The latest Global Gender Gap Report reveals the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on gender equality worldwide -- women now have a 132-year wait before achieving full equality with men. Pre-pandemic, this figure was within the decade. In 2022, the global gender gap has been closed by 68.1%.
Gender equality is measured against: (1) Economic Participation and Opportunity; (2) Educational Attainment; (3) Health and Survival; (4) Political Empowerment, the greatest gender gap being in the field of political empowerment where the gap has closed by just 22%. This figure has worryingly remained unchanged since the last Gender Gap Report in 2021.
Key findings include:
Scandinavian countries performed well, Iceland led the global ranking and has closed their gender gap by 90.8%. Finland (86%, 2nd), Norway (84.5%, 3rd) and Sweden (82.2%, 5th) also feature in the top five. Sub-Saharan Africa was the second-most featured region in the global top 10, with Rwanda and Namibia sitting 6th (81.1%) and 8th (80.7%), respectively.
Across the board, however, Sub-Saharan Africa was fourth highest performing region in the world and projected to close the gap by 2120, behind North America (59 years), Europe (60 years), and Latin America and the Caribbean (67 years). The worst performing region was South Asia which, at its current trajectory, is not expected to close the gender gap until 2219 - a 197-year wait.
Gender gaps in the workforce are significant. Numbers of women entering the formal workforce and advancing to higher levels of leadership are rising. According to LinkedIn data, the share of female founders doubled from 2016 to 2021 and, during the pandemic, women were founding businesses at a faster rate than men too. Yet the funding gap persists and, during the same time period, funding for women-led startups also fell. Gender parity in the labour force currently stands at 62.9%, the lowest it has been since the index was first compiled in 2006.
The global share of women in leadership roles has seen a steady increase since 2016, however women are not being hired at equal rates across industries sectors. On average, more women have been hired into leadership in industries where women were already highly represented.
The report shows a continued trajectory towards achieving gender parity, but the pace of change is concerning. Particularly in the subcontext of women's economic participation and political empowerment, decisive action needs to be taken to advance women's representation and full participation across society, including in the formal workforce and in leadership and decision-making roles.
Read the full report via the World Economic Forum's website to see data disaggregated by region and sector.