World Insights: The WEF report shows a long way to go to reduce the global gender gap

World Insights: The WEF report shows a long way to go to reduce the global gender gap

by Martina Fuchs

GENEVA, July 13 (Xinhua) – There is still a long way to go to achieve gender equality as the global process has been delayed amid the worsening crises of pandemic disruptions and weak recovery, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said on Tuesday.

In its latest Global Gender Gap Report, the Geneva-based forum said it will take 132 years for women to achieve gender equality, a figure slightly improved from last year. Of the 146 economies surveyed, only one in five managed to reduce the gender gap by at least 1 percent compared with the past year.

“The pandemic has made a big dent when it comes to the progress that was made in the past. Even two years ago, it would have taken 100 years to reach parity,” Saadia Zahidi, CEO of WEF, told Xinhua in a virtual interview before releases. PERMANENT SCARS

Due to the socio-economic shock of covid-19, the global gender gap had increased by a generation from 99.5 in 2020 to 135.6 years last year.

Given that women are more vulnerable to covid-19-related disorders, Zahidi described the pandemic’s lasting impact on gender equality as “permanent scarring.”

“When it comes to care infrastructure, for example, there are still parts of the world where schools have not reopened completely, or where childcare centers are no longer available or accessible for very limited hours. The care burden that fell on women seems to have continued to this day. “, she said.

WEF’s annual report assesses the development of gender – based gaps in four areas, namely economic participation and opportunities, level of education, health and survival, and political empowerment.

The data showed that between the 146 countries, the gender gap in health and survival has decreased by 95.8 per cent, the level of education by 94.4 per cent, economic participation and opportunities by 60.3 per cent and political empowerment by 22 per cent.

“The current economic downturn will have a more negative impact on women, as women are still the ones who have lost more in the labor market,” Zahidi warned.

“There are some golden edges when it comes to industry leadership in specific sectors, when it comes to women in professional and technical roles, and when it comes to university education,” she said. “There, performance is still strong when it comes to reducing gender differences.” GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION

The report highlighted that Iceland remains the world’s most equal country for the 13th year in a row and the only one that has reduced more than 90 percent of the gender difference, followed by Finland, Norway, New Zealand and Sweden.

Zahidi specified the reasons for Iceland’s success, noting: “When it comes to political empowerment, it is a country that has done extremely well, including having women in very high positions for a very long time.”

“When it comes to economic participation in the workforce, they have cracked the code to enable women and men to participate in almost equal numbers,” she added.

The fact that four Scandinavian countries are among the top five reflects their “belief that human capital is the greatest asset these economies have. They rely more on human resources than on natural resources,” Zahidi said. INVITES ACTION

Reducing gender inequalities can help drive national prosperity and the global economy, the WEF report emphasized.

Given the increasingly uncertain economic outlook, Zahidi therefore called on global leaders to unleash the creativity and dynamism of their countries’ human capital in order to overcome the current crises and accelerate a strong recovery.

“We are in a moment of crisis for the global economy,” which stemmed from several factors such as the pandemic, geopolitical tensions, as well as disruptions in global trade and livelihoods, she noted. “It’s something that can only be solved through human creativity and collaboration.”

“We must ensure that everyone can participate and that decisions are made with the widest possible basis,” she emphasized. “If we want to return to growth, if we want to return to productivity and dynamism, we must ensure that there is equality between the sexes.”





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