The global economic gender gap now stands at 60 percent while only 20 per cent of the political participation gap has been closed.
The seventh annual World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2012, which announced this, said nations are making slow progress in closing the global economic gender gap.
On long term, this reflects an improvement in the economic status of women in a third of the 135 countries surveyed, including the world’s four largest economies: the United States of America, China, Japan and Germany.
The report said progress has been slow, with only nine countries having improved by more than 10 per cent over the past seven years and 75 having improved by less than 5 per cent.
It ranks Nordic countries in top spots, with Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden having closed over 80 per cent of their gender gaps.
The report said: “At the bottom of the ranking, some countries still need to close gender gaps of almost 50 per cent, while more than half of those countries surveyed have failed to close their economic gender gap by more than 5 per cent in the past seven years.
“The Global Gender Gap Report ranks countries on their ability to close the gender gap in four key areas: access to healthcare, access to education, political participation and economic equality.”
The report said in the fields of health and education, while there remained critical gaps in some countries such as Pakistan, Ethiopia, Yemen and Benin, progress has been strong globally with 96 per cent of health gaps and 93 per cent of education gaps having now been closed across the 135 economies surveyed in the report.
It said: “The data suggests a strong correlation between those countries that are most successful at closing the gender gap and those that are the most economically competitive.
“The highest placed sub-Saharan African country in the report is Lesotho (14), which slipped five places due to losses in wage equality for similar work and estimated earned income, but remains the only country from the region that has closed the gender gap in both the education attainment and health and survival sub indices.
“It is joined in the top 20 by South Africa (16), while Ghana placed 71; Mali (128), Côte d’Ivoire (130) and Chad (133) are the lowest.
“The Global Gender Gap Report’s index assesses 135 countries, representing more than 93 per cent of the world’s population, on how well resources and opportunities are divided among male and female populations.”
The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agenda.