According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2010, the Nordic countries Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden continue to demonstrate the greatest equality between men and women. Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, explains this phenomenon by saying: “Low gender gaps are directly correlated with high economic competitiveness. Women and girls must be treated equally if a country is to grow and prosper.”
The Global Gender Gap Report measures the size of the gender inequality gap in four areas:
1) Economic participation and opportunity – outcomes on salaries, participation levels and access to high-skilled employment
2) Educational attainment – outcomes on access to basic and higher level education
3) Political empowerment – outcomes on representation in decision-making structures
4) Health and survival – outcomes on life expectancy and sex ratio
France is only on the 46th place, because the level of gender equality has sunk as the number of women in ministerial positions has fallen over the past 12 months. The United States (19th place) closed its gender gap, rising 12 places to enter the top 20 for the first time in the report’s five-year history. The climb reflects the higher number of women in leading roles in the current administration and improvements in the wage gap.
In the Arab world, the United Arab Emirates (103) is the highest-ranking country. However, Dr May Abdallah al Dabbagh, founder and director of Dubai School of Government’s Gender and Public Policy Programme, critizises the index by emphasising that indices are often unable to measure important aspects of well-being for large portions of the population because they depend on broad indicators and national points of focus. The UAE still has a long way to go to address restrictions on women’s movement during marriage and divorce, the practice of disciplining wives, the denial of citizenship rights to the children of national women married to non-nationals, and discrimination against women in state-funded entitlements such as housing programmes. Women’s labour, particularly in the informal sector, also remains under-assessed. The equal recognition of paid and unpaid work also remains a challenge.
Source: Gender Gap Report