Full report
Published: 17 December 2018

Reader: Global Gender Gap Report 2018


Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum

The age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) brings about unprecedented opportunities as well as new challenges. To take full advantage of new technologies, we need to place emphasis on what makes us human: the capacity to learn new skills as well as our creativity, empathy and ingenuity. By developing our unique traits and talents, humanity can cope with increasingly fast technological change and ensure broad-based progress for all.

The equal contribution of women and men in this process of deep economic and societal transformation is critical. More than ever, societies cannot afford to lose out on the skills, ideas and perspectives of half of humanity to realize the promise of a more prosperous and human-centric future that well-governed innovation and technology can bring.

This report finds that, globally, although many countries have achieved important milestones towards gender parity across education, health, economic and political systems, there remains much to be done. On the one hand, countries where the next generation of women are becoming leaders in their domains are poised for further success. On the other hand, this year’s analysis also warns about the possible emergence of new gender gaps in advanced technologies, such as the risks associated with emerging gender gaps in Artificial Intelligence-related skills. In an era when human skills are increasingly important and complementary to technology, the world cannot afford to deprive itself of women’s talent in sectors in which talent is already scarce.

Since 2006 the Global Gender Gap Index presented in this report seeks to measure the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economy and politics. It does not seek to set priorities for countries but, rather, to provide a comprehensive set of data and a clear method for tracking gaps on critical indicators so that countries may set priorities within their own economic, political and cultural contexts. The Index also points to potential role models by revealing those countries that—within their region or income group—are leaders in distributing resources more equitably between women and men, regardless of the overall level of available resources.

The report is a product of the Forum’s Centre for the New Economy and Society, which aims to build dynamic and inclusive economies and societies that provide a future of opportunities for all. A core part of the Centre’s work focuses on shaping frameworks for closing economic gender gaps, fostering diversity and promoting inclusive growth. In particular, the Centre serves as an accelerator for a global network of national Gender Gap Task Forces, which aim to increase women’s participation in the workforce; close the pay gap between men and women; help more women advance into leadership; and hardwire gender parity in the future of work. Additionally, the Centre supports and amplifies the efforts of leading global companies through commitments for accelerating gender parity.

On behalf of the Forum, I would like to express my appreciation to Thierry Geiger, Roberto Crotti and Saadia Zahidi for their leadership of this project. I would also like to thank the entire Centre for the New Economy and Society team for their support in shaping this project. We greatly appreciate, too, the innovative data collaboration with LinkedIn. Finally, we continue to be inspired by the great commitment and leadership of the Stewards and Partners of the System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Education, Gender and Work and the broader core community of the Centre for the New Economy and Society.

Through this report we aim to inspire ongoing efforts and further action to accelerate the achievement of full gender equality via collaboration, partnerships and innovative solutions that will improve the lives of millions of women and men in the near future. We call upon every reader of this report to join these efforts.

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