Fewer Nations Made Progress to Close Gender Gap: Study
Fewer countries made strides toward improving equality between men and women in 2011, while Nordic countries held the top spots, according to a ranking of 135 nations by the World Economic Forum.
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Fewer countries made strides toward improving equality between men and women this year, while Nordic countries held the top spots, according to a ranking of 135 nations by the World Economic Forum.
Iceland claimed the No. 1 position for the third year in a row, followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden, in the 2011 Global Gender Gap Index released today by the Geneva-based group. Of the countries surveyed, 55 percent narrowed the gender gap, compared with 59 percent the previous year, while 85 percent improved gender-equality ratios since the first survey in 2006.
“Women make up one-half of the brain power of the human capital that’s available to an economy,” Saadia Zahidi, head of the World Economic Forum’s Women Leaders and Gender Parity program and co-author of the report, said in an interview. “If that one-half is not fully integrated into a particular country’s development and into its development over time, it’s fairly evident that there would be a detrimental effect.”
The survey measures the difference between men’s and women’s economic participation and opportunities, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment. While differences in health and education are disappearing, women still lag behind in economic participation, which includes salaried and skilled jobs, and political representation, according to the report.
“Labor-force participation is where the success starts to drop off,” said Laura D’Andrea Tyson, a co-author of the report and professor at the University of California-Berkley, during a press briefing today about the study in New York.