Differences in economic opportunity between men and women are still so vast it will take 202 years to close the global gender pay gap, a new report by the World Economic Forum revealed.
The Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2018 found that the overall gender gap across politics, work, health and education narrowed by less than 0.1 percent.
While the income gap between men and women narrowed to 51 percent globally this year, women were still stalled in workforce participation due to automation and lack of supportive infrastructure, such as childcare. Women also remained under-represented in industries requiring STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) knowledge and skills.
More women achieved leadership roles, representing 34 percent of global managers. However, the report noted that “women still encounter significant obstacles in taking on managerial or senior official roles”.
“Industries must proactively hardwire gender parity in the future of work through effective training, reskilling and upskilling interventions and tangible job transition pathways, which will be key to narrowing these emerging gender gaps and reversing the trends we are seeing today,” said Saadia Zahidi, Head of the Centre for the New Economy and Society and Member of the Managing Board at the Forum.
“It’s in their long-term interest because diverse businesses perform better.”
Overall economic opportunity improved for women in 2018, but the gender gaps for education, health and politics widened. Women representation in parliament in Western countries declined, and women in head-of-state roles around the world saw lower tenure.
The report said at the current rate, it would take 202 years to close the pay gap and 108 years to close the overall gender gap .
In the Global Gender Gap Index, Iceland topped the list as the world’s most gender-equal country for the 10th consecutive year. Philippines rose as Asia’s best performing country with improvement in wage equity and equality in education and politics. However, no country has closed 100 percent of its overall gender gap.
“What we’re seeing globally is that we don’t have any country that’s achieved gender equality, regardless of level of development, region or type of economy,” said Anna-Karin Jatfors, regional director for UN Women. “Gender inequality is the reality around the world, and we’re seeing that in all aspects of women’s lives.”