements in the four subindexes. Given the very tight differentials between country scores on educational attainment, small improvements in this subindex lead to a marked increase in the ranking on this subindex (from 76th position in 2007 to 1st position in 2008). These gains are accompanied by improvements in both the economic participation and opportunity subindex and in the political empowerment subindex, driven by gains in perceived wage equality for similar work, percentage of women in parliamentary level positions and percentage of women in ministerial level positions. The United States now holds 56th position in the political empowerment subindex up from 69th position in 2007.
Canada (31) falls 13 places this year and ranks behind the United States for the first time since the Global Gender Gap Index was launched three years ago. Canada saw a minimal increase in the economic participation and opportunity index score, driven by smaller gender gaps on labour force participation, estimated earned income and legislator, senior official and manager positions, but otherwise showed losses on both the educational attainment subindex and the political empowerment subindex. On political empowerment, Canada lost ground mainly on the percentage of women among those holding ministerial level positions.
Latin America and
Six countries out of the 24 that have closed the gender gap on education outcomes and 18 out of the 36 that have closed the gap on health outcomes are from the Latin America and Caribbean region (see Table 4). Trinidad and Tobago (19) makes a remarkable climb up the rankings to hold the highest position in the region and to become the only country from the region to hold a place among the global top twenty. This is partly due to an improvement in the economic participation and opportunity sub-index, but can be mainly attributed to an increase in the number of women in parliament, boosting Trinidad and Tobago's ranking from 49th to 26th on this variable, and an increase in the percentage of ministerial level positions held by women, improving the variable ranking from 35th to 12th position. Argentina (24), the second highest ranking country in the region this year, ascends nine places due to an overall increase in political empowerment, driven by large gains in the percentage of women in parliament (4) and among those holding ministerial level positions (38). Cuba (25), a new entrant last year, fell 3 places primarily due to an overall fall in the economic participation and opportunity sub-index (from 39th to 77th place), as new data became available on the gaps in estimated earned income. Barbados (26) enters the ranks for the first time this year and takes the fourth highest spot in the region. It is one of the 36 countries to have achieved parity on health outcomes and, in 9th position, is one of the best performing countries on the economic participation and opportunity subindex.
Costa Rica (32), Panama (34) and Ecuador (35) follow next. Costa Rica has fallen 4 places in the rankings despite a slight overall improvement in its scores. This is partially due to the more significant overall improvements of other countries as well and partially due to the introduction of a new country (Barbados) that enters the rankings above Costa Rica. Both Panama and Ecuador showed strong improvements in scores and in the corresponding rankings. Jamaica (44), Honduras (47), Peru (48), Colombia (50), Uruguay (54) and Venezuela (59) hold the middle rankings in the region. Honduras moved up 21 spots mainly due to sizeable increases in the number of women legislators, senior officials and managers (73rd to 12th position) and professional and technical workers (81st to 1st position). Peru gained 27 places in the rankings this year through wide-ranging improvements, such as smaller gender gaps in labour force participation, wage equality for similar work, estimated income earned, legislators, senior official and manager positions, enrolments in secondary education, literacy rates and ministerial level positions.
Colombia, the highest ranking Latin American country in 2006, dropped 25 places compared to last year due to a slightly lower ratio in primary education and a lower number of women ministers in parliament than in 2007. Uruguay improved marginally in most of the subindexes, although its biggest achievements came from increased female enrolment in secondary education, bringing the educational attainment rank from 53rd to 27th, and more women in ministerial positions, which brought Uruguay from 115th to 53rd place in the political empowerment sub-index.
Chile (65) makes a remarkable climb up the rankings by 21 spots, from 86th place in 2007. Chile loses some ground on economic participation and opportunity (105th to 106th place), but compensates with increasing numbers of women in ministerial positions and number of years of a woman in executive office, resulting in net gain in the overall scores and a climb from 58th position in 2007 to 26th place in 2008 on the political empowerment subindex.
Nicaragua (71) and Brazil (73) follow next in the rankings. Brazil (73) moves up one spot in theoverall rankings from 74th place in 2007. While there were small gains in women's labour force participation, and wage gaps narrowed, the country's position on the economic participation and opportunity subindex remained virtually unchanged. By contrast, new data on enrolment in primary education helps to place Brazil among the 24 countries that have fully closed gender gaps in education.
