It could be more than one hundred years before women across the world earn as much as men, according to a damning new report from the World Economic Forum.
The annual Global Gender Gap Index launched on Wednesday night, and the findings aren’t hugely encouraging for female workers.
The report, which looks at the gender gap in health, education, politics, economics, and other factors, shows that the gap between men and women in terms of health, education, and politics has narrowed by just 4% in the past ten years.
In economic terms that number drops to just 3%, meaning that on average, women earn just over half of what their male counterparts do. Current data shows that the average earnings for women worldwide are $US11,000 (£7,200), compared to $US21,000 (£13,800) for men. This has grown from just $US6,000 (£3,900) in 2006, but the slow rate at which the pay gap is narrowing is a big concern for pay equality campaigners
One of the most startling statistics in the report is this; women are just now earning the same amount as men did in 2006. The World Economic Forum says that if pay changes continue at the same rate, it will take 118 years for men and women worldwide to be earning the same.
Men still hold most senior roles
Another issue raised by the Gender Gap Index is that women are failing to obtain the most senior roles in the workplace in the majority of cases.
Saadia Zahidi, the chief author of the report said “More women than men are enrolled in universities in nearly 100 countries but women hold the majority of senior roles in only a handful of countries. Companies and governments need to implement new policies to prevent this continued loss of talent and instead leverage it for boosting growth and competitiveness”.
Once again in big surveys, the highest rated countries are the Nordic states. In the WEF’s official ranking, Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden make up the most gender equal countries on earth. Zahidi believes this is due to great government initiatives surrounding women: “They have the best policies in the world for families,” she said, adding ” their childcare systems are the best and they have the best laws on paternity, maternity and family leave.”
One piece of good news for women to come out of the report is that since 2006, more than 250 million women have entered the global workforce, although in the same period, another 375 million men have entered work.