Although it will take an estimated 132 years to reach global gender parity, the World Economic Forum has collected data disclosing which countries are leading by example.
The Global Gender Gap Index measures the world’s progress towards gender parity across four key dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment.
Through this data, the Global Gender Gap Report 2022 has revealed the top eight countries that have scored the highest gender gap score – where 1 means equality.
Although Namibia has dropped two places since last year, it still sits in a strong eighth position. Since 2014, its performance in the Health and Survival sub index has remained unchanged, yet the country reported lower levels of parity in three Economic Participation and Opportunity regions: women’s labour force participation (-0.014), wage equality (-0.017) and estimated earned income (-0.005).
Moving up five places since 2021, Nicaragua has seen great progress in the 2022 Index. The Central American country has closed the gap in the Educational Attainment sub index, across all its indicators. However, its gender gaps have widened in Economic Participation and Opportunity since 2017.
Rwanda’s highest sub index scores are in the Educational Attainment and Health and Survival (0.96 and 0.974, respectively) areas, and the country has reduced the gender gap in tertiary education by 2.9%. Rwanda has featured in the top 10 most gender equal countries since it was first included in the Index in 2014. This year, it has climbed the ranks by one place.
Ranking higher in earned income than 137 countries, Sweden demonstrates a high level of female workforce participation and shows parity in the participation of women in professional and technical roles. The country has also closed the gender gap on Educational Attainment, with the Health and Survival subindex (0.963) in second place.
04: New Zealand
New Zealand has improved its ranking in healthy life expectancy, and achieved parity across the board in the Education category. The country’s Political Empowerment sub index also improved by 0.03 as female leadership at head-of-state level increased. However, the rate at which women participate in the workforce decreased from 2021, although wage equality was seen to increase.
Although Norway earned a strong 0.845, it’s still lower than its previous 2021 score. One of the causes of this is the country’s Economic Participation, which saw a 3% decrease from the previous year. On the other hand, Educational Attainment is Norway’s highest sub index score (0.989), which has nearly reached parity.
Although Finland has achieved parity in Educational Attainment, and is close to parity in the Health and Survival sub index (0.97), the Economic Participation and Opportunity (0.789) is lowering the country’s overall score. This score has actually declined since 2021 (0.806), as Finland has seen a drop in parity for labour force participation and a fall in both men’s and women’s estimated earned income.
For the thirteen consecutive years, Iceland has been named as the most gender-equal country – scoring 0.993 overall. Joeli Brearley, author of The Motherhood Penalty, told the World Economic Forum: “When 90% of women went on strike over this in the 1970s, it showed men there is value in this work, they cannot do their jobs without it. That was a big shift for Iceland in terms of gender equality.”