Norway leads the efforts to close the gender gap

Norway leads the world in closing the gender gap between men and women, according to the overall ranking in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2008 , while Finland, Sweden and Iceland constitute the rest of the top four of the Index. Previously higher ranking countries such as Germany (11), United Kingdom (13) and Spain (17) slipped down the Index, while Netherlands (9) and Latvia (10) and France (15) improved.

The Global Gender Gap Index scores can be interpreted as the percentage of the gap between women and men that has been closed. The three highest ranking countries have closed a little over 80% of their gender gaps, while the lowest ranking country has closed only a little over 45% of its gender gap. Out of the 128 countries covered in both 2007 and 2008, more than two-thirds have posted gains in overall index scores, indicating that the world in general has made progress towards equality between men and women. Additionally, taking averages across the subindexes for these 128 countries reveals that, globally, progress has been made on narrowing the gaps in educational attainment, political empowerment and economic participation, while the gap in health has widened.

“Greater representation of women in senior leadership positions within governments and financial institutions is vital not only to find solutions to the current economic turmoil, but to stave off such crises in future. At the World Economic Forum, we put strong emphasis on addressing this challenge with a multistakeholder approach through our global and regional Gender Parity Groups,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2008 measures the size of the gender gap in four critical areas of inequality between men and women:

1) Economic participation and opportunity – outcomes on salaries, participation levels and access to high-skilled employment
2) Educational attainment – outcomes on access to basic and higher-level education
3) Political empowerment – outcomes on representation in decision-making structures
4) Health and survival – outcomes on life expectancy and sex ratio

You can read the Report here.

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