Japan ranked 110th in gender equality

Robots and Lack of Child Care Leave Women's Wages Centuries Behind

"The overall picture is that gender equality has stalled", Saadia Zahidi, the WEF's head of social and economic agendas, told the Guardian on Tuesday. Thus, the gap between men and women in the areas of health and education have increased. To date, said the WEF, there was still a 32pc average gender gap that remained to be closed.

"Although these countries collectively have closed 41 per cent of their women in parliament gender gap, they took a step back this year", the report said. Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland took the top spots, but Canada ranked above Latvia, Bulgaria, South Africa, Switzerland and dozens of other countries. The slow pace of improvement was largely due to stagnation in the ratio of women in the workplace and the declining political representation of women, the WEF report said.

Yemen, Syria and Iraq have the biggest pay gaps with women being paid less than 30 per cent the level of mens' wages.

For instance, while Western European countries could close their gender gaps within 61 years, countries in the Middle East and North Africa will take 153 years, the report estimated.

The WEF examined for the annual report in 149 countries in four areas: economic - such as salaries and opportunities to leadership positions, access to education, political participation, and health, about life expectancy.

While Tunisia topped the region for gender equality - ranking 119 globally, the UAE ranked 121 with the gender gap closed at 64.2 per cent. Saudi Arabia, ranked 141 with a 59 per cent gender gap rate, showed "modest progress", with improvement in wage equality and women's labour force participation, the report stated. It ranked 92nd in gender equality in political empowerment, with 0.134.

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The report showed that there were now proportionately fewer women than men participating in the workforce, suggesting that automation was having a disproportionate impact on jobs traditionally performed by women.

Apart from the Philippines, full parity on this indicator is already a reality in Bahamas, Colombia, Jamaica, Lao PDR, and in another 19 countries there are at least 40 percent of women in managerial positions, the WEF said.

And while China, like most other countries, has almost ideal equality in terms of health care, far more boys than girls are born each year.

Given the depth of the talent gender gap in AI, there is a clear need for proactive measures to prevent a deepening of the gender gap in other industries where AI skills are in increasing demand.

When it came to political leadership, the report pointed out that globally, there were just 17 countries in the world that now have women as heads of state, while, on average, just 18 percent of ministers and 24 percent of parliamentarians globally are women.

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