Every year since 2006, the World Economic Forum has published the Global Gender Gap Report, a report which measures women’s disadvantage compared to men, and is not strictly a measure of equality.
On current trends, the overall global gender gap can be closed in exactly 100 years across the 106 countries covered since the inception of the Report, compared to 83 years last year. The most challenging gender gaps remain in the economic and health spheres. Given the continued widening of the economic gender gap, it will now not be closed for another 217 years. However, the education-specific gender gap could be reduced to parity within the next 13 years. The political dimension currently holds the widest gender gap and is also the one exhibiting the most progress, despite a slowdown in progress this year. It could be closed within 99 years.
What this means is that it will take another 217 years with all things being equal for women to reach equality in the workspace.
This is a huge reach compared to the 170 years from the 2016 edition of the report.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, Rwanda takes the lead making it to the global top 10 where it ranks at number 4.
Ghana is at 72 and Kenya is at 76. With these countries, the widening gender gaps are concentrated in a few specific areas: women’s share of ministerial positions which has decreased, basic literacy, regressing in all and women’s share in estimated earned income, which has declined. Despite these negative trends, some localized progress is also evident, notably on wage equality and gender parity in healthy life expectancy, both of which sees an increase in Kenya especially.
Nigeria is at number 122 and is making notable progress towards closing its gender gaps in women’s estimated earned income, enrolment in secondary education, healthy life expectancy and wage equality for similar work. However, these achievements are outweighed by a decline in women in ministerial positions and reversals on the Educational Attainment subindex. The Sub-Saharan Africa regional table is completed by bottom-ranked Côte d’Ivoire (133), Mali (139) and Chad (141), which this year moves down one rank due to falling progress on the Educational Attainment subindex.
These trends observed by the Global Gender Gap Index over the past years point to a continued under-use of the ever-increasing numbers of educated women.