Suriname(79), Bolivia (80), Belize (86), Mexico (97), Paraguay (100) and Guatemala (112) occupy the lowest positions in the region. Suriname and Paraguay show some of the biggest losses, falling by 23 and 31 positions respectively. Bolivia maintains the same overall ranking as last year. Although there have been improvements in the political empowerment sub-index, these are partially offset by a weaker performance in the economic participation and opportunity subindex. Mexico fell four places this year from 93rd place in 2007. Mexico's performance relative to itself remains unchanged, but the more notable achievements of other countries entails that Mexico falls in the relative rankings. Guatemala remains the lowest ranking country in the region, declining further not only in the rankings but also relative to its own performance last year, penalized to large losses in the political empowerment subindex where Guatemala fell from 61st to113th position.
Middle East and
Israel (56) continues to hold the top spot in the Middle East and North Africa region, but falls twenty places relative to its rank in 2007. This is mainly due to the significantly stronger performances of countries such as Ecuador (34), Panama (35), Mozambique (19), Trinidad and Tobago (18) and France (15), all of whom had previously been lower than Israel in the rankings. However, there have also been minor declines in Israel's own performance, particularly on the economic participation and opportunity subindex and the political empowerment subindex. On the economic participation and opportunity subindex the gap on labour force participation has widened in addition to a bigger perceived wage gap for similar work, according to the perceptions of business leaders responding to the Executive Opinion Survey. In the political empowerment subindex, the percentage of ministerial level positions occupied by women has fallen to 12%, placing Israel below the sample average for all 130 countries.
For the third consecutive year Kuwait (101) holds the second spot in the region, favoured inparticular by higher-than-average performances on economic participation and educational attainment, relative to the region. However, relative to last year, Kuwait's scores on economic participation fell from 0.60 to 057, although it is still a regional leader on this category, holding the second spot on this subindex. These losses were only partially offset by the notable gains made in political participation due to the appointment of women in ministerial level positions.
Kuwait is followed in the rankings by Tunisia (103), Jordan (104), the United Arab Emirates (105), Syria (107), Mauritania (110), Algeria (111), Oman (118), Qatar (119), Bahrain (121), Egypt (124), Morocco (125), Saudia Arabia (128) and Yemen (130). While most MENA region countries continue to perform far below the global average, countries such as Tunisia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Oman, Egypt, Morocco and Yemen have all shown improvements in scores. On the other hand, countries such as Syria, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have deteriorated.
Tunisia's improvements were driven by gains in economic participation and educational attainment, both of which in turn were driven by narrower gaps in labour force participation, estimated earned income and literacy rates. Jordan makes some of the largest gains across the board, driven by improvements in labour force participation, estimated earned income, literacy rates, women in parliament and women in ministerial level positions. In the United Arab Emirates, minor losses in economic participation are compensated by larger gains in educational attainment and political empowerment, building upon the considerable gains made in last year's report, after both women and men stood for election and voted for the first time in that country's history and nine women entered Parliament gaining 22.5 percent of the seats. These economies are starting to reap the rewards of investment in women's education, resulting in higher enrolment rates and literacy rates, and will now have to focus efforts to better integrate these women into the economy as a part of the overall drive to create jobs for the region's youth.i Egypt, one of the largest economies in the region, makes small gains in both economic participation and political empowerment, but its overall performance remains among the worst in the world and the region. In Morocco, while the overall performance places this country among the bottom three in the region, the notable gains in the number of women in ministerial level positions help improve Morocco's performance relative to last year.
Saudi Arabia, after making gains in scores last year, falls on both scores and ranks in 2008, due toa correction to the data on the percentage of women among legislators, senior officials and managers, and losses on wage equality for similar work. These are only partially offset by gains in literacy rates. Saudi Arabia remains the lowest ranking country in the region on political empowerment. Finally, Yemen continues to occupy the last place in the region as well as in the overall rankings, remaining the only country in the world to have closed less than 50% of its gender gap, although it makes gains on economic participation, educational attainment and political empowerment this year.
