Alex Mitchley
1 minute read
20 Jan 2016
5:00 am

Gender inequality persists

Alex Mitchley

Sub-Saharan Africa has three countries in the top 20 of the gender index, with South Africa at number 17.

Despite an additional quarter-of-a-billion women entering the global workforce since 2006, wage inequality between men and women persists, with women only now earning what men did a decade ago, the Global Gender Gap Report 2015 states.

The Global Gender Gap Index, by the World Economic Forum, ranks 145 countries on the gap between women and men on health, education, economic and political indicators.

It aims to understand whether countries are distributing their resources and opportunities equitably, irrespective of their overall income levels.

The report measures the size of the gender inequality gap in four areas; economic participation and opportunity (salaries, participation and leadership), education (access to basic and higher levels of education), political empowerment (representation in decision-making structures) and health and survival (life expectancy and sex ratio).

“The global gender gap across health, education, economic opportunity and politics has closed by only 4% in the past 10 years, with the economic gap closing by just 3%, suggesting it will take another 118 years to close this gap completely,” said the report.

“Is education failing women? The gap has widened in 22% of surveyed countries since 2006 and, while more women than men are enrolling at university in 97 countries, women make up the majority of skilled workers in only 68 countries and the majority of leaders in only four.”

In terms of the gender gap index, Rwanda (6), Philippines (7) and New Zealand (10) are the only non-European countries in the top 10; and the United States falls eight places to 28th.

Sub-Saharan Africa boasts three countries in the top 20. The highest placed, Rwanda (6), gained one place due to improvements in the economic and political pillars.

Next is Namibia (16) which gains 24 positions this year and is among the five countries which have made the most progress globally.

South Africa (17) moved up one spot due to improvements in wage equality.