This section discusses the global gender gap scores across the four main components (subindexes) of the index: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. In doing so, it aims to shed light on which factors are contributing most prominently to the global gender gap.
Summarized in Figure 1.2, this year's results show across the 146 countries covered by the 2022 index, the Health and Survival gender gap has closed by 95.8%, Educational Attainment by 94.4%, Economic Participation and Opportunity by 60.3% and Political Empowerment by 22%.
Comparing this year's results against last year's by examining only the set of 145 countries covered in both the 2021 and 2022 editions shows that the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex increased from 58.7% to 60.3%, and the Health and Survival subindex rose from 95.7% to 95.8%. The Educational Attainment subindex fell from 95.2% to 94.4% while Political Empowerment remained the same, at 22%.
The country score distributions across each subindex offer a more detailed picture of the biggest challenges to gender parity in 2022. Figure 1.3 marks the distribution of individual country scores attained at both overall and subindex levels, as well as the population-weighted average score for each subindex.
Overall, this year's results show that countries' performances are widely dispersed across the overall Gender Gap Index. Most countries are clustered around the 2022 average score (0.681), with two clear outliers: Afghanistan (146th, 0.435), which trails behind every country on almost every subindex, and Iceland (1st, 0.908), which leads this year's ranking. At a subindex level, the two dimensions with the least variation since 2006, Educational Attainment and Health and Survival, are also where country scores are the most highly concentrated.
The Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex has the second-widest dispersion. The subindex shows increased deviation from last year between economies, with the lowest standing at 18% (Afghanistan) and the highest at 88% (Lao PDR), suggesting that global economic parity is highly unequal between economies. Higher-income economies score at 0.69 on average, while upper-middle-income economies score 0.68 and low-income economies register 0.66. The lowest-performing economies are lower-middle income, at 0.63.
Within the indicators that compose this subindex, performance is also varied. When it comes to income equality, in 2022 parity increased in part because women earn slightly more on average (+2%) than in 2021, but also because men earn less (-1.8%) on average than in 2021. Twenty-eight countries have closed less than 50% of the gender gap on this indicator, with the lowest levels of parity reported in Iran (16%), Afghanistan (18%) and Algeria (18%). Overall, Sub-Saharan African and Middle East and North Africa have the lowest levels of income parity, at approximately 23% and 24%, respectively.
When it comes to wage equality for similar work, only five countries achieved scores higher than 0.800 on this indicator: Albania (0.845), Burundi (0.840), Algeria (0.812), Iceland (0.812) and Singapore (0.805). Furthermore, no region attained higher levels of wage parity than North America (0.760).
In 2022, 129 countries reported a reduction of women's labour-force participation relative to men's, which negatively impacted their scores. Three countries saw no changes (Burundi, Rwanda and Sierra Leone) and 14 reported increased parity in workforce participation - the highest of which was Saudi Arabia, with a 0.097 increase in its gender parity score.
However, between 2021 and 2022 the share of women in professional and technical roles as well as in senior, legislative and managerial roles increased slightly (6.7 percentage points and 5.4 percentage points, respectively). Pakistan is the country where women have the smallest share of senior, managerial and legislative roles (4.5%), compared to Jamaica, where women represent 56.6% of workers in that category, or Togo, which has the highest share of women in senior roles, at 70.1%. Women were less than 18% of professional and technical workers in Chad, compared to 41% in Rwanda or 70% in Belarus.
The Educational Attainment subindex shows most scores near parity but with increasing dispersion between countries towards the bottom of the range. On this dimension, country performances varied between rates ranging from 48% to 100%. On this subindex, 29 countries reported full gender parity. Among them are 17 high-income economies, three lower-middle-income economies, and nine upper-middle-income economies. On average, high-income and middle-income economies have an Educational Attainment parity score of 99%, compared to 95% of lower-middle income and 81% of low-income economies.
Forty-seven countries reported parity in literacy, and only 19 countries have a literacy gender gap of 25% or more. Gender parity in primary education is more prevalent across countries. Not only did 64 countries report full parity, but nearly 75% of countries included in this year's edition achieved a score of 0.900 or higher in primary education enrolment. Chad (0.785), Guinea (0.852), Niger (0.878) and Mali (0.899) are among the countries that failed to meet this threshold. However, at a global level, even as overall levels of education increased, there must be more focus on equitable schooling opportunities. In secondary education enrolment, 16 countries reported gender gaps larger than 10 percentage points - 13 of them in Sub-Saharan Africa, two in South Asia (Pakistan and Afghanistan), and one in East Asia and the Pacific (China). In tertiary education, 29 countries have closed less than 90% of the gender gap in enrolment - and these countries are concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and East Asia and the Pacific. Of this year's sample, the only region where performances have moved further toward parity is Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Health and Survival subindex demonstrates the most egalitarian overall performance, with the least amount of dispersion and the smallest reported global gender gap. In this dimension, most countries are positioned near parity, with attainment levels between 93% and 98%. Across the entire index, 141 countries across all regions have closed at least 95% of their Health gender gaps, although no countries register parity in 2022. The five countries with gender gaps larger than 5% are Qatar, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, China and India.
Finally, the Political Empowerment subindex shows no overall progress against last year, with virtually no change in the three indicators that constitute it. This subindex also manifests the largest remaining gender gap of all subindexes with a global average score of 0.22, as well as the widest range of dispersion among countries. The lowest measure of progress on this subindex is 0%, Vanuatu, and the highest is 87%, Iceland.
In addition to Iceland, only 11 countries have closed more than 50% of their gap on this subindex: Finland (0.68), Norway (0.66), New Zealand (0.66), Nicaragua (0.63), Costa Rica (0.56), Rwanda (0.56), Germany (0.55), Bangladesh (0.55), Sweden (0.51), Ireland (0.50) and South Africa (0.50). The countries that have more than 95% of the gap to close are Vanuatu (100%), Kuwait (97.8%), Brunei (96.9%), Qatar (96.7%), Iran (96%) and Nigeria (95.9%). Approximately 39% of countries in the index performed above the subindex average (0.22), the same proportion as in 2021, the lower end of the subindex. However, the difference between the top score of 2022 and 2021 is +0.11, which causes a bigger divergence between scores.