Iceland and other Nordic countries again top the rankings of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2015.
The report ranks 145 countries on their ability to close the gender gap in four fundamental areas: economic participation and opportunity, education, health and survival, and political empowerment.
1. Iceland is ranked first for the seventh consecutive year. Compared to its ranking in 2006, Iceland has fully closed the educational gender gap and ranks first for political empowerment, having had a female head of state for 20 of the past 50 years. It is also the country with the longest paternity coverage, with new fathers entitled to 90 calendar days.
2. Norway climbs back up to second place, after losing the position to Finland for the last three years. It’s the top country overall for women to rise to positions of enterprise leadership. Norway also has the smallest difference between the average minutes spent per day on unpaid work by men and women.
3. Finland falls to third, but remains the highest-ranked country from the European Union. It is one of four countries from the region that has fully closed its gender gaps for educational attainment and health and survival sub-indexes. With a government that is 63% female, it is also the highest ranking country for women in ministerial positions.
4. Sweden ranks fourth for the seventh consecutive year. The country also ranks fourth on the economic participation and opportunity sub-index, an increase of 11 places compared to last year. The country continues to rank fifth for political empowerment.
5. Ireland gained three places compared to 2014, mainly due to improvements to the economic and political sub-indexes. It is the highest-ranked country in the region in terms of years with a female head of state.
6. Rwanda is the only country from the sub-Saharan region to be ranked in the top 10. Its high ranking is explained by its strong political empowerment performance and rankings for economic participation and opportunity. These scores are slightly offset by wider gender gaps in health and survival and education.
7. Philippines continues its climb up the top 10 ranking with 79% of the gender gap closed. Since 2006, the country has progressed across all categories except educational attainment where it has slightly regressed.
8. Switzerland re-enters the top 10, after dropping out in 2014. This is mostly due to improvements to economic participation and opportunity as well as education and political empowerment. It is among the top performers for women in ministerial positions.
9. Slovenia enters the top 10 for the first time. Out of the 109 countries that have been part of the index since 2006, Slovenia has shown the fourth biggest increase. Since 2006, all its sub-indexes scores have improved. Forty-four percent of the country’s ministers are women, compared to 18% in 2014. After Iceland, Slovenia has the second longest paid paternity leave.
10. New Zealand moves up three places from last year, with 78% of the gender gap closed. It now has better wage equality for similar work and more equal estimated earned income.
The Global Gender Gap Report 2015 is available here.
Author: Saadia Zahidi is Head of Gender Parity and Human Capital and Constituents at the World Economic Forum
Image: A woman reads a book at the book fair in Frankfurt REUTERS/Alex Domanski
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