Global Gender Equality Progress Slows, Urgent Action Needed


The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released its Global Gender Gap Report 2023, revealing that progress towards gender equality has stagnated, with the world projected to take 131 years to achieve full gender parity. Despite a slight improvement of 0.3 percentage points in closing the gender gap compared to the previous year, the pace of change has significantly slowed. The report highlights the urgent need for renewed and concerted action to accelerate progress and reap the benefits of gender equality.

The report indicates that while 117 out of 146 countries have closed at least 95% of the educational attainment gap, gender parity in economic participation and opportunity has only closed by 60.1% and political empowerment by 22.1%. The slow progress underscores the challenges women face in the current economic and labor market disruptions.

Iceland continues to lead as the most gender-equal country for the 14th consecutive year, followed by Norway, Finland, New Zealand, and Sweden. While no country has achieved full gender parity, the top 10 ranking economies have closed at least 80% of their gender gaps.

Gender Equality

Regional highlights from the report show that Europe now surpasses North America in gender parity, with the highest score of 76.3%. However, progress in Europe is mixed, with some countries improving while others experience declines. Latin America and the Caribbean have registered a 1.7 percentage point increase in overall gender parity, while Eurasia and Central Asia have made progress in closing the economic participation and opportunity gap.

The report also highlights the challenges faced by women in the labor market. Women continue to face higher unemployment rates than men, and women’s representation in senior leadership positions remains low. In STEM fields, where significant growth is expected, women are significantly underrepresented, comprising just 29.2% of the total workforce.

To address the persistent gender gaps, the report emphasizes the need for collective and bold action by both private and public sector leaders. Closing the gender gap in economic participation and achieving gender parity in leadership positions are identified as crucial levers for addressing broader gender gaps in societies and economies. The Gender Parity Accelerators and the DEI Lighthouse Programme are initiatives aimed at advancing economic parity and diversity, respectively.

Overall, the Global Gender Gap Report 2023 highlights the importance of gender equality for inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Urgent action is required to accelerate progress, revive growth, boost innovation, and increase resilience in economies and societies worldwide.

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