Friday 19 April 2019

Gender gap widens but we still rank highly for equality

The gender pay gap here has widened, but we still rank highly for equality
The gender pay gap here has widened, but we still rank highly for equality

Anne Marie Walsh

The gender gap between Irish women and men has widened in the past year but this is still one of the top 10 countries for female equality in the world.

Ireland has fallen to eighth place when ranked on its gender gap in a global survey. This places it behind Rwanda but 18 places ahead of the UK and 12 ahead of the US.

The World Economic Forum survey rates how women fare compared with men when it comes to pay, health, education, the economy and politics in 142 countries.

Ireland's ranking is down from sixth last year and fifth in 2011 and 2012.

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Iceland and four Nordic nations make the top five nations for equality between the sexes, while Nicaragua and Rwanda also come in ahead of Ireland.

The country's score card shows it ranks eighth in terms of political empowerment, 28th in terms of economic participation, but lags at 40th in educational attainment, and 67th for health and survival. It rates 31st for wage equality and 66th for participation in the workforce.

It is first for literacy, but 78th when it comes to enrolment in primary school. The country rates 92nd for women in parliament and 82nd for women in ministerial positions.


Author of the report Saadia Zahidi noted that Ireland slipped two places in the overall rankings since last year.

But she paid tribute to it for making major strides in equality in the past decade.

"It remains one of only six countries to have gained more than 10pc in its Global Gender Gap Index score over the past 14 years," she said.

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The study says the global gender gap has narrowed in the last 10 years mainly because there are more women in politics and the workforce.

Equality for women has improved in 105 countries since 2005 and worsened in just six - Sri Lanka, Mali, Croatia, Macedonia, Jordan and Tunisia.

The UK dropped to 26th place, down from 18th last year, while Yemen came in last.

However, today's women will probably not enjoy gender equality at work in their lifetime as the report estimates it will be 2095 before this becomes a reality.

Germany has climbed two places to 12th in the gender gap rankings, while France leapt from 45th to 16th.

France's improved prospects for women were mainly due to an increase in their participation in politics. A total of 49pc of parliamentarians are women, one of the highest ratios in the world.

There are now 26pc more women in parliament and 50pc more ministers than nine years ago around the world.

The gap between men and women is narrowest in terms of health and survival, followed by educational attainment internationally. The gender gap in economic participation and opportunity lags well behind.

Irish Independent

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