Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

It will take another 136 years to close the global gender gap

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COVID-19 has set back progress for women's rights. Image: Unsplash/Tim Gouw

Martin Armstrong
Data Journalist, Statista
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Education, Gender and Work

  • The global gender gap is not expected to close for another 136 years.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has increased this time from 100 years, according to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap report.

Based on 2020 trends, the global gender gap was not expected to be closed for another 100 years. Already a mammoth prospect, but according to the latest WEF estimates for 2021, the world is now going backwards on this long road to gender equality. The time required is now forecast at 136 years. The main reason for this? Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director and Head of the WEF's Centre for the New Economy and Society writes: "The Covid-19 pandemic has raised new barriers to building inclusive and prosperous economies and societies. Pre-existing gender gaps have amplified the crisis asymmetrically between men and women, even as women have been at the frontlines of managing the crisis as essential workers."

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When looking at particular aspects of the gap, the biggest factor in the current disparity becomes clear. According to the World Economic Forum it will take 268 years to close the economic gender gap - a disparity which was already increasing last year due to: "Lack of progress in closing the Economic Participation and Opportunity gap". On the more positive side, at the current rate, the educational gap looks set to be almost completely diminished within 14 years. Though this too has increased by two years since the last estimate was made.


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

a graph showing the time needed to close global gender gaps in years
Evidence suggests the pandemic has increased the time needed to close the gender gap. Image: Statista
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Equity, Diversity and InclusionHealth and Healthcare Systems
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