Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

From books to bikes: 4 unexpected gender gaps

Time lapse photo of person cycling.

A new report by Strava suggests that less women are likely to cycle than men. Image: Unsplash/Roman Koester

Sean Fleming
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how SDG 05: Gender Equality is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

SDG 05: Gender Equality

  • Gender parity will not be attained for almost 100 years, according to the latest Global Gender Gap Report.
  • Outside of well-known areas such as pay, there are some surprising gaps.
  • These include cycling, reading and heart and kidney treatment.

Equality between the sexes is a long way off. So far off, in fact, that nobody reading this is likely to see it achieved in their lifetime. That’s the sobering conclusion of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020.

The report looks at political, economic and social markers, everything from access to education to involvement in running businesses. But there are gender gaps in a variety of other areas, too – from exercise to reading. Here are five surprising examples.

Have you read?

1. Cycling

Report on the likelihood to commute among cyclists
Denmark stands out as a female-friendly cycling destination. Image: Strava

Women are less likely to cycle to work than men, according to data released by exercise app Strava.

Globally, men are 6.7% more likely than women to hop on two wheels for their daily commute. In the US, that gap stands at 17.4% in men's favour, while in the UK it is 12%. If you want to find a developed country where female cyclists are in the majority, you’ll need to head to Denmark.

It’s often referred to as the world’s most cycle-friendly country, and in Denmark the cycling gender gap is reversed – women are 24.4% more likely to commute via bike there than men.

2. Heart health

If you’re a woman, you face a disproportionate risk from a heart attack, according the British Heart Foundation, a UK charity. In the UK, women fare worse than men “at every stage of their heart attack experience” because the disease is often seen as a male problem. This despite the fact that twice as many women in the country die from coronary heart disease than breast cancer.

Looking at everything from the latest evidence to patient stories, the organization found that women delay seeking medical help for the issue, which can reduce the chances of survival; are 50% more likely to receive a wrong initial diagnosis; and are less likely to receive standard treatments. Risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking and high blood pressure, are often more deadly for women, too.

Discover

What's the World Economic Forum doing about the gender gap?

3. Kidney treatment

Sex and the incidence and prevelance of kidney replacement therapy
Inequality between men and women with kidney replacement therapy Image: ERA-EDTA Registry

More men than women undergo kidney replacement therapy (KRT), despite a larger number of women being affected by chronic kidney disease. That’s one of the conclusions of the ERA-EDTA Registry, a European body that collects and monitors data on treatment and therapy for kidney problems.

The Registry’s data was obtained from nine countries - tracking 230,378 patients who had received KRT over the period 1965–2015 - and analyzed by a team of academics. “Since the beginning of KRT programs reporting to the ERA-EDTA Registry since the 1960s, fewer women than men have received KRT. The relative difference between men and women initiating and undergoing KRT has remained consistent over the last five decades and in all studied countries," the researchers concluded.

4. Reading

A YouGov report on the difference between male and female readers.
A YouGov survey found women are more avid readers than men. Image: YouGov

Women generally read more books than men, according to a YouGov poll of almost 9,000 adults in the US.

When asked how many books they read per year, only 2% of men said they read more than 50 books in a year, compared with 9% of women.

At the opposite end of the scale, men were in the lead – 14% of men said they don’t read books at all, compared with 10% of women.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Equity, Diversity and InclusionJobs and the Future of Work
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

3:37

HKEX CEO abolishes all-male boards to promote gender diversity

Rebecca Geldard

June 27, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Sign in
  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum