Worldwide Gender Gap More Like A Yawning Abyss

Gap CommercialThe Guardian reports that tackling gender inequality in the developing world would generate an immense amount of wealth — $12 trillion, in fact. Not solving the problem of inequality in these regions, mind you. Simply doing a bit better than we’re doing now.

The [McKinsey] study found that if each country could make progress towards closing the gender gap at the pace of the best-performing economy in its local region, an extra $12tn – equivalent to the GDP of Japan, Germany and the UK combined – could be generated each year by 2025.

Women already account for about 40% of GDP in the US and western Europe; but just 17% in India and 18% in the Middle East and north Africa, according to the analysis by the research arm of the McKinsey & Company management consultancy. …

“Realising the economic prize of gender parity requires the world to address fundamental drivers of the gap in work equality, such as education, health, connectivity, security, and the role of women in unpaid work,” the report says.

Anu Madgavkar, one of the report’s authors, who is based in Mumbai, cited Chile and Bangladesh as countries that have made progress in recent years in narrowing the gender gap.

Making real strides would require a mix of government and grass-roots efforts, and the study’s authors were cheered by achievements in places like Morocco. Meanwhile, let’s not lose sight of the fact that the situation in places like England and the US remains stagnant at best. Not one country in or out of the Western world has managed to achieve anything like gender parity yet, meaning that “it will take 81 years for the worldwide gender gap to close if progress continues at the current rate.”

Women currently have 60% of the standing of men worldwide — just four percentage points up on 2006 when WEF started the report measuring female economic participation, education, health and political involvement.

Though the paradise islands of Scandinavia are securely and happily ensconced at the top of the list, there are some less expected entries gaining on them.

Nicaragua went up by four places to sixth, while Rwanda came into the rankings for the first time at seventh. Ten countries from Latin America made the top 50, although there were significant declines for both Brazil and Mexico, and sub-Saharan Africa registered three in the top 20.

So, that’s kind of hopeful.

The US, meanwhile, ranks at #20, behind Latvia, Burundi, and South Africa. The UK is #26, one slot ahead of Mozambique.

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