Asia and Oceania
The Philippines (6) and Sri Lanka (12) remain distinctive for being the only Asian countries among the top 20, for the third consecutive year. The Philippines is one of two countries in Asia to have closed the gender gap on both education and health and is one of only eleven in the world to have done so. However, the Philippines's score relative to its performance in 2007 fell due to a drop in the perceived wage equality between women and men employed in similar positions and a decrease in the percentage of women ministers. Sri Lanka makes gains in on the political empowerment subindex, but loses ground on the economic participation and opportunity subindex, showing a slight widening of the gap in estimated earned income between women and men.
Mongolia (40), Kyrgyz Republic (41) and Kazakhstan (45) occupy the next highest rankings in Asia, followed by Thailand (52), Uzbekistan (55) and China (57). China gains 16 places in the rankings, boosted by narrowing gaps among legislators, senior officials and mangers, professional and technical workers, parliamentary positions and ministerial level positions. China continues to be one of the lowest ranking countries on the health and survival subindex (126) due to a disproportionate sex ratio at birth that contributes to China's "missing women" phenomenonii.
Vietnam (68), a new addition in 2007, falls 26 spots this year due to losses in both economic and political participation. Singapore (84), Tajikistan (89), Bangladesh (90) and Maldives (91) fall into the middle of the rankings in the region but perform below the world median. Bangladesh climbs 11 places in the rankings and is distinctive for being the second highest ranking country in
South Asia, after Sri Lanka, and is the highest ranking Muslim-majority country in the index, followed closely by Indonesia (93). Cambodia (94), Malaysia (96), Japan (98) appear next in the rankings. Japan has among the widest gaps on economic participation (102) and political empowerment (107), contributing to its low ranking. Brunei Darussalam (99) is one of two new countries added to the Index in 2008.
Korea (108) loses ground on wage equality (on both perceived wage equality for similar work and for overall estimated earned income), percentage of women among technical and professional workers, and on gaps in net secondary and gross tertiary enrolment. India (113), Iran (116), Nepal (120) and Pakistan (127) continue to hold some of the lowest positions in the Asian rankings, but on average all four countries post gains relative to their own performances in 2006 and 2007, signifying a positive trend. While much work needs to be done across the board in all four countries, in particular to close gender gaps in education, India, Nepal and Pakistan are distinctive for performing above average in political empowerment.
New Zealand (5) and Australia (21) continue to perform well in the rankings. Both countries have fully closed the gap on the educational attainment subindex and both perform well on economic participation indicators. Between 2007 and 2008, both countries show gains on economic participation, educational attainment and political empowerment. Sub-Saharan Africa Lesotho (16) takes over the top spot in the region, holding once again the uppermost spots on health and education, while also showing improvements in economic participation and political empowerment. It is followed by Mozambique (18) as the only other African country in the top 20.
South Africa (22) slips down two spots relative to its performance last year due to the greatly improved performance of countries such as Switzerland, France, Lesotho and Mozambique, all of which cross South Africa in the rankings. However, relative to its own performance last year, South Africa makes small gains in both educational attainment and political empowerment.
Namibia (30) shows a steady performance, continuing to display narrow gaps on political empowerment but losing ground on education as new data becomes available for tertiary education. Tertiary level enrolment stands at only 5% for women and only 6% for men, underscoring the need for improvements for both women and men. Tanzania (38) and Uganda (43) follow next. Tanzania loses three places in the rankings despite significant improvements in economic participation, educational attainment and political empowerment. Tanzania now holds the third spot globally on the economic participation subindex, supported by the one of the smallest gender gaps in labor force participation, estimated earned income and legislators, senior officials and managers.
Botswana (63) loses ten places in the rankings this year due to the relatively more significant achievements of other countries. Relative to its own performance, Botswana shows an overall improvement, including in educational attainment, making Botswana the second highest ranking country in the region on this category, after Lesotho, which holds the top spot. Botswana's gap on the health and survival subindex, among the widest in the world (120), remains wide and Botswana continues to be among the very few countries in the world where women have lower healthy life expectancies than men.iii
Madagascar (74), Ghana (77), Malawi (81), Gambia (85), Kenya (88), Zimbabwe (92) and Mauritius (95) occupy the middle rankings in the region, but fall below the world median. Among the lowest ranking countries, Nigeria (102), Mali (109), Mauritania (110), Burkina Faso (116) and Cameroon (117) all show improvements relative to their rankings in 2007. Zambia (106), Angola (114), Ethiopia (122), Benin (126) and Chad (129) fall further, displaying wideninggender gaps.
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