The new Global Gender Gap Report was released earlier this month, and as usual Nordic countries took the top spots. For the fifth year running, Iceland is rated as the country with the narrowest gender gap. This means women in Iceland have greater access to health and education, and are more politically and economically empowered than women in other countries. Finland, Norway, and Sweden are second, third, and fourth, respectively.
The U.S. is ranked 23rd. The U.S. is ranked lower than both Nicaragua (10) and Cuba (15).
Yemen was ranked last, at number 136, directly below Pakistan (135), Chad (134) and Syria (133).
The Global Gender Gap Index measures and ranks 136 countries on one important aspect of gender equality — the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economics and politics.
Politically, the Nordic states proved to be the best for women as many Nordic countries were also early starters in providing women with the right to vote (Sweden in 1919, Norway in 1913, Iceland and Denmark in 1915, Finland in 1906). In Denmark, Sweden and Norway, political parties introduced voluntary gender quotas in the 1970s, resulting in high numbers of female political representatives over the years. In Denmark, in fact, this quota has since been abandoned as no further stimulus is required. Today, Sweden has among the highest percentages of women in parliament in the world (44.7%) while the other Nordic countries are almost as successful.
Israel (53) continues to hold the top spot in the Middle East and North Africa region and gains three places relative to its rank in 2012. This is mainly due to improvement in the percentage of female parliamentarians.
The overall gender gap narrowed slightly across the globe in 2013, as 86 of 133 countries showed improvements.
The report states:
On average, in 2013, over 96% of the gap in health outcomes, 93% of the gap in educational attainment, 60% of the gap in economic participation and 21% of the gap in political empowerment has been closed. No country in the world has achieved gender equality. The four highest ranked countries— Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden—have closed between 81% and 87% of their gender gaps, while the lowest ranked country—Yemen—has closed a little over half of its gender gap.
No country in the world has achieved gender equality. Women received the right to vote almost 100 years ago in America, many anti-discimination laws have been put in place,, but we still have not managed to close the gender gap.
In 2013, there is still distinct inequality between the sexes.
That is unbelievable. And that needs to change.