Gender pay gap sees four-year improvement from 2021

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2022 shows that the gender pay gap is on track to close four years sooner previously estimated

At the current rate of progress, it will take 132 years to reach full gender parity, according to The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2022. Although this data seems disheartening, it does represent a slight four-year improvement compared to the 2021, when parity was estimated to be achieved in 136 years. 

In contrast, the new statistic is three decades longer than what was estimated in 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic impacted gender equality.

Saadia Zahidi, World Economic Forum managing director and co-author of the report, explains that more needs to be done across the board to accelerate gender parity. She states that the main aim of the report is to call businesses, governments and other leaders to action, to ensure more is done to close the gap. In the report, she states: “The overall correlation between the economies that perform well in terms of competitiveness, in terms of productivity, those economies happen to be the very same ones that do well in terms of closing the gender gap.” 

Saadia Zahidi, World Economic Forum managing director and co-author of the report

Highlighting the top 10 most gender equal countries

The report analysed data across 146 countries, finding that the Health and Survival gender gap has closed by 95.8%, Educational Attainment by 94.4%, Economic Participation and Opportunity by 60.3% and Political Empowerment by 22%.

Although no country has achieved full gender parity, the top ten economies have closed at least 80% of their gaps. Iceland (90.8%) took pole position as the only country to have closed more than 90% of its gender gap, reinstating its name as the most gender-equal country for 12 consecutive years.

Finland follows in second place, Norway (3rd), New Zealand (4th), Sweden (5th), Rwanda (6th), Nicaragua (7th), Namibia (8th), Ireland (9th) and Germany (10th).

Commenting on the difference in pace, Zahidi says: “In North America, it will take 59 more years to get to parity at the current rate of change. 60 years when it comes to Europe, 67 years for Latin America, 98 years for Africa, 115 years for the Middle East and North African region, 152 when it comes to central Asia, 168 for East Asia and finally south Asia, nearly 200 years. So things do look very different in different parts of the world. And that regional breakdown also gives you a sense of developing and developed regions.”

About The Global Gender Gap Report

The Global Gender Gap Index benchmarks the current state and evolution of gender parity across four key dimensions (Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment). It is the longest-standing index which tracks progress towards closing these gaps over time since its inception in 2006.

This year, the Global Gender Gap Index benchmarks 146 countries, providing a basis for robust cross-country analysis. Of these, a subset of 102 countries have been represented in every edition of the index since 2006, further providing a large constant sample for time series analysis. The Global Gender Gap Index measures scores on a 0 to 100 scale and scores can be interpreted as the distance covered towards parity (i.e., the percentage of the gender gap that has been closed). The cross-country comparisons aim to support the identification of the most effective policies to close gender gaps.


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