The World Economic Forum has recently released its Global Gender Gap report for 2008.
It ranks 130 countries, measuring the gap between men and women in 4 categories: -economic participation and opportunity, -educational attainment, -political empowerment, -health and survival
They also collected some cool additional data such as: percentage of births attended by skilled health staff, contraceptive prevalence, adolescent fertility rate and existence of legislation punishing acts of violence against women.
Who were the world leaders in closing the gender gap? 1. Norway 2. Finland (be proud, Lauren ) 3. Sweden 4. Iceland 5. New Zealand (where I live!)
My country of origin, Sri Lanka, also did well gaining from 15th in 2007 to 12th this year. The UK has slipped to 2 places to 13th while the USA has gained 4 places to rank 27th.
I am proud to note that NZ currently has no gender gap in educational attainment (measured via literacy rate and enrolment at all educational levels). We also closed more than 77% of the gap in economic participation and opportunity as well as 98% of the gap in health and survival (measured by healthy life expectancy and birth rates).
What were the global trends? Overall, the gaps in educational achievement and health are now very small. But the gaps in employment and political leadership are slower to close. We can also predict that whenever there is an economic downturn, as there is currently, women's employment is disproportionately affected.
In my new homeland, it appears that there's more women than men both as professionals and technical workers, and those enrolled in tertiary education, DESPITE the slightly higher ratio of males in the population! And more women than men in ministerial positions. Also, female president. Bitchin', but more can still be done.
Posts: 4636 | From: USA/Northern Europe | Registered: Oct 2005
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The top 5 (especially those in the top 4...I don't know much about New Zealand, period) don't surprise me at all. Those scandanavian countries tend to do well in a lot of different areas, including pollution levels, economic growth (and the positive kind, not the take-over-the-world kind, affordability of living, etc.
Nor does it surprise me that the U.S is ranked lower than many more surprising countries, even though many global citizens may look at the U.S and say that it's a model to be followed. Doesn't make me too proud to be an American.
I'm not surprised by the top four either but I have to wonder if they took rates of violent crime against women into account. I was taken aback that South Africa, which has one of the highest per capita rates of rape and sexual assault in the world according to Interpol, would rate a 22.
Posts: 20 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Feb 2007
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Abbie: I think the main reason why USA ranked that low is because of the political empowerment category: you guys have few women in parliament and have never had a female head of state.
WillowyGirl: You're right, they did not measure rates of violent crime against women. They only looked at existence of legislation punishing acts of violence against women; SA did quite poorly in this measure.
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