In 2022, amid multi-layered and compounding crises including the rising cost of living, the ongoing pandemic, the climate emergency and large-scale conflict and displacement, the progress towards gender parity is stalling. As leaders tackle a growing series of economic and political shocks, the risk of reversal is intensifying. Not only are millions of women and girls losing out on access and opportunity at present, this halt in progress towards parity is a catastrophe for the future of our economies, societies and communities. Accelerating parity must be a core part of the public and private agenda.
While more women have been moving into paid work over the last decades and, increasingly, into leadership positions in industry, there have been continued headwinds: societal expectations, employer policies, the legal environment and the availability of care infrastructure. This has continued to limit the educational opportunities women access as well as the career possibilities they can pursue. The economic and social consequences of the pandemic and geopolitical conflict have paused progress and worsened outcomes for women and girls around the world – and risk creating permanent scarring in the labour market. Conversely, the increasing representation of women in leadership in a number of industries, engagement in tertiary education overall and rebound in professional and technical roles are encouraging and may provide a basis for future efforts.
Collective, coordinated and comprehensive action will be needed to create sustained improvements and halt the risks of reversals. As a basis for action, close and constant monitoring of the gender gap is a critical first step. This year’s Global Gender Gap Report findings serve as a tool for leaders to identify areas for individual and collection action. Widening work-related gender gaps increase the need for social and worker protection, reskilling and reintegration opportunities, strengthened care infrastructure, strengthening female leadership in industries where women are underrepresented, and a more proactive approach to preparing the ground for gender parity in the growing industries of the future.
At the World Economic Forum, the Centre for the New Economy and Society is complementing measurement of gender gaps with a growing portfolio of action initiatives and leadership communities dedicated to accelerating progress.
The Gender Parity Accelerators aim to hardwire gender parity in the world of work. Currently present in 12 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, and East Asia and the Pacific, the Accelerators are implementing public-private action plans to advance women’s economic empowerment in the labour force, through pay equity and with a focus on leadership representation. The Global Accelerators Learning Network promotes exchange between these countries and a wider network of leaders and their best practices. Finally, the Global Parity Alliance is a global, cross-industry group of organizations taking action to drive better and faster diversity, equity and inclusion outcomes through CEO leadership, and knowledge sharing on initiatives that have achieved significant, quantifiable and sustained impact for underrepresented groups.
This sixteenth edition of the report also provides new data on emerging trends in the labour market and society more widely. We are grateful to LinkedIn, Coursera, WTW and Hologic for their collaboration in providing unique data and new measures to track gender gaps. We thank the members of the Centre for the New Economy and Society Advisory Board for their leadership of this agenda, the over 150 partners of the Centre, and the expert guidance of Global Future Councils and the Community of Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officers, as well as a number of national ministries of economy, education and labour. We would like to express our gratitude to Kusum Kali Pal, Kim Piaget, Silja Baller and Vesselina Ratcheva for their leadership of this project. We would also like to thank our colleagues Ricky Li, Eoin O’Cathasaigh and Gulipairi Maimaiti for their support.
We hope that this report will serve as a call to action to leaders to embed gender parity as a central goal of their policies and practices to build a sustained and robust recovery. The future of our economies, societies and communities depends on it.