The sixth annual World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2011 shows that over the last six years 85% of countries have been improving their gender equality but in several African and South American countries it is declining. There is also a small decline in South Africa, New Zealand, Spain, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom in the last year. Gains have been made in Ethiopia, Brazil, Turkey and Tanzania as well.
The data gathered has been from approximately 60 countries around the world and shows that while countries have put forth laws preventing workplace discrimination, that less than half of them have a national benchmarking tool to monitor it. Of the countries surveyed only 20% of countries mandated female corporate board members, 30% have political participation mandates.
“With the world’s attention on job creation and economic growth, gender equality is the key to unlocking potential and stimulating economies,” Saadia Zahidi, the Head of the World Economic Forum’s Women Leaders and Gender Parity Programme and the report’s co-author, states. She also believes that smaller gaps in the genders in workplaces are shown to improve economic competitiveness.
While there have been improvements over the last six years of reporting, “female healthy life expectancy and literacy levels remain alarmingly low across many parts of Africa and Asia. In Latin America, women have more schooling than men but marriage and motherhood are still not compatible with a fuller economic participation of women.” Says report co-author Ricardo Hausmann.
There are obvious growth areas within the world for women’s economic equality, especially in Africa and other growing nations. But here are some other things to think about:
- Women hold less than 20% of all national decision-making positions
- USA continues to improve, moving up two places this year
- India ranks lowest on gender parity among the BRICS countries
- Gender gap worsening in Nigeria, Mali, Colombia, Tanzania and El Salvador over past 6 years
In everyday life and business we need to strive to continue to make the changes that allow women the equality in politics and economy. This will help not only you, but women all over the world achieve their full potentials.