World is 100 years away from gender parity but these countries are speeding things up

05 Apr 2019

The World Economic Forum is helping CEOs and ministers work together on policies that help to further close the economic gender gaps in their countries.

The impact.

Women often earn less than their male colleagues, but accelerators around the world are working to change that.

None of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes, and nor is it likely that many of our children will. That’s the sobering finding of the Global Gender Gap Report 2020, which reveals that gender parity will not be attained for 99.5 years.

To address this we are helping establish groups of accelerators around the world that are focused on closing the economic gender gap. These teams aim to increase the number of women in leadership positions, reduce and then close the gender pay gap, increase women’s participation in the labour force, and hardwire gender parity into the future of work.

So far, nine countries have embraced the challenge: CEOs and ministers are working together in a three-year time frame on policies that help to further close the economic gender gaps in their countries. This includes extended parental leave, subsidized childcare and removing unconscious bias in recruitment, retention and promotion practices.

What's the challenge?

We have been measuring gender gaps in countries since 2006 in the annual Global Gender Gap Report. The most challenging gender gap to close is the economic dimension, which, according to the latest data, will take 257 years to close. Although the economic opportunity gap has slightly reduced, the progress has been slow, especially in terms of participation of women in the labour force, where the gender gap slightly reversed.

Today, proportionately fewer women than men are participating in the workforce, which means fewer women end up in leadership positions and women often earn less than their male colleagues.

Our approach.

The Global Gender Gap Report tracks progress towards closing gender gaps on a national level. To turn these insights into concrete action and national progress, we have developed the Closing the Gender Gap Accelerators model for public private collaboration. These accelerators have been convened in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Panama and Peru in partnership with the InterAmerican Development Bank.

In 2019 Egypt became the first country in the Middle East and Africa to launch a Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator. While more women than men are now enrolled in university, women represent only a little over a third of professional and technical workers in Egypt. Women who are in the workforce are also less likely to be paid the same as their male colleagues for equivalent work or to reach senior management roles.

During the launch of this collaboration Rania Al-Mashat, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, said: "Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism together with National Council of Women and the World Economic Forum launch the Egypt Gender Gap accelerator that will bring together multi-stakeholder actors across the public and private sectors to generate local insight, develop local needs-based action plans and drive their execution. Leveraging on the Forum’s global platform and the cross-cutting nature of Egypt’s tourism sector, being interlinked with more than 80 other industries and 98% privately led, the accelerator will indeed help expedite the implementation of SDG5 across sectors in Egypt.”

France has become the first G20 country to launch a Gender Gap Accelerator, signalling that developed economies are also playing an important role in spearheading this approach to closing the gender gap.

“At the Inter-American Development Bank we believe that public-private partnerships are crucial to address inequality. An example of these are the Gender Parity Taskforces that we are supporting across Latin America and the Caribbean in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. These taskforces are putting a spotlight on the barriers that inhibit the participation of women in the workforce, and they are resulting in concrete action plans to increase equality in access to economic opportunities.”

Luis Alberto Moreno – President Inter-American Development Bank

How can you get involved?

If you are a business in one of the Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator countries you can join the local membership base. The goal is to expand the model to build a global network of 15 economies accelerating gender parity by the end of 2020.

As part of the local accelerator you will assess economic gender gaps within your company and implement policies to help change them. If you are a business or government in a country where we currently do not have a Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator you can reach out to us to explore opportunities for setting one up.

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