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US way behind Rwanda and Namibia: Women won't have equal wages with men in next 165 years

Staff Writer |
It will take more than 200 years before women and men worldwide have economic parity, according to the annual Global Gender Gap Report released Tuesday by the World Economic Forum.

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The report found that the economic opportunity gap - based on pay, participation and workplace advancement - has closed by only a small amount since the 2017 survey.

On pay alone, women continue to earn about 20 percent less on average than men, according to International Labour Organization findings cited in the report.

One factor holding women back is their being underrepresented in senior positions, the report said.

"In the workplace, women still encounter significant obstacles in taking on managerial or senior official roles," the report read, stating that it will take 202 years for the economic gap to close.

The United States ranks 19th out of 149 countries on economic parity between women and men. That is behind Iceland, Norway and Finland but ahead of Germany, France and Denmark.

The countries with the greatest economic parity are smaller nations: Laos is number one and Barbados number two.

Across the 149 countries assessed, there are just 17 that currently have women as heads of state, while, on average, just 18% of ministers and 24% of parliamentarians globally are women.

Similarly, women hold just 34% of managerial positions across the countries where data is available, and less than 7% in the four worst-performing countries (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Pakistan).

However, there are bright spots, where significant progress has been achieved.

Full parity on this indicator is already a reality in five countries (Bahamas, Colombia, Jamaica, Lao PDR and Philippines); and in another 19 countries there are at least 40% of women in managerial positions.

Western Europe is, on average, the region with the highest level of gender parity (75.8%).

North America (72.5%) is second and Latin America (70.8%) is third.

They are followed by Eastern Europe and Central Asia (70.7%), East Asia and the Pacific (68.3%), Sub-Saharan Africa (66.3%), South Asia (65.8%) and the Middle East and North Africa (60.2%).

Similarly, if current rates were to be maintained in the future, the overall global gender gap will close in 61 years in Western Europe, 70 years in South Asia, 74 years in Latin America and the Caribbean, 135 years in Sub-Saharan Africa, 124 years in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 153 years in the Middle East and North Africa, 171 years in East Asia and the Pacific, and 165 years in North America.

The most gender-equal country to date is Iceland.

It has closed over 85% of its overall gender gap.

Iceland is followed by Norway (83.5%), Sweden and Finland (82.2%).

Although dominated by Nordic countries, the top ten also features a Latin American country (Nicaragua, 5th), two Sub-Saharan African Countries (Rwanda, 6th, and Namibia, 10th) and a country from East Asia (Philippines (8th).

The top ten is completed by New Zealand (7th) and Ireland (9th).

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