81 years until gender equality


Saadia Zahidi, head of the Gender Parity Programme at the World Economic Forum and lead author of the report, says the progress in gender equality has come from an increased number of women entering politics and the workforce.

“While more women and more men have joined the workforce over the last decade, more women than men entered the labour force in 49 countries. And in the case of politics, globally, there are now 26 per cent more female parliamentarians and 50 per cent more female ministers than nine years ago,” said Zahidi.

(READ MORE: Africa, let your women rise)


The results of the 142 countries surveyed showed that when it comes to health and survival the gender gap is narrowest.  Even though the gender gap for political empowerment has seen the most improvement over the years, the gap is still wide at 21 per cent.  

“With no one country having closed its overall gender gap, Nordic nations remain the most gender-equal societies in the world. Last year’s leading four nations – Iceland (1), Finland (2), Norway (3) and Sweden (4) – are joined by Denmark, which climbs from eighth place to fifth.”

Rwanda is the only African country in the top ten, coming in at number seven. It is also the highest-ranked developing country in the index and scored high in terms of economic and political participation.

Burundi came in at number 17 and was closely followed by South Africa (18), the highest ranked BRICS country. Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy came in at number 118.

(WATCH VIDEO: Gender Equality)

The report published by the World Economic Forum says that over the years there has only been a small improvement in equality for women in the workplace.  

“The gender gap for economic participation and opportunity now stands at 60 per cent worldwide, having closed by 4 per cent from 56 per cent in 2006 when the Forum first started measuring it,” the report said.

Although the dream of the world realising gender equality is good news, it’s a pity that it’ll only happen in 81 years.