These countries are closing the gender gap – many more will follow

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.

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, eight 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 our new data, will take 202 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; and in France, with a goal to expand the model to build a global network of economies accelerating gender parity.

Most recently, 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.

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. 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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