7 of the most surprising facts about global gender gaps

(Credit: Unpslash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Kate Whiting, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap 2021 finds COVID-19 has slowed progress towards gender parity.
  • Political Empowerment is the area with the widest gender gap.
  • More women than men have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.
  • Tech needs progress with women making up just 14% of the cloud computing workforce.
  • The Forum says economic recovery plans offer an opportunity for policy-makers to redress imbalances.

Progress towards reaching gender parity has stopped – and in some cases reversed – due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021.

“The health emergency and the related economic downturn have impacted women more severely than men, partially re-opening gaps that had already been closed,” says the 15th edition of the report, which comes out a year after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

The report measures four gaps in 156 countries: Political Empowerment; Economic Participation and Opportunity; Health and Survival and Educational Attainment.

Women have been disproportionately affected, the report shows, as lockdowns shuttered sectors including hospitality, in which they are more often employed, and they took on more unpaid work, like childcare and homeschooling.

This opened up a new frontier for equality that policy-makers can help address as part of the global recovery plan, says Klaus Schwab, the Forum’s Founder and Executive Chairman.

“Leaders have a remarkable opportunity to build more resilient and gender-equal economies by creating more equitable care systems, and by encouraging women to transition into new roles based on their potential,” he says. “Gender parity can become embedded into the future of work.”

Here are seven of the most surprising facts in the latest Global Gender Gap Report.

We’re only 68% of the way to gender parity globally

a chart showing the state of gender gaps, by subindex
Work still needs to be done to close the gender gap. Image: World Economic Forum Global Gender Report, 2021

This is a step back of 0.5 percentage points compared to 2020. The report says that on the current trajectory, it will take another 135.6 years to close the gap worldwide – up from 99.5 years in 2020.

98 countries made improvements in political participation

There are now more women in parliament in more countries, and Belgium and Togo elected their first female prime minister in the past 12 months. But Political Empowerment is still the widest gender gap – and it grew in 2020. Only 22% is now closed, 2.4 percentage points lower than last year.

It will take more than 250 years to reach economic parity

a graph showing the evolution of the Global Gender Gap Index and subindexes overt time
There is much work to be done before economic parity is reached. Image: World Economic Forum Global Gender Report, 2021

Another 267.6 years to be precise. The report says just 58% of the Economic Participation and Opportunity gap has been closed so far, and there’s been just “marginal improvement” since the 2020 edition of the report.

30 countries have reached parity for educational attainment

Along with Health and Survival, this is the index where most progress has been made. Thirty countries have already closed the Educational Attainment gap, with 95% closed globally. On its current trajectory, the Forum estimates it will take another 14.2 years to close the gap. In Health and Survival, 96% of this gender gap has been closed. https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fworldeconomicforum%2Fvideos%2F876201529611207%2F&show_text=0&width=476

41% of professionals in senior positions are women

Just 22 countries have closed at least 80% of the gap in managerial roles – and in another 20 countries, gender gaps in managerial positions are still as large as 80% of more. The “glass ceiling” persists in some of the most advanced economies, including in the US, the UK, Italy and the Netherlands.

a graph showing the change of hiring, 2019-2020, by gender, industry and seniority
Most advanced economies still have a Image: World Economic Forum Global Gender Report, 2021

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about the gender gap?

The World Economic Forum has been measuring gender gaps since 2006 in the annual Global Gender Gap Report.

The Global Gender Gap Report tracks progress towards closing gender gaps on a national level. To turn these insights into concrete action and national progress, we have developed the Closing the Gender Gap Accelerators model for public private collaboration.

These accelerators have been convened in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Panama and Peru in partnership with the InterAmerican Development Bank. https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1377167636979609603&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.weforum.org%2Fagenda%2F2021%2F03%2Fglobal-gender-gap-facts%2F&theme=light&widgetsVersion=e1ffbdb%3A1614796141937&width=550px



In 2019 Egypt became the first country in the Middle East and Africa to launch a Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator. While more women than men are now enrolled in university, women represent only a little over a third of professional and technical workers in Egypt. Women who are in the workforce are also less likely to be paid the same as their male colleagues for equivalent work or to reach senior management roles.

In these countries CEOs and ministers are working together in a three-year time frame on policies that help to further close the economic gender gaps in their countries. This includes extended parental leave, subsidized childcare and removing unconscious bias in recruitment, retention and promotion practices.

If you are a business in one of the Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator countries you can join the local membership base.

If you are a business or government in a country where we currently do not have a Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator you can reach out to us to explore opportunities for setting one up.

5% of employed women lost their jobs in the pandemic

This compares to 3.9% of men, according to early projections from the International Labour Organization, which has looked at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender gaps in economic participation.

Women make up just 14% of the cloud computing workforce

a graph showing female representation in emerging job clusters
This evidence shows that women are under-represented in emerging job clusters. Image: World Economic Forum Global Gender Report, 2021

Gender gaps in emerging technology professions persist. The Forum collaborated with the LinkedIn Economic Graph Team to look at eight fast-growing job clusters. Only two of these tracked at gender parity, while gender gaps are more likely in fields that require disruptive technical skills. The share of women in Cloud Computing, for example, is 14.2%.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Art has the power to change the world, says this renowned Iranian muralist

European Commission welcomes the positive assessment about how it has managed the EU budget

New seat projections for the next European Parliament EU28

FROM THE FIELD: Liberia boosts efforts to guard against rising seas

3 ways to protect your mental health during – and after – COVID-19

Protecting the ocean is key to fighting climate change

MEPs call for binding 2030 targets for materials use and consumption footprint

More than one million sexually transmitted infections occur every day: WHO

Brexit: visa-free access to the EU for UK nationals and to the UK for Europeans

‘Good enough’ global cooperation is key to our survival

5 key themes for reforming the EU, as elections loom

Mental Health: Role of the individual for their well-being in the pandemic

EU leaders prepare timetable and structure for EU budget negotiations

Whale populations are slowly recovering – this is why

EU’s VAT system further equipped to tackle fraud in e-commerce and to help small businesses grow

State aid: Commission approves €380 million German rescue aid to Condor

Member States agree to Commission proposal to support Irish beef producers impacted by market uncertainty

Got the blues? Head for some green spaces

This is how Copenhagen plans to go carbon-neutral by 2025

Meet Cipta: the comic book hero using her powers to tackle bullying in schools

Further reforms will promote a stronger and more inclusive Hungarian economy

UN chief appeals for calm as Mali presidential election draws to a close

Hatred ‘a threat to everyone’, urges Guterres calling for global effort to end xenophobia and ‘loathsome rhetoric’

Health inequalities in the 21st century

Here’s why infrastructure will make or break our response to climate change

Autonomous weapons that kill must be banned, insists UN chief

Mobile Technology saving lives, the way forward

Sassoli to EU institutions: “Be brave on EU recovery plan”

Rule of law in Hungary: Parliament calls on the EU to act

Mental health: fighting the hidden pandemic

5 key concepts for blockchain newbies

Do doctors need to know their patients’ sexual orientation and gender identity?

On World Health Day, new report says the world needs 6 million more nurses

More women than ever before are running for political office in the US

Climate change: cutting the good by the root?

Creative Europe: 30 years of support to European films and cultural and creative media works

Commission proposes to purchase up to 300 million additional doses of BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine

What can the military teach us about keeping the lights on?

Venezuela migrant crisis begs a ‘coherent, predictable and harmonized’ response: UNHCR

Young people are not a nameless, faceless mass. So why do we treat them as such?

Commission presents far-reaching anti-tax evasion measures

Getting people with disabilities into work requires data

Why cybersecurity should be standard due diligence for investors

UN chief hails Libyan leaders’ agreement to hold general election

UN chief appeals to G7 leaders for ‘strong commitment’ and political will to tackle climate emergency

Illegal fishing: EU lifts Taiwan’s yellow card following reforms

Vulnerable children face ‘dire and dangerous’ situation on Greek island reception centres, UNICEF warns

To win combat against HIV worldwide, ‘knowledge is power’, says UNAIDS report

Antitrust: Commission consults stakeholders on guidance for national courts when handling disclosure information

How digital is your country? Europe needs Digital Single Market to boost its digital performance

New neighbours: Could Venus really be home to alien life?

Coronavirus: Commission proposes €4.5 million to support over 5,000 dismissed tourism workers or self-employed in Estonia

Moving from a promise made in Sweden towards hope for peace in Yemen

An alternative to the future of antimicrobial therapy

Here’s how the EU is doing on gender equality

FROM THE FIELD: Enslaved Guatemalan indigenous women wait for reparations

UN boosts humanitarian appeal to help tackle Zimbabwe’s ‘worst-ever’ hunger crisis

Norway is returning Easter Island artefacts to Chile (Will Britain ever return the marbles to Greece?)

As the year closes out, UN political chief talks the art of diplomacy – and crises to watch in 2019.

Refugees in Greece: MEPs demand solidarity, warn about impact of health crisis

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s