Fifth-ranked Ireland just behind Nordic states for gender equality
Ireland has climbed three places in a global ranking of gender equality to make it into the top five countries in the world.
The finding is in a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Ireland is now the highest ranked non-Nordic nation, the study found. It said the country had improved over the past year in three of the four pillars examined; Economic Participation and Opportunity; Health and Survival; and Political Empowerment. But it loses ground in the fourth category, Educational Attainment.
"Indeed, while Ireland is among the three most improved nations in our Europe and Central Asia region when it comes to improving in health and survival, it has actually lost ground over the past decade in terms of education, with the gap having been closed completely up until 2011 but now slowly widening," a WEF spokesman said.
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; health and survival - life expectancy and sex ratio.
Overall, internationally, the gap between men and women in health, education, economic opportunity and political representation has closed by 4pc in the past 10 years.
In economic terms, the gap has closed by only 3pc with progress towards wage equality and labour force parity stalling markedly since 2009/2010. Nordic nations remain the most gender-equal societies in the world. As last year, the leading four nations are Iceland (1), Norway (2), Finland (3) and Sweden (4) - with Norway overtaking Finland.
Denmark (14) and Belgium (19) slipped out of the top ten while Ireland (5) gained three places.
Rwanda (6), which entered the Index last year for the first time, gained one place.
The Philippines (7) gained back two places consolidating its place in the top ten.
Elsewhere, the United States (28) loses eight places since 2014, due to slightly less perceived wage equality for similar work and changes in ministerial level positions.
Other major economies in the top 20 include Germany (11), France (15) and the UK (18).