UK falls behind in gender equality, according to WEF

Business Woman

This year’s Global Gender Gap report shows that the UK has fallen to 26th place in the yearly rankings.

The report by the World Economic Forum is released each year, and this year it shows that the UK has a lot more to do to close the gender gap. The country fell from 18th place last year to 26th this year. In 2008 the UK was in 9th place.

However, it is important to note that the UK’s current index score (0.738) is higher than its score in 2008 (0.736), but lower than last year’s (0.744).

Meanwhile, Iceland, Finland and Norway came out on top, with countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Nicaragua, Moldova and Burundi ahead of the UK.

To show just how much the UK is lagging, its score on the gender gap index is 0.7383, with Iceland’s being 0.8594. A score of ‘1’ is a completely equal society, in terms of gender, and zero is complete inequality. The countries that performed have the lowest scores are Chad, Pakistan and Yemen, with Yemen’s index score being 0.5145.

The United States is ahead of the UK in 20th place, whilst North Korea is not included in the rankings.

The World Economic Forum says it tracks the gender gaps across the world by looking at four main factors: health, education, economic participation and political empowerment.

In the case of the UK, the country did not make it into the top 20 in any of the four catergories.

Economic participation was one category the UK faired poorly in, highlighting the gap. Out of ‘Estimated earned income (PPP US$)’ women earned $24,820, compared to $40,000 for men.

As for political empowerment for women the situation is bleak. For women in ministerial positions the UK ranks 75th in the world, with the female to male ratio being just 0.19.

Only five women currently hold positions in the UK cabinet, with Nicky Morgan (Education Secretary) and Liz Truss (Environment Secretary) only being appointed this year.

It is clear that the UK is falling behind on gender equality. True, the report places us still at the top end of the table but it is not a time to be complacent. In particular, in the area of political empowerment the UK is failing to close the gap, as well as in economic participation.

But in terms of education, the female-male ratio is 1.00 for literacy rates, primary education enrolment, and secondary education enrolment. Additionally, for tertiary education the ratio is 1.36, showing that more women than men are going to universities and colleges.

Overall, the UK’s gender gap is much smaller than it was a decade ago, but the yearly reports from the WEF highlight that in Britain, and across the world, more must be done to tackle gender inequality, especially in the area of ‘political empowerment’.

Full details of the UK’s results can be found here:

The full WEF report can be found here: