BANGLADESH ADVANCES IN WEF’S GENDER GAP INDEX
But performs poorly in women’s economic participation index
The WEF’s Gender Gap Index 2014, which was unveiled on Tuesday, placed Bangladesh at 68th position out of 142 countries against 75th position out of 136 countries in 2013.
Bangladesh was also placed in top 10 list of gender gap index in Asia Pacific region with the country securing seventh position among the countries in the region. In South Asia Bangladesh has been ranked in the top position.
Although Bangladesh did well in the overall ranking, its position in economic participation index slipped to 127th position from 121th position in 2013.
The economic participation index includes female-male ratio in labour force participation, wage equality for similar works, estimated earned work, legislators, senior officials and managers and professionals and technical workers. The data showed that participation of women was much lower than men.
The index was first introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006 as a framework for capturing the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress. The index benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, political, education and health criteria.
Bangladesh’s ranking in women’s political participation also slipped to 10th position in 2014 from 7th position in 2013.
The country advanced in the ranking for educational attainment to 111th position from 115th position in 2013 while it made slight improvement in the ranking for health and survival to 112th position from 124th.
In South Asia, India ranked well behind Bangladesh at 114th position. At 141, Pakistan was the second lowest ranking country, scoring poorly on all the four parameters.
Only Sri Lanka was placed close to Bangladesh taking 79th position.
Iceland, which has had a female head of state in 20 of the past 50 years, ranked number 1 on WEF’s index. Iceland has taken the top spot on the index consecutively since 2009. The country was followed by its Nordic neighbours: Finland (2), Norway (3), Sweden (4) and Denmark (5).
The US is ranked 20, putting it behind countries like Canada, South Africa and
France, but ahead of other developed countries like the United Kingdom and Australia.
The report said that no country in the world had fully closed the gender gap, but all five of the Nordic countries had closed more than 80 per cent of it.
Yemen, the lowest ranking country has closed just over 50 per cent of the gender gap.
WEF in the report said that while women were rapidly closing the gender gap with men in areas like health and education, inequality at work was not expected to be erased until 2095.
The organisation, which each year gathers the global elite in the plush Swiss ski resort of Davos, said the worldwide gender gap in the workplace had barely narrowed in the past nine years.
Since 2006, when the WEF first began issuing its annual Global Gender Gap Reports, women have seen their access to economic participation and opportunity inch up to 60 per cent of that of men’s, from 56 per cent. ‘Based on this trajectory, with all else remaining equal, it will take 81 years for the world to close this gap completely,’ the WEF said in a statement.
The world would be better served to speed up the process, according to WEF founder and chief Klaus Schwab. ‘Achieving gender equality is obviously necessary for economic reasons. Only those economies who have full access to all their talent will remain competitive and will prosper,’ he said.
OCTOBER 29, 2014