The workplace gender gap widened in 2017, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said Thursday, for first time since its Global Gender Gap Report was first published in 2006.
In a statement, WEF said, “A decade of slow but steady progress on improving workplace parity between the sexes came to a halt in 2017.”
The findings show that, overall, 68 per cent of the global gender gap has been closed. This is a slight deterioration on 2016 when the gap was 68.3 per cent and in 2015, when it was 68.1 per cent.
Behind the decline is a widening of the gender gap across all four of the report’s pillars: educational attainment; health and survival; economic opportunity and political empowerment, said the Geneva-based WEF.
“We are moving from the era of capitalism into the era of talentism. Competitiveness on a national and on a business level will be decided more than ever before by the innovative capacity of a country or a company,” said Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and executive chairman.
WEF said recent studies estimate that China could see a 2.5-trillion-U.S.-dollar GDP increase from gender parity.
The world as a whole could increase global GDP by 5.3 trillion U.S. dollars by 2025 if it closed the gender gap in economic participation by 25 per cent over the same period.
At the top of the Global Gender Gap Index is Iceland which has closed nearly 88 per cent of its gap and it has been the world’s most gender-equal country for nine years, said WEF.
The gap between Iceland and the second-placed country, Norway, widens as both Norway and third-placed Finland saw their gaps expand this year. Rwanda ranked fourth globally.