Korea ranks 115th in gender parity report by WEF

In the East Asia and Pacific region, New Zealand holds the top spot as the most gender equal country, placing 7th overall among the top 10 countries in the report.

According to the report, Laos, in southeast Asia, was the closest to achieving parity with women earning 91 per cent of what men were paid.

The Davos, Switzerland-based organization comes to the sobering conclusion that despite recent progress in providing equal opportunities for both sexes, it would take another 108 years for the gender gap to close on a global scale.

While the gender gap in STEM is well chronicled, a new analysis conducted in collaboration with LinkedIn points to a glaring gender gap that is developing among AI professionals, where women represent only 22% of the AI workforce. In October, Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir was among scores of Icelandic women who walked out of their workplaces to protest wage inequality and sexual harassment.

The WEF said that globally, women registered setbacks in the three areas of education, health and political representation this year, and despite a small narrowing in the gap in the in the area of economic opportunity, the global wage gap stands today at 51 per cent, noting that this gap is expected to take 202 years to close.

The report noted that differences in gender gap size between the highest-ranked and lowest-ranked countries in the region is about 6.5 percent for "Educational Attainment" and 6.5 percent for "Health and Survival".

"This continues to be a major source of why women don't enter the labor market at all or aren't able to progress as much as they should given the talent that they have", she added.

Pakistan's scorecard showed that in terms of economic participation and opportunity, it ranked 146th, while in health and survival, its rank was 145.

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.

On average, 65% of girls and 66% of boys have enrolled in secondary education globally, while 39% of women and 34% of men are enrolled in tertiary institutions.

Within the global headline figures, it is possible to perceive a number of trends that are defining the gender gap in 2018. Among Asian countries, the Philippines, whose gender gap index was 0.799, was the eighth best performer in gender equality. That is behind Iceland, Norway and Finland but ahead of Germany, France and Denmark.

As in previous years, the Nordic countries took the top spots in the ranking with Iceland ranking first for the tenth consecutive year. "Proactive measures that support gender parity and social inclusion and address historical imbalances are therefore essential for the health of the global economy as well as for the good of society as a whole".

  • Fernando Stephens