Gender equality and women’s empowerment is one of the key topics in sustainable development. Improving the welfare of women in the workforce will lead to better living standards for individuals and their families, and the fight for this has been happening for over a century. However, the gender pay gap is a problem that still persists to this day.
Still, that doesn’t mean there is no progress in reducing the disparity. The World Economic Forum has just launched its 2022 Global Gender Gap Report, highlighting the progress, the analysis, and suggestions for closing the gaps between gender in the workforce.
A 0.2% increase
The World Economic Forum first published this report in 2006 to evaluate the progress of closing gender disparity in the workforce. This year, the report did a cross-country evaluation on 145 countries based on four key dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment.
In 2022, the progress in closing the global gender gap has reached 68.1%, showing a 0.2% increase from the previous year. With this rate, the report states that the global gender gap is estimated to be fully closed in 132 years. Even though the trend shows improvement from last year’s estimation (136 years), it’s still way slower than 2020’s estimate of 100 years.
Compared to last year, two out of four dimensions show an increase. The Economic Participation and Opportunity sub-index increased from 58.7% to 60.3%, and the Health and Survival sub-index from 95.7% to 95.8%. The Educational Attainment sub-index, however, fell from 95.2% to 94.4%, while Political Empowerment remained the same, at 22%.
A Western-dominated ranking
Of 145 countries, North America and Europe regions are leading with 76.9% and 76.6% closed gender gaps, respectively. Iceland is leading the ranking table with 90.8%.
Meanwhile, Asian and African countries still dominate the lower half of the ranking. If seen by region, the lowest percentage of gender gaps closed is held by South Asian countries, with an average number of 62.3%. The report also states that there is a stagnation in the number of eight countries included in the survey.
Even though more women have been moving into better positions on their career ladder, the report states that many factors need to be considered to improve this trend. For instance, societal expectations, employer policies, the legal environment, and care availability.
The report further analyzes that the current gender gap threatens to emerge into a crisis due to the projected deepening of the current cost-of-living crisis, which will affect women disproportionately. Technological transformation, socio-economic conditions, conflicts, and climate change are also still counted as affecting elements of the existing gender gaps.
A critical first step
“Collective, coordinated, and comprehensive action will be needed to create sustained improvements and halt the risks of reversals. As a basis for action, close and constant monitoring of the gender gap is a critical first step,” said the Managing Director of WEF, Saadia Zahidi.
Aside from monitoring, The WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report also provides an insight on how to approach the current gender disparity through collective and individual actions from policymakers and business players towards more sustainable and decent employment.
Read the full report here.
Editor: Nazalea Kusuma
Madina is the Assistant Manager for Program at Green Network Asia. She is an English major graduate from Universitas Indonesia with two
years of demonstrated experience in editorial and creative writing,
researching, editing, and creating